Heidi Salonen appointed as head of the Department of Civil Engineering

Salonen is currently serving as the vice head of the Department of Civil Engineering and as a professor of indoor environment technology. Her appointment as head of department begins on 1 January 2024. Professor of Practice (concrete technology) Jouni Punkki will serve as the department's new vice head for the period 1 January 2024–31 July 2026.
Professori Heidi Salonen, Aalto-yliopisto
Professor Heidi Salonen, head of the Department of Civil Engineering from 1 January 2024.
Professori Jouni Punkki
Professor of Practice Jouni Punkki, vice head of the Department of Civil Engineering starting 1 January 2024

Heidi Salonen completed her doctorate at the University of Kuopio (now the University of Eastern Finland) in 2009 with her dissertation Indoor air contaminants in office buildings. She also holds a degree related to management.

Salonen serves in positions of trust in several Finnish and international organisations: she is e.g., a board member of the Finnish Society of Air Quality and Climate, a member of several scientific committees (incl. the International Commission on Occupational Health (ICOH)), a reviewer for scientific journals and a member of the editorial board of the journal Sustainable Architecture and Civil Engineering (SAGE). She is also an adjunct associate professor at Queensland University of Technology, Australia.

Jouni Punkki has served as professor of practice in concrete technology at Aalto University since 2016. His areas of specialisation include concrete material technology, concrete durability and the environmental aspects of construction. The topics studied in his research team include low-carbon concrete, concrete durability and the potential uses of automation in the quality control of concrete.

Punkki holds doctorates from both the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and Helsinki University of Technology. Before joining Aalto University, he has built a long career in the concrete industry.

Heidi Salonen, what are your goals as head of department?

As department head, I wish to promote collaboration between our department and other research organisations as well as companies and industry. I also aim to strengthen the operational capacity as well as the domestic and international visibility of research groups at the Department of Civil Engineering. Co-operation between the schools and departments of Aalto University is also important to me.

What are you studying right now?  

I am heading several Finnish and international research projects, including the EU-funded project InChildHealth (Identifying determinants for indoor air quality and their health impact in environments for children: Measures to improve indoor air quality and reduce disease burdens) which started in 2022, the Academy of Finland-funded CleanSchool (Discovering safe cleaning for school buildings to reduce harmful chemical, particle and microbial footprint), and the LAIVA project (Development of indoor air quality and indoor environment of cruise ships) funded by the Finnish Work Environment Fund.

What is your view of the future of the construction sector?

There are a lot of challenges facing the construction sector at the moment, but I believe that by reinforcing and developing high-level expertise and multidisciplinary collaboration we can create the basis for a bright, prosperous future.

What powers your work?

Exercise, family, and friends. My favourite hobby is competitive orienteering, which is a good counterbalance to a busy working life.

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