Research assessments

Aalto University is continuously assessing the quality of its research and artistic activities, and its societal impact.
Aalto University shaping the future/research topis

Aalto University Research, Art and Impact (RAI) Assessment 2018

Aalto University is now approaching the end its first ten-year period as one university. Aalto was established in 2010 by a merger of three Finnish universities, Helsinki University of Technology, Helsinki School of Economics, and the University of Art and Design Helsinki.

When founded, Aalto University was given a national mission to strengthen the innovative capacity of Finland through first-class research, art and education. From the beginning, Aalto University has ambitiously developed activities based on high quality research and artistic work, and strived to build a university that is more competitive, more focused but also more collaborative across disciplines.

To evaluate the development, performance, and the future potential, Aalto University carries out a Research, Art, and Impact Assessment in 2018. The quality of research and artistic activity, as well as the societal impact will be subjected to an international evaluation to consolidate Aalto's international standing, and to identify fields with world-class potential.

Research, Art and Impact assessment logo

The assessment period covers five years from 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2017, and the research, artistic and impact results described in the assessment materials relate to this period only.The Assessment will be carried out as a peer-review process conducted by external, international, independent, and high-level experts in fields relevant to Aalto's research and artistic profile. The peer-review Panels shall visit to assess the Units during the Site Visit Week 27-31 August 2018. The Assessment is based on the written self-assessments of the Units of the Assessment, including case studies, bibliometric data, and other indicators of quality and impact of the research and artistic work, as well as on the interviews conducted by the Panels during the site visit. The Units of Assessment will submit evidence of the achievements during the five-year period and describe their future-potential taking into account the faculty renewal that has taken place. Read more about the objectives, criteria and rating of the RAI 2018 Assessment.

The experts will be divided to Panels based on research and artistic fields. Assessment Fields reflect Aalto University’s four core competence areas: Arts and design knowledge building, Global business dynamics, ICT and digitalisation, Materials and sustainable use of natural resources, and the three grand challenge research areas: Advanced energy solutions, Health and wellbeing, and Human-centered living environments. Each Assessment Field consists of several Units of Assessment that cover all Aalto University Schools and Departments. Read more about the Assessment Fields and Units of the Assessment.

Aalto schedule for RAI 2018
pdf attachment
RAI 2018 Panels' Feedback to Fields and Aalto University 2.41 M
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RAI 2018 Panels' Feedback to Fields and Aalto University

For more information, please contact:

Ella Bingham, Head of Research Strategic Support, ella.bingham(at)aalto.fi
Marjo Kettunen, Project Manager, tel. +358 50 3042827, marjo.kettunen(at)aalto.fi
Krisztina Cziner, Project Manager, tel. + +358 503161028, krisztina.cziner(at)aalto.fi
Terms of Reference for Assessment Panels (pdf)

Assessment Fields and Units

The Assessment fields reflect Aalto University’s seven key research areas that comprise four core competence areas: Arts and design knowledge building, Global business dynamics, ICT and digitalisation, Materials and sustainable use of natural resources; and three grand challenge research areas: Advanced energy solutions, Health and wellbeing, and Human-centered living environments.

In the RAI 2018, Fields 1-4 cover Aalto's four core competence key research areas. Each Assessment Field consists of several Units of Assessment that cover all Aalto University Schools and Departments.

  • Field 1: Arts, design and architecture
  • Field 2: Business and economics
  • Field 3a: Chemical engineering and physics Field 3b: Engineering
  • Field 4: ICT and mathematics

Assessment Fields 5-7 cover the multi-disciplinary grand challenge key research areas. Combined in a single Unit of Assessment, each Unit includes researchers and research groups from various Aalto University Schools and Departments. Assessment Field 8 covers the university-wide innovation ecosystem as a whole, including also activities that take place outside the departments.

