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Three best dissertations of 2014 receive awards at the School of Science's traditional Get together

The awards were given to Doctors of Science (Tech) Riku Ruotsalainen, Paula Savioja-Kangasluoma and Atte Aalto.
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The awards were given to Doctors of Science (Tech) Riku Ruotsalainen, Paula Savioja-Kangasluoma and Atte Aalto.

Dean Risto Nieminen presented the awards for the Best doctoral dissertations of 2014 at the school’s Get together event for doctoral candidates and doctors of science. The theme of this year’s event was the significance of time spent at foreign universities on one’s career development.

In his opening speech, the dean emphasised the high standard of excellence of Doctors, who graduate from the School of Sciences, which is something our academic partners around the world value. A total of 80-90 doctors graduate from the school each year and their rate of employment is excellent.

The following dissertations received awards for the best doctoral dissertations of 2014:

Paula Savioja-Kangasluoma’s dissertation "Evaluating systems usability in complex work – Development of a systemic usability concept to benefit control room design" in the field of usability research focused on developing an evaluation approach for tools in safety critical systems that would support design and ensure safety.

The concept of system usability developed in this dissertation research refers to the ability of systems to support the user’s activities in a way that facilitates overall use. System usability separates the different functions of a tool in activities, and facilitates a new comprehensive evaluation of a tool that takes systematic effects into account. The dissertation research also included development, an approach for control room evaluation that produces normative results for example as the basis for approval by officials and beneficial information for design of the tool.  Professor Marko Nieminen from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering acted as supervisor for this dissertation.

Atte Aalto's dissertation "Infinite dimensional systems: passivity and Kalman filter discretization” in the field of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics examined the effect of temporal and spatial discretization to the state estimation of a linear system. The dissertation also examines well-posedness of boundary control systems.

The primary finding of the dissertation is deriving the optimal one-step state estimate in discredited state space. Additionally, the research derived the effect of temporal discretization to Kalman filtering’s spatial estimation in relation to continuous time estimates. The research also derived results on recognition of well-posedness and passivity of boundary control systems.  The study can be utilised in speech recognition. Professor Rolf Stenberg from the Department of Mathematics acted as supervisor for this dissertation.

Riku Ruotsalainen’s dissertation “The micro-to-macro problem: the generation of mobilizing frames through idea development conversations” in the field of Learning Organisations examined the work of two task forces set up to create new practices and measurements for managing patient transfers.

The dissertation shows how ideas that have the most potential and are the most radical die, because they fail to gain the attention and support of other task force members.

According to the research, specialist task forces tend to generate ideas that only produce small changes to the current system and which all experts can recognise the sense of. A typical characteristic of conversations within task forces is that the topic and style of the discussion varies at short intervals. An abundance of development ideas are presented during multidimensional and swiftly progressing conversations, which means that individual ideas must compete for time and the attention and support of other experts.

Mr Ruotsalainen recommends that professional task force work could be replaced by system architecture competitions, in which participants could make proposals for the development of the social welfare and health care systems. This would be similar to architectural competitions for building design, but instead for the design of organisations, treatment and care and financial planning in the social welfare and health care sector. Competition participants could include companies, organisations and experts. Politicians would be tasked with setting the legal, economic, financial, technical, and political limits for the competition and deciding on the winner.

Riku Ruotsalainen stepped into the position of Assistant Professor of Organization Theory at the highly regarded VU University Amsterdam immediately after his dissertation. In December, he received the Best dissertation on strategic management award 2014 from the Finnish Strategic Management Society.  Professor Matti Vartiainen from the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management was the dissertation supervisor.

During the event, the school's doctoral graduates and candidates shared their experiences on working at foreign universities. All the event speakers felt that international academic visits or work in foreign companies was a prerequisite for successful career development.

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