Six teams awarded at the opening ceremony

The impact of last spring’s exceptional situation is reflected in the work of all the awarded teams.
President Ilkka Niemelä and AYY chair Olli Kesseli at the Aalto Day One opening ceremony on 1 September 2020
The academic year 2020–2021 was opened in an virtual event held on 1 September 2020. In the photo, President Ilkka Niemelä and Olli Kesseli, chairman of the Aalto University Student Union AYY.

At the Aalto Day One event on September 1, two Impact awards and four Aalto awards were announced, and President Ilkka Niemelä appointed Visa Koivunen to Aalto Distinguished Professor.

The awards are given to Aalto University personnel for their excellent work during the academic year. During the spring and summer, the staff had a chance to propose teams, individuals or activities to be awarded.

Aalto Impact awards

Education Impact award granted to Helsinki GSE

The Helsinki Graduate School of Economics, which has a strong emphasis on teaching, has significantly improved teaching co-operation between universities. Students have also been involved in societal interaction in the Helsinki GSE situation room to provide information to support economic policy decision-making in the coronavirus pandemic. MOOC courses in economics, in turn, make economics available to both high school students as well as other citizens. The award was received by Professor Otto Toivanen, Coordinator Jenni Rytkönen, Project Manager Eero Nurmi and Professor Juuso Välimäki.

Research Impact award to a group studying the spread of coronavirus by air

In the COVID-19: the Airborne Transmission Mode project of Aalto University, the Finnish Meteorological Institute, VTT and the University of Helsinki, researchers are studying the transmission and spread of the coronavirus in indoor air. The project was quickly launched last spring at the initiative of Ville Vuorinen, Assistant Professor at Aalto University, who also led the research group. The results of intensive research collaboration have already been covered to a record extent in both international and domestic media. In the work of the research team, the importance of science and interdisciplinary cooperation in supporting societal decision-making is summed up in an excellent way.

Aalto awards

The Aalto Act of the Year: Transferring teaching and admissions to remote mode

Aalto University Learning Services was awarded for transferring teaching and student admissions to distance mode in the challenging conditions of last spring. The services and instructions required by the exceptional situation were built on a fast schedule and with extensive cooperation. Although digital solutions for teaching have been built on a long-term basis, the transition to full distance learning was a quick and huge leap. Continuity of teaching, high standard of learning and student admissions were secured through the staff’s uncompromising work efforts. The award was given to Manager Milla Vaisto-Oinonen, Senior Specialist Leena Hauhio, Service Manager Sanna Pihlajaniemi and Senior Specialist Esa Salmio.

Success Enabler recognitions to the Covid-19 team and IT services

The Success Enabler award was given to two teams that have worked particularly well at the ‘forefront’ of the crisis:

The multidisciplinary Covid-19 team, formed according to the nature of the crisis, reacted and acted quickly. A team honed together created a university-wide service function and helped our community adapt to the new situation. The awarded team consisted of Security Manager Seija Piiponniemi-Lahti, Service Manager Tomi Kanerva and coordinators Antti Leino, Sami Kettunen and Jonna Saarelma, as well as Emergency Preparedness Expert Katja Paasikivi from Security and lobby services; Coordinator Sari Mykkänen and Specialist Tiina Okkonen from Occupational safety, Specialist Eeva Lehtinen from Communications and Facility Coordinator Tony Wallius from Aalto University Campus & Real Estate.

With the Finnish Government's remote working policy, Aalto University switched to remote work and teaching almost overnight. In addition to advanced digital infrastructure and long-term foresight, the success of the university’s digital leap and the continuation of core operations required IT service personnel to take prompt action to map critical systems as well as firm expertise in solving practical issues. Director Christa Winqvist, Head of IT Operations Hannes Päivänsalo, Development Manager Tommi Saranpää, Head of IT End User Support Liisa Länkä, Development Manager Jyrki Koski, IT Customer Relationship Manager Gilda Paluszewski, and Chief Information Security Officer Riitta Gröhn were awarded from the IT Services.

Community award to the team responsible for the strategy process

Aalto University's new strategy was prepared in a completely new way in an open and inclusive process, in which the entire community, from staff to students and stakeholders, participated in a number of different ways. The strategy work became an experimental research project, in which working together, bringing out as many different views as possible, and giving each Aalto employee the opportunity to discuss and influence, were emphasized. The result was an ambitious living strategy that takes into account the changing world. The Community award was given to Head of Planning and Leadership Support Raili Pönni, Senior Specialist Antti Saaristo, Development Manager Marja Niemi, Assistant Professor Timo Vuori, and students Riikka Iivanainen, Lauri Tegel and Timo Moilanen.

Congratulations to all!

Photo Mikko Raskinen, Aalto University
Videos: Mikko Raskinen and Anna Berg, Aalto University

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