  • Field 5: Energy
  • Field 6: Health and wellbeing
  • Field 7: Living environment
  • Field 8: Innovation ecosystem

Assessment Units

Field 1: Arts, design and architecture

1. Department of Architecture (ARTS)

2. Department of Art (ARTS)

3. Department of Design (ARTS)

4. Department of Film, Television and Scenography (ARTS)

5. Department of Media (ARTS)

Field 2: Business and economics

6. Department of Accounting (BIZ)

7. Department of Economics (BIZ)

8. Department of Finance (BIZ)

9. Department of Management Studies (BIZ)

10. Department of Marketing (BIZ)

11. Department of Industrial Engineering and Management (SCI)

12. Department of Information and Service Economy (BIZ)

Field 3a. Chemical engineering and physics

13. Department of Applied Physics (SCI)

14. Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems (CHEM)

15. Department of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering (CHEM)

16. Department of Chemistry and Materials Science (CHEM)

17. Department of Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering (SCI)

Field 3b. Engineering

18. Department of Built Environment (ENG)

19. Department of Civil Engineering (ENG)

20. Department of Electrical Engineering and Automation (ELEC)

21. Department of Electronics and Nanoengineering (ELEC)

22. Department of Mechanical Engineering (ENG)

Field 4: ICT and mathematics

23. Department of Communications and Networking (ELEC)

24. Department of Computer Science (SCI)

25. Department of Mathematics and Systems Analysis (SCI)

26. Department of Signal Processing and Acoustics (ELEC)

Multidisciplinary Assessment Fields (cover part of Aalto, overlap Fields 1-4)

Field 5: Energy

27. Energy Platform and other energy research

Field 6: Health and wellbeing

28. Health Platform and other health and wellbeing research

Field 7: Living environment

29. Living+ Platform and other living environment research

Field 8: Innovation ecosystem

30. Design Factory and Aalto innovation ecosystem

Objectives, Criteria and Rating of the Assessment

Aalto University Objectives of the Assessment

  • To assess quality and potential of research, arts, design and architecture;
  • To assess the success of multidisciplinary collaboration within Aalto;
  • To assess Aalto's research impact, artistic impact, societal impact, and innovative capacity;
  • To identify leading international spearheads and emerging research strengths;
  • To stimulate and encourage world-class research and artistic activities;
  • To give feedback to the Units of Assessments;
  • To position Units of Assessments nationally and internationally;
  • To strengthen the Aalto University brand
  • To provide cases and evidence of Aalto's development.

The Assessment is based on the following material

  • Written self-assessments, including case studies
  • Bibliometric data, and other indicators of quality and impact of the research and artistic work;
  • Interviews conducted by the Panels during the site visit.

The Panels are asked to assess following subjects and present statements for each Unit of Assessment:

  • A statement on the research and artistic profile and how the activities relate to the Aalto University strategy and Key Research Areas;
  • Numerical ratings and written statements for each of the following elements:
  • 2.1. Excellence, quality and the extent and impact of multidisciplinary collaboration of the  research and artistic activities;
  • 2.2. Impact of the research and artistic activities on the research/artistic community;
  • 2.3. Societal impact and the entrepreneurial and innovative capacity;
  • 2.4. Strengths and weaknesses of the research and artistic environment (SWOT analysis);
  • 2.5. Future potential
  • Recommendations for the future

Each Assessment Panel shall reach a collective decision based on the written material, interviews conducted during the site visits, additional material requested by the Panel Chair before/during the site visits, and discussions among the Panel members.

Numerical rating scales for assessment

The numerical rating scale applied in the Assessment is the following:

  • 6 - Outstanding International Level

  • 5 - Excellent International Level

  • 4 - Very Good International Level

  • 3 - Good International Level

  • 2 - Fair International Level

  • 1 - Emerging International Level

For the purposes of defining quality levels, “international” is a quality benchmark. The wording “international level” shall not be equated with work on international themes. Here, “international level” indicates the Units' standing in comparison with internationally established research units in the same field of research. For example, the quality of the interaction between the Unit of Assessment and society (i.e. the societal impact) may be assessed to "Outstanding International Level" even if the interaction takes place mainly at the national or even local level, if this is the case also in the best international units in the same field of research.