Aalto University President Ilkka Niemelä’s opening address called for a significant contribution towards education as well as research and innovation, particularly in sustainable development: ‘The rise in Finland’s material standard of living for the last 50 years has been based in growth in production. Most of this growth can be attributed to two factors: two thirds has arisen from new ideas, technologies and innovation; the remaining nearly one third is the result of education. Research and education are therefore the major engines of economic growth!’
According to Niemelä: ‘The major challenges to global sustainability have yet to be overcome, however. Indeed, immediate measures must be taken. I believe we must use all our means to seize the opportunity presented as the economy recovers and is balanced again in time. The battered economy does not need a return to the old, a replication of the old models; it needs above all a transformation, built anew on the foundation of sustainable development.’
Annika Saarikko, Minister of Science and Culture, greeted participants at the opening ceremony on behalf of the Finnish Government: ‘Aalto University provides excellent tools to solve wicked problems and to build a sustainable future. Your expertise is needed so that we have scientific knowledge and competent people to help us find solutions to the global challenges. In this context I cannot stress enough that information provided by research is vital for our political decision-making as well.’
Chair of the Aalto University Student Union (AYY) Olli Kesseli stated in his address: ‘Ecological reconstruction defines everything we do. It is the most important driver of change there is, as it encompasses all the other megatrends of this decade. That is why ecological reconstruction must be an element included in all our fields of study. Several studies indicate that climate change is the most disquieting societal issue among young people today. In this respect, I am not only speaking on behalf of the Aalto students, but voicing the concern of young people across the globe.’
Visa Koivunen appointed Aalto Distinquished Professor
President Niemelä appointed Professor Visa Koivunen from the Department of Signal Processing and Acoustics, at the School of Electrical Engineering, to Aalto Distinguished Professor, in recognition of his significant scientific merits and societal impact.
Visa Koivunen is an internationally distinguished researcher in signal processing issues. Among other things, he has served as a Principal Investigator of the Center of Excellence in Research 2003–2013 and as Academy Professor 2010–2014. He has been awarded several times internationally. Professor Koivunen has almost 550 peer-reviewed publications, which have been cited more than 11 600 times. He is also a distinguished educator and has supervised 28 dissertations and tens of master’s theses. Professor Visa Koivunen gave a presentation at the opening ceremony.
The opening ceremony also gave recognition to other accomplished members of the university community for their achievements.
Opening ceremony speeches as pdf