Introducing four new professors at the School of Engineering

Professors of Practice Hannele Holttinen and Teemu Manderbacka and Assistant Professors Mikko Suominen and Risto Ojala were appointed to the career path of professors during January-June 2024.
Assistant Professor Risto Ojala
Risto Ojala. Photo: Aalto University / Emma Komi

Risto Ojala, Assistant Professor, Mobile Mechatronics, Department of Mechanical Engineering 

'I mainly study the autonomy and other intelligent functionalities of mechatronic mobile machines. This includes work machinery, cars and smaller robots, and my work focuses on experimental research with real devices. I aim to create novel solutions that enable the deployment of machines in a variety of applications, taking into account real-world imperfections and challenging conditions.  

Autonomy and intelligent solutions offer opportunities to improve the productivity, energy efficiency, and situational awareness of mobile machines. In addition, these solutions enable people to be moved away from dangerous or strenuous work tasks.

In my new job, I look forward to solving interesting and challenging research questions together with other researchers in our Autonomy & Mobility Laboratory. I believe that the research results will create tangible value for both society and industry.  

I aim to open up new research directions for the laboratory, and to collaborate closely with different universities, industry and other research groups at Aalto. I also look forward to teaching courses related to my research topics and to sharing my knowledge with talented future engineers.' 

Hannele Holttinen
Hannele Holttinen. Photo: Aalto University / Linda Lehtovirta

Professor of Practice Hannele Holttinen, Wind energy technology, Department of Mechanical Engineering (part-time)

'My summer job as a research assistant in wind energy was an introduction to a fascinating field of renewable energy – I ended up working almost 30 years at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, first in wind power applied research and then increasingly in wind integration to power and energy systems. I have also always been active in international collaboration networks in the field, where I have had the opportunity to follow the development of wind power, from small turbine size and marginal energy share to huge wind power plants.

Currently my main job is at the open innovation cluster Clic Innovation where I help to coordinate the Clean Energy Transition partnership CETP. I am also leading an international collaboration on wind integration at international energy agency IEA and active in global power system transformation consortium GPST.

As for my work at Aalto, I am looking forward to developing wind power related education and interacting with the students. I’m also hoping to work across departments and schools. The international collaboration has already started as Aalto joined the European Academy for Wind Energy EAWE in May.'

Professor of Practice Teemu Manderbacka
Teemu Manderbacka. Photo: Aalto University / Linda Lehtovirta

Professor of Practice Teemu Manderbacka, Hydrodynamics, Department of Mechanical Engineering (part-time)

'I have always been fascinated by the sea. I like many water sports, and I've also been interested in technology since I was a kid – so marine technology is a natural fit for me. My expertise is in the field of fluid mechanics in marine technology and numerical modelling of related phenomena.  

Improving the hydrodynamical properties of ships is important as it contributes to achieving emission reductions in shipping and increasing the safety of shipping and marine equipment. Advances in computational methods are enabling the design of more sophisticated ships and marine structures.

In my new job at Aalto, I look forward to a creative combination of basic research and practical product development. I aim to contribute to the development of innovative solutions for sustainable shipping and to prepare students for the future challenges of the maritime industry and to explore new opportunities in advanced floating structures.'

Mikko Suominen

Assistant Professor Mikko Suominen, Arctic Ocean Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering 

'I study ship performance and ice loads on ship hulls under different ice conditions, at model and full scale, mainly experimentally.  

Understanding the performance of ships and the factors involved in different conditions is important for making sea transport in icy conditions as energy efficient as possible. It is essential to be able to design a hull structure that is safe but at the same time as light as possible.  

There are a number of interesting research issues related to ship performance and ice loads, as the ice breaking process is very chaotic and influenced by many factors during ship operation. It is possible to study this process in a controlled way in the Aalto Ice and Wave Tank - although scaling up these complexities to model scale presents its own challenges and research questions.  

Many of the research questions in this area require in-depth knowledge of different disciplines. In my work, I particularly look forward to collaborating with researchers from different fields.'

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