Science and research

Tieteen huiput Aalto-yliopisto

Excellence in Research

Eminent researchers work at Aalto University. The university has also a number of Centres and Researchers of Excellence funded by the Academy of Finland and the European Research Council.

Academicians - the most respected acknowledgement for scientific and artistic work

The title of academician is Finland's most respected acknowledgement for scientific and artistic work. There are two academicians of science working at Aalto University: Professor Riitta Hari and the Dean of the School of Science, Professor Risto Nieminen.

  • Riitta Hari (c) Heli Sorjonen

    Riitta Hari

  • Risto Nieminen

    Risto Nieminen

Academy Professors lead research forward

The Academy of Finland chooses as an Academy Professor a person who has proven to be an eminent researcher. The person is deemed to contribute to the advancement of research in their branch of science and is seen to have the capability to make significant scientific.

Aalto University has six Academy Professors:

  • Paavo Alku.jpg

    Paavo Alku
    Speech communication

  • Olli Ikkala (c) Anni Hanén

    Olli Ikkala
    Biomimetic functional materials

  • Risto Ilmoniemi (c) Anni Hanén

    Risto Ilmoniemi
    Measuring, modeling, and modulating the
    brain, 2012-2016

  • Samuel Kaski

    Samuel Kaski
    Data analysis and machine learning

  • Matti Keloharju

    Matti Keloharju
    Talent and success in business careers

  • Jukka_Pekola.jpg

    Jukka Pekola
    Quantum nanoelectronics

  • Riitta Salmelin (c) Anni Hanén

    Riitta Salmelin
    Imaging of language, language of imaging

  • Jukka Seppälä (c) Anni Hanén

    Jukka Seppälä
    Synthesis and use of tailored and
    intelligent polymers, 2011-2015

Academy of Finland’s Centres of Excellence in Research at Aalto University

The Centres of Excellence in Research, funded by the Academy of Finland, are among the best representatives of their respective branches of science. Each research group has the opportunity to do research at a high international level with funding provided for six years.

The Centres of Excellence are in the forefront of their field in international terms. Besides top quality and internationality, the research groups ensure that research is ethical, unconstrained and innovative.

Aalto University’s Centres of Excellence in Research for the period 2014–2019:

Aalto University takes part in:

  • Centre of Excellence in Laser Scanning Research
  • Centre of Excellence in Research on Solar Long-Term Variability and Effects

Aalto University’s Centres of Excellence in Research for the period 2012–2017

Aalto University takes part in:

The European Research Council provides ERC grants for the most promising research

The European Research Council (ERC) supports ground-breaking research in all branches of science by funding the work of top researchers.

ERC research grants have been awarded since 2007. Aalto University has 21 recipients of the grant. 14 of them are ERC Starting Grants, which are five-year grants awarded to talented new researchers for the establishment of their own research group, 2 of them are ERC Consolidator Grants and 5 of them are ERC Advanced Grants for distinguished top researchers.

ERC Starting Grants

ERC Consolidator Grants

ERC Advanced Grants

Strategic research initiatives

Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, is funding a series of strategic research initiatives involving various research organisations. New and exciting solutions capable of creating cutting-edge expertise in areas that are expected to be of critical importance for business and growth in the future are central to these projects.

Revolution of Knowledge Work

The project's vision is to revolutionise data-intensive work by developing new search and processing methods. The project brings together HIIT's and the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health's extensive multidisciplinary know-how in machine learning, human-computer interaction, distributed calculation techniques, cognitive neuroergonomics, and the human factors involved in people's working lives.
Partners: Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT (Aalto University and University of Helsinki), Finnish Institute of Occupational Health

Design-Driven World of Cellulose

The project's vision is to develop new business success stories based on lignocellulose. The project is focusing on developing a completely new industrial ecosystem and making Finland a centre for products based on leveraging lignocellulose technology. The goal is also to promote the integration of design and design processes into the strategic development of Finnish companies.
Partners: Aalto University, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Tampere University of Technology

The New Global 

The New Global is a multidisciplinary innovation research project aimed at creating innovations with a small resource requirement for markets that need to make more from less; and generate new business opportunities for Finnish companies.
Aalto University

3i – Innovative Induction Initiative 

The project's vision is to increase the ability of the heart and the brain to produce new cells with the help of oral pharmaceuticals produced from people's own stem cells. Success here could revolutionise the treatment of coronary heart disease and brain dysfunction.
Partners: University of Helsinki, Aalto University

Digital Health Revolution

The vision of the project is to allow the use of information on individuals as part of personalised and preventive services and to improve citizens' chances of maintaining their well-being independently.
Partners: University of Oulu, University of Helsinki, University of Lapland, Aalto University, Tampere University of Technology, VTT, National Consumer Research Centre

Living Factories

The aim of the project is to develop and use potential based on synthetic biology in Finland. The project will involve the creation of a new internationally competitive operating environment combining research, training and industrial operations and which will also make use of a combination of engineering and unique biological functions.
Partners: Aalto University, VTT, University of Turku

The Naked Approach – Nordic perspective to gadget-free hyperconnected environments

The Naked Approach is a big strategic opening, seeking and developing alternative, human-centric ways of producing and consuming digital services. The driving vision is a digital paradise; where users can live 'naked' – without carry-on gadgets. Digital services appear to the user from the texture of the environment when needed, and then completely disappear when not required anymore. 
Partners: VTT, Aalto University, Tampere University of Technology, University of Oulu, University of Lapland, Demos Helsinki 

FiDiPro – funding scheme for visiting top level scientists in science and technology

FiDiPro - the Finland Distinguished Professor Programme, led and financed by the Academy of Finland and Tekes, provides Finnish universities and research institutes with the opportunity to employ distinguished professor-level scientist from all around the world for a fixed term.

Micronova (c) Aino Huovio

The funding programme strengthens scientific and technological knowledge and know-how in Finland and adds a more international element to the Finnish research system. The aim is to create new form of international cooperation between basic and applied research and research and development activities in industry.

The following FiDiPro-Professors and -Fellows appointed by the Academy of  Finland and Tekes, are currently engaged at Aalto University 


  • Marcus Greferath (University College Dublin, Ireland), SCI, Applied algebra in communications technology.
  • Hiroshi Mamitsuka (Kyoto University, Japan), SCI, Machine Learning for Augmented Science and Knowledge Work.
  • Eri Rauf Hürman (University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa), CHEM, Sustainable production of ferroalloys, joint FiDiPro with the University of Oulu.
  • Hannes Jónsson (University of Iceland and Brown University, Iceland/USA), SCI, Development and application of advanced simulation and computational techniques for nanoparticle-facilitated catalysis in solar cells.
  • Lauri Koskela (School of the Built Environment, UK), ENG, Building information modeling for lean construction.
  • Leon Lefferts (University of Twente, Netherlands), CHEM, Hydrogen from Biomass using Thermo-chemical methods.
  • Nasser Peyghambarian (University of Arizona, USA), ELEC, Emerging nanophotonic devices using advanced materials, joint FiDiPro with the University of Eastern Finland.
  • Dominique Richon (École Nationale Supérieure de Techniques Avancées, France), CHEM, Phase Equilibria for Biorefineries.
  • Stefano Zapper (National Research Council of Italy, CNR-IENI & Consorzio Nazionale Delle Ricerche, Italy), SCI, Noise and fluctuations in materials.
  • Peter McNeil (University of Technology, Sydney, Australia), ARTS, “Costume Methodologies – Building Methodological Tools for Research in the Field of Costume Design”.
  • Gang Xiong (Chinese Academy of Sciences, China), SCI, “Social Manufacturing”.
  • Junuthula N. (J.N.) Reddy (Texas A&M University, College Station, USA), ENG ,Non-Linear Response of Large, Complex and Thin-Walled Structures.

FiDiPro Fellow -researchers

  • Richard Cuthbertson (University of Oxford), “Red Queen Effect: Strategies for an Innovative Landscape”.

Page content by: | Last updated: 25.08.2015.