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2020 Highlights and Dean's Awards on the School of Engineering Dean's Coffee

Annukka Santasalo-Aarnio and Samuel Cross, pioneers for challenge-based education received the 2020 Award for Achievements in Teaching.
Annukka Santasalo-Aarnio and Samuel Cross received the 2020 Award for Achievements in Teaching.

On the Dean's coffee event on 19 February Dean Gary Marquis presented the 2020 Award for Achievements in Teaching to Assistant Professor Annukka Santasalo-Aarnio and Postdoctoral Researcher Samuel Cross, both from the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

The evaluation group said in their proposal: Annukka Santasalo-Aarnio and  Samuel Cross have designed and implemented challenge-based education with industry collaboration, and societal impact in an online environment. In 2020 they developed a new tool and method for conducting courses in an online environment. Their cooperation with stakeholders has been solid and diverse.

By learning from each other they have significantly advanced their teaching competence and development as teachers and enhanced their wellbeing. They have successfully advanced the transition to remote teaching mode, and interactivity and flexibility of teaching in a pandemic situation.

'The year of 2020 presented both challenges but also opportunities in the transition to online teaching and it’s wonderful to be recognised for our work.  We are indebted to all of those who supported us in our work, including all the companies who were partners in our Advanced Energy Project course, and City of Helsinki for supporting us in incorporating Helsinki Energy Challenge into our Thermal Energy Storage course. We are also grateful to all the other teachers who we learnt from and who have supported our courses. Most of all, we thank our students; we have been so proud of their performance in challenging times and in their reflection of our enthusiasm which has made teaching such fun', the winners said in their Linkedin message.

Doctoral Dissertation Awards

Altogether five people received the 2020 Doctoral Dissertation Award, which is given for an outstanding doctoral dissertation, and five received the Publication Award.

Esa Halmetoja, D.Sc.
Improving perceived indoor conditions using building information models and field data

The new approach to collect, combine, and visualize data, presented in the dissertation, will crucially change the processes of owner-operators and property service providers, and encourages them to develop and use data-based business models. 

Supervisor: Professor Heidi Salonen
Department of Civil Engineering

Kaisa Kontu, D.Sc.
Customer-centred development paths for district heating industry

The thesis deals with the interrelation between district heating companies and their customers. Thesis is highly relevant and topical for the current and future development of district heating systems. The reviewers of the work have suggested the work to be one of the best in the field.

Supervisor: Seppo Junnila
Department of Built Environment

Tuija Laakso, D.Sc.
Data-driven network asset management - Focus on sewer systems

The dissertation focuses on optimal strategies for managing underground assets (municipal wastewater collection systems) by using advanced data analyses, defining what kind of data is needed and testing different methods. Increasing the amount of data related to underground assets opens up new possibilities to optimize the life cycle of assets and timing of renovation activities. 

Supervisor: Riku Vahala
Department of Built Environment

Tuulia Puustinen, D.Sc.
Infill development in growing urban areas: experiences in Finnish housing companies and perspectives of owner-occupiers

The most important contribution of this thesis is the understanding the practicalities of delivering infill housing on private land under multiple ownership.
The research provides an important contribution to understanding the alternative approach to renewal and to what might be termed density without demolition.

Supervisor: Kauko Viitanen
Department of Built Environment

Miika Rämä, D.Sc.
District heating with low-carbon heat sources and low distribution temperatures

The dissertation addresses a very important topic within climate change mitigation: how could district heat systems in European cities be transformed to carbon neutrality. It presents analysis of different low-carbon heat production technologies and the possibilities brought by Low Temperature District Heat networks. Rämä’s long experience as Senior Research Scientist is well visible in the thesis.

Supervisor: Sanna Syri
Department of Mechanical Engineering

The Doctoral Dissertation Awards were accompanied by a stipend of 3 000 euros.

Publication Awards

The 2020 Publication Awards were given to Nea Kuusinen, Marika Eik, Anna Antonova, Tuomas Tiainen and Raine Viitala

Nea Kuusinen, Postdoctoral Researcher
Department of Built Environment
for the article A spectral analysis of common boreal ground lichen species
in Remote Sensing of Environment, 247:111955
Writers: Nea Kuusinen, Jussi Juola, Bijay Karki, Soili Stenroos, Miina Rautiainen

Marika Eik, Postdoctoral Researcher, and Anna Antonova, Doctoral Candidate
Department of Civil Engineering
for the article Phase contrast tomography to study near-field effects of polypropylene fibres on hardened cement paste
in Cement and Concrete Composites, 114:103800
Writers: Marika Eik, Anna Antonova, Jari Puttonen

Tuomas Tiainen, Postdoctoral Researcher and Raine Viitala, Assistant Professor
Department of Mechanical Engineering
for the article Effect of positional errors on the accuracy of multi-probe roundness measurement methods
in Mechanical Systems and Signal Processing, 144:106883

The Publication Awards were accompanied by a stipend of 2 000 euros.

Dean's Service Award

The 2020 Dean's Service Awards were presented to Chief Engineer Veli-Antti Hakala from the Department of Civil Engineering, and University Pedagogics Expert Maire Syrjäkari. 

Veli-Antti Hakala has played a central role in the success of experimental research and laboratory-based education at the department. He has demonstrated a fighting spirit, flexibility and commitment and advanced the achievement of the department’s shared goals over the past years. Hakala has been highly involved in the preparation of facility solutions for the Department of Civil Engineering and for his own part has kept the department’s research facilities available for use even in the face of renovations and a pandemic.

Mari Syrjäkari has supported the school's teachers and programme directors since the early days of Aalto University. Her duties have included designing and implementing teaching-related training, participating in the assessment of teaching and supporting the development of courses and programmes.  

'The pedagogical training that supports problem-based learning and hands-on work is a strength of our school. It helps us ensure that any changes we might make are on solid footing with regard to both content and pedagogics. For this, we must thank Maire and the team she has led', said Gary Marquis.

The dean also wanted to thank all teachers and teaching support personnel for their flexibility, commitment and excellent work during these difficult pandemic conditions.

In the beginning of the event Assistant Professor Miloš N. Mladenović gave the Professor's speech His title was EU Commission Expert Group to advise on specific ethical issues raised by driverless mobility.

After the award ceremony Dean Gary Marquis presented the school's annual review 2020. 

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