Excellence in Research

In this page, the most significant achievements in terms of competitive research funding are collected. Academicians of Science, Academy Professors, Centres of Excellence, and Finland Distinguished Professors (FiDiPro) are highly competitive and valued research merits in the Finnish system. Strategic research projects are a new instrument of the Academy of Finland (AoF) providing funding for long-term collaborative research aimed at solving major challenges that the Finnish society faces. ERC grants, EIT KICs (European Institute of Innovation and Technology, Knowledge and Innovation Community), and FET Flagships (European Future and Emerging Technology initiative) are highly competitive and recognized European research merits.

Academicians of Science

Academy Professors

Academy of Finland’s Centres of Excellence

Aalto University coordinates the following Centres of Excellence 

  • Academy Professor Olli Ikkala (Profile in Aalto People): Centre of Excellence in Molecular Engineering of Biosynthetic Hybrid Materials
  • Professor Päivi Törmä (Profile in Aalto People): The Centre of Excellence in Computational Nanoscience
  • Professor Erkki Oja: The Centre of Excellence in Computational Inference Research
  • Professor Jukka Pekola (Profile in Aalto People): The Centre of Excellence in Low Temperature Quantum Phenomena and Devices 

Aalto University takes part in the following Centres of Excellence

  • Professor Juha Hyyppä, The Finnish Geospatial Research Institute, Aalto University’s responsible professor Hannu Hyyppä (Profile in Aalto People). Centre of Excellence in Laser Scanning Research
  • Professor Kalevi Mursula, University of Oulu, Aalto University’s responsible leader coordinator Maarit Käpylä. Centre of Excellence in Research on Solar Long-Term Variability and Effects
  • Professor Mikael Knip, University of Helsinki, Aalto University’s responsible professor Harri Lähdesmäki. The Centre of Excellence in Molecular Systems Immunology and Physiology Research

The Academy of Finland’s Strategic research funding (SRC funding)

Aalto University coordinates the following projects  

  • Professor Martti Mäntylä: Digital Disruption of Industry (ddi.aalto.fi)
  • Professor Maarit Karppinen: Closing the loop for high-added-value materials
  • Professor Ville Kyrki: Robots and the Future of Welfare Services
  • Professor Raimo Lovio: Smart Energy Transition - Realizing its potential fos sustainable growth for Finland's second century
  • Professor Raine Mäntysalo: Beyond MALPE coordination: integrative envisioning
  • Professor Ahti Salo: Platform Value Now: Value capturing in the fast emerging platform
  • Professor Olli Varis: From Failand to Winland

Aalto University takes part in the following projects

  • Professor Harri Kaartinen, The Finnish Geospatial Research Institute, Aalto University’s responsible professor Hannu Hyyppä. Competence-Based Growth Through Integrated Disruptive Technologies of 3D Digitalization, Robotics, Geospatial Information and Image Processing/Computing – Point Cloud Ecosystem
  • Research Professor Ilmo Keskimäki Institute for Health and Welfare. Aalto University’s responsible leader Research Fellow Sari Kujala. Competent workforce for the future.
  • Researcher Tuomas Pekkarinen, VATT, Aalto University’s responsible leader researcher Kristiina Huttunen. Preventing Social Exclusion: What Works and Why?
  • Professor Matti Tuomala University of Tampere, Aalto University’s responsible professor Pekka Ilmakunnas. Work, Inequality and Public Policy

The European Research Council funding

ERC Advanced Grant funding

  • Professor Antero Arkkio: Additional losses in electrical machines
  • Professor Pertti Hakonen: Quantum devices in topological matter: carbon nanotubes, graphene, and novel superfluids
  • Academy Professor Olli Ikkala: Biomimetics for Functions and Responses
  • Professor Maarit Karppinen: Molecular-Layer-Engineered Inorganic-Organic Hybrid Materials
    • ERC Proof of Concept: Novel Thermoelectric Energy Solutions based on Flexible Thin-Film Materials
  • Professori Päivi Törmä: Condensation in designed systems
  • Professor, emeritus Grigory Volovik: From Topological Matter to Relativistic Quantum Vacuum

ERC Consolidator Grant funding

  • Visiting Professor Emma Master: Bio-derived HIgh Value polymers through novel Enzyme function
  • Senior scientist Mikko Möttönen: Quantum Environment Engineering for Steered Systems
  • Professor Mika Sillanpää: Cavity quantum phonon dynamics

ERC Starting Grant funding

  • Professor Sebastiaan van Dijken:  Electric-Field Control of Magnetic Domain Wall Motion and Fast Magnetic Switching: Magnetoelectrics at Micro, Nano, and Atomic Length Scales
    • ERC Proof of Concept: Electric-field driven magnetic domain wall motion for memory technologies
  • Assistant Professor Petteri Kaski: Theory and Practice of Advanced Search and Enumeration
  • Professor Peter Liljeroth: Atomically precise nanoelectronic materials
  • Senior scientist Mikko Möttönen: Single-Photon Microwave Devices: era of quantum optics outside cavities
    • ERC Proof of Concept: Self-calibrating nanobolometer based on superconductor–normal-metal hybrids
  • Professor Lauri Nummenmaa:  Fitting The World to Minds: Brain Basis of Sharing and Transmitting Representations of the Social World
  • Researcher Jani Oksanen: In-cavity thermophotonic cooling
  • Associate Professor Antti Oulasvirta: Computational User Interface Design
  • Associate Professor Lauri Parkkonen: High-resolution magnetoencephalography: Towards non-invasive corticography
  • Professor Hele Savin: Riddle of light induced degradation in silicon photovoltaics

Completed ERC-projects

  • Academicians of Science, professor Riitta Hari: Towards two-person neuroscience
  • Senior Scientist Tero Heikkilä: Mesoscopic heattronics: thermal and nonequilibrium effects and fluctuations in nanoelectronics
  • Professor Tapio Lokki: Physically-based Virtual Acoustics
  • Professor Ville Pulkki: Technologies and Psychophysics of Spatial Sound
  • Professor Mika Sillanpää: Electromechanical quantum coherent systems
  • Professor Marko Terviö: Talent and Learning in Imperfect Markets

Future and Emerging Technologies’ Flagship Iniatives (FET Flagship)

Aalto University is a partner in two FET Flagship –projects:

  • GRAPHENE - Graphene-based revolutions in ICT and beyond. Coordinated by Chalmers University of Technology and Aalto’s responsible professor Harri Lipsanen
  • HBP FPA - Human Brain Project Framework Partnership Agreement. Coordinated by Ecole polytechnique federale de Lausanne and Aalto’s responsible professor Ville Kyrki

European Institute of Innovation & Technology EIT

Aalto University is involved in three Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KIC)

  • EIT Digital, Future Information and Communication Technologies Aalto is involved as a core partner and co-location centre is located in Aalto campus
  • EIT Raw materials, Aalto is involved as a core partner and co-location centre is located in Aalto campus
  • Climate-KIC, Climate change mitigation and adaptation, Aalto is involved as an associate partner

Tekes Big Strategic research openings

Aalto University coordinates the following projects:

  • Professors Janne Laine and Pirjo Kääriäinen: World of Cellulose
  • Professor Minna Halme: Co-Creating Frugal and Reverse Innovation in Complex Global Systems

Aalto takes part in the following projects:

  • Operations Manager Janne Aikio, VTT Oy, Aalto’s responsible professor Kari Halonen: The Naked User Approach – Nordic perspective to gadget-free hyperconnected environments
  • Docent Patrik Floréen, University of Helsinki, Aalto’s responsible professor Samuel Kaski: Revolution of Knowledge Work 2
  • Research Professor Merja Penttilä, VTT Oy, Aalto’s responsible professor Markus Linder. LIVING FACTORIES: Synthetic Biology for a Sustainable Bioeconomy
  • Professor Heikki Ruskoaho University of Helsinki, Aalto’s responsible professor Sami Franssila: Innovative Induction Initiative
  • Director Maritta Perälä-Heape, University of Oulu, Aalto’s responsible leader Senior Scientist, docent Olli Pitkänen.

FiDiPro – the Finland Distinguished Professor Programme


  • Tatiana Budtova (MINES Paris Tech, Centre for Materials Forming, France), From ultra-light to ultra-strong all-cellulose composites via “green” processing
  • John Dempsey (Clarkson University, USA), Scaling of Ice Strength: Measurements and Modeling
  • Marcus Greferath (University College Dublin, Ireland), Applied algebra in communications technology
  • Eri Rauf Hürman (University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa), Sustainable production of ferroalloys, joint FiDiPro with the University of Oulu
  • Hannes Jónsson (University of Iceland and Brown University, Iceland/USA), Development and application of advanced simulation and computational techniques for nanoparticle-facilitated catalysis in solar cells
  • Hiroshi Mamitsuka (Kyoto University, Japan), Machine Learning for Augmented Science and Knowledge Work
  • Peter McNeil (University of Technology, Sydney, Australia), Costume Methodologies – Building Methodological Tools for Research in the Field of Costume Design
  • Nasser Peyghambarian (University of Arizona, USA), Emerging nanophotonic devices using advanced materials, joint FiDiPro with the University of Eastern Finland
  • Junuthula N. (J.N.) Reddy (Texas A&M University, College Station, USA), Non-Linear Response of Large, Complex and Thin-Walled Structures
  • Gang Xiong (Chinese Academy of Sciences, China), Social Manufacturing
  • Stefano Zapper (National Research Council of Italy, CNR-IENI & Consorzio Nazionale Delle Ricerche, Italy), Noise and fluctuations in materials

FiDiPro Fellows

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

Page content by: | Last updated: 02.09.2016.