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Provost Ilkka Niemelä appointed President of Aalto University

The Search Committee emphasised in particular the academic leadership experience, commitment to multidisciplinarity and student focus.
Ilkka Niemelä Photos: Aalto University/Janne Lehtinen

The Aalto University Foundation Board appointed Professor, D.Sc. (Tech.) Ilkka Niemelä as the President of Aalto University for a term of five years beginning 1 July 2017 in a meeting held on 14 June.

Ilkka Niemelä (b. 1961) has served as Provost at Aalto University since 1 May 2014. The Provost acts as deputy to the President and as chief academic officer responsible for delivering the academic mission of Aalto University. The Deans of Aalto Schools report to the Provost.

Ilkka Niemelä was appointed Professor of Computer Science at Helsinki University of Technology in 2000. He served as the head of the Laboratory for Theoretical Computer Science from 2000 to 2007 and as chair of the Degree Programme in Computer Science and Engineering from 2008 to 2010. The research group led by Niemelä has developed new methods for automated reasoning and constraint programming for solving challenging computational problems and explored various applications related to these methods.

Ilkka Niemelä served as Dean of the Aalto University School of Science from the beginning of 2011 to the end of February 2012, and as the University’s Vice President responsible for academic affairs and Deputy President since 1 March 2012. He holds several academic positions of trust.

His international experience covers visiting positions in National ICT Australia in Sydney at the turn of 2005–2006, Universität Koblenz-Landau, Germany in 1995–1996 and SRI International, Artificial Intelligence Center, California, USA in 1993.  

'I am very excited about the new position. Aalto University has an important national mission, the personnel is doing excellent work and the university has advanced rapidly towards being one of the top universities in the world', says Niemelä, newly-appointed President of Aalto University.

The selection process was prepared by a Search Committee including Professor Emeritus Risto Nieminen, Aalto Professor Matti Keloharju, Professor Martti Raevaara, Chair of the Board of Aalto University Student Union (AYY) Joona Orpana, stakeholder representative Risto Siilasmaa as well as Aalto University Foundation Board members Anne Brunila, Mikko Kosonen and Susanna Pettersson.

Before the final choice, a comprehensive search with international recruitment professionals took place overseas and in Finland, and an open search was available for those interested in the position. The Search Committee emphasized in particular the academic leadership experience, commitment to multidisciplinarity and student focus.

'We wanted the Aalto University's new President to be an experienced academic community leader who has the will and enthusiasm to continue Aalto University’s ambitious development work in the rapidly changing operating environment and tough international competition. Aalto University's unique combination of science, art, technology and business, and multidisciplinary cooperation across disciplinary borders will provide excellent opportunities also in the future. The Board unanimously decided on the election of Ilkka Niemelä', said Anne Brunila, Chair of the Board.

The first President of Aalto University, Tuula Teeri, becomes President of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA) beginning 1 November 2017. She will act as Senior Advisor at Aalto University from 1 July to 31 November 2017.

More information:

  • Anne Brunila, Chair of the Aalto University Foundation Board, tel. +358 400 813 952

  • Ilkka Niemelä, Provost, Aalto University, tel. +358 50 511 3013

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