Members of Aalto community awarded for their great work

The opening of the academic year celebrated heroes of research, teaching and community building. In the videos, the awarded people tell about their work
A group of eight Aalto people awarded in Aalto Day One, standing and holding flower bouquets
The Aalto 2022 recognition awardees, behind Sampo Kukkonen, Rasmus Vuori, Jani Romanoff and Jukka Seppälä. In front Michael Hummel, Laure Mercier de Lépinay, Mika A. Sillanpää and Otto Usvajärvi, AYY.

The 2022 recognition awards for the Aalto University personnel, were published in the opening of the academic year, on 6 September. These awards are granted annually to the University personnel for their excellent contributions towards the University’s success. The awarded people are selected based on the proposals of the personnel. This year, the AYY and its associations were also among the awardees.

At the event, President Ilkka Niemelä also appointed Professor Jukka Seppälä as Aalto Distinguished Professor. Seppälä has made groundbreaking research in the field of polymer science, and developed biopolymers based specifically on renewable raw materials. These are essential in the replacement of plastic, as well as in new materials and medical applications.

Aalto Act of the Year: Mika A. Sillanpää's and Laure Mercier de Lépinay’s breakthrough research in the field of physics

Professor Mika A. Sillanpää and Assistant Professor Laure Mercier de Lépinay, together with their research team, overturned the basic principle of quantum mechanics with quantum drums. The researchers succeeded in measuring the location and speed of the quantum drumheads simultaneously, which was previously considered impossible. On a global scale, there are only a handful of research groups in this field of research, and Sillanpää's group is in the forefront. The tests are extremely difficult and time consuming. The development and testing of new approaches requires a lot of patience. The Physics World, representing the international physicist community, rewarded the achievement with the 2021 Breakthrough of the Year award.

Community Award to Student Union AYY and its Special Status Associations and Subject Associations

Aalto University Student Union (AYY) and its Special Status Associations and Subject Associations have given their all to support students through these challenging times. Although events were cancelled multiple times, the perseverant association actors reorganised the events again and again. They were dedicated to develop new and surprising ways to organise events and meet other students. As we now return to campus, the associations are again full-heartedly committed to welcoming new student generations to Aalto University, to reviving the student community and to creating student culture.

Research Impact award to Professor Emeritus Herbert Sixta and Ioncell technology, as well as the Bioinnovation Center

Professor Emeritus Herbert Sixta was awarded for his groundbreaking work with sustainable textile technologies and the new startup company Ioncell Inc. There is a huge global demand for new, ecofriendly textile fibres, which utilise recyclable materials. Together with his colleagues, Herbert Sixta has developed the Ioncell® technology, which transfers wood pulp and recycled textiles into new high-quality textile fibres, without harmful chemicals, with an ionic solvent developed under the direction of Professor Ilkka Kilpeläinen, from the University of Helsinki. The experts of Aalto University textile design, process engineering and mechanical engineering have been closely involved in the development work.

Aalto University Bioinnovation Center and its representative Professor Michael Hummel were also granted the Research Impact award. The Bioinnovation Centre, opened this summer and established with the grant received from the Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation, will accelerate the transition towards bio and circular economy. Building pilot equipment based on the Ioncell® technology has been the centre's first significant investment, enabling a giant leap in the development of the Ioncell® technology. A multidisciplinary doctoral school forms a pivotal part of the centre's operations, with research projects focusing on, for example, eco-sustainable textiles, as well as packaging combining high-quality design and technology.

Education Impact award: education renewal teams from the School of Engineering and the School of Arts, Design and Architecture

Professor Jani Romanoff and Vice Dean Rasmus Vuori together with their teams, were awarded for their excellent contribution for the reform of the programme portfolios and structures of the education offered by their schools.

In Jani Romanoff's guidance, the School of Engineering bachelor’s programme's structure has been modified to better match with the everyday activities of the school and the departments, in order to leave room for other academic activities and degree targets. With better learning and teaching experiences, education well-being also increases.

In the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, the team led by Rasmus Vuori coordinated the comprehensive reform of the bachelor's and master's programme structure and management model. The reform enables the increase of multidisciplinary cooperation and the balancing of the workload of students and staff.

Success Enabler award: information security team and legal services

Chief Information Security Officer Riitta Gröhn and the information security team, together with Minttu Lintera and the legal services team have played a key role in preparing Aalto University’s answers for questions arisen from the war in Ukraine, concerning research and innovation activities, as well as teaching and learning. Together, the teams quickly and efficiently tackled the legal and cyber security related issues, and offered support and action proposals for the management and researchers of the university and higher education institutions. Consequently, they are ensuring the continuation of our work.

Our heartfelt congratulations to everyone!

Photo Mikko Raskinen, Aalto University
Videos: Unigrafia

Rehtori Ilkka Niemelän puhe

President Ilkka Niemelä: 'Investments in universities is the best solution to address the shortage of experts'

Chair of the Aalto University Student Union Otto Usvajärvi also spoke at the opening of the academic year. The ceremony was held online.

Jukka Seppälä

Jukka Seppälä appointed Aalto Distinguished Professor

Seppälä specialises in polymer engineering especially in biopolymers. They are needed as alternatives for conventional plastics, and they can be new functional materials both in engineering and in medical applications.

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