Excellence in Research
The amount of competitive external funding and the inclusion of two research teams from the School of Chemical Engineering into a Centre of Excellence of the Academy of Finland give some idea of research excellence at Aalto University.
- Tekes Large Strategic Research Openings
- Centre of Excellence
- FiDiPro Professors and FiDiPro Research Fellows
The European Research Council (ERC) supports groundbreaking research in all branches of science by funding the work of top researchers. Professor Maarit Karppinen from Aalto Schoolf of Chemical Engineering received a 2.4 million euro ERC Advanced Grant for research on inorganic-organic hybrid materials. ERC Advanced Grants are awarded to distinguished top researchers.
Professor Karppinen's objective is to develop new functional hybrid materials that combine the best properties of organic and inorganic materials, thus creating materials with completely new properties. In the future, it will be possible to put hybrid films to use in various practical applications, including sensors, catalysts, strongly emerging organic electronics, new energy technologies and different coating applications.
Visiting Professor Emma Master received an ERC Consolidator Grant for a research project called BHIVE (Bio-derived HIgh Value polymers through novel Enzyme function). The project aims to accelerate benefits of the genomic era, by finding novel proteins and enzymes with totally new and useful properties in the modification and processing of renewable resources (e.g. lignocellulose).
Postdoctoral Researcher Michael Hummel has been awarded the ca. 1.5 million euro Starting Grant by the European Research Council (ERC). The funding was granted for a five-year project aiming at the manufacture of high-quality carbon fibres from wood. The hybrid fibre is manufactured using the Ioncell-F spinning technology developed by Aalto University Professor Herbert Sixta’s research group.
This project type looks for bold visionaries and a multidisciplinary approach. The starting point is a vision of a new, challenging solution which, when implemented, would mean significant and extensive new opportunities for businesses and industries and increase the pull factor of Finnish competence.The vision must include an idea of the type of new business, the new knowledge and competence that the research opening will generate.
Today, Aalto School of Chemical Engineering participates in two strategic research openings. Design Driven World of Cellulose takes a new approach to utilising wood-based cellulose. The goal is to make design and design processes part of strategic business development for companies in the industry, and to make Finland a brand name in terms of refined cellulose-based products. The project involves students in the design process and seeks opportunities outside of current technologies, for example, in design, consumer products and technical textiles. The project will facilitate the creation of a business ecosystem to serve existing industries and the new growing cellulose-based industry.
The responsible project leader at Aalto University is Professor Janne Laine, but several research groups from the Schools of Chemical Engineering, Science, and Arts, Design and Architecture are contributing to the project. In addition to Aalto University, other participants are VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Tampere University of Technology. Initial project planning was based on visions developed by Aalto University students and presented in the CHEMARTS 2012 project. Tekes funding of the projects is almost 3 million euros.
The aim of 3i - Innovative Induction Initiative -project is to enhance regeneration by induction of new cells locally in the heart and brain by innovative pharmaceuticals and drug delivery systems. If successful, this will revolutionize the treatment of heart and brain diseases and impact on therapeutic markets. The partners of this radical and challenging Large Strategic Opening are the University of Helsinki, Aalto University and Helsinki University Central Hospital, combining expertise in areas of life sciences, chemistry, physics, engineering sciences and medicine in an innovative fashion. Aalto participant if Professor Sami Franssila from Aalