Dr. Heikkinen graduated from the University of Oulu, Finland in 1992 with a PhD in population genetics. Dr. Heikkinen is a docent in evolutionary biology in the University of Helsinki, Finland. In addition, she has completed two non-degree higher education programmes, one in economics and one in higher education administration, management and economics.
After a post doctoral training in the University of Tübingen, Germany and the University of California at Davis, USA, Dr. Heikkinen returned to Finland to develop and serve the newly established graduate school system in 1995. She moved on in 1997 to the Finnish national high performance computing center, CSC – IT center for science – where she was responsible for bioinformatics services. In 2001 Dr. Heikkinen joined the National Technology Agency Tekes where her tasks involved funding of private and public organisations in projects combining bioscience, medicine and ICT.
Dr. Heikkinen has been with the Ministry of Education and Culture in Finland since 2005. Her tasks consist of national and international science policy responsibilities. An essential part of her work takes place in national and multinational networks. Dr. Heikkinen is heading the Science Policy Division of the Department of Higher Education and Science Policy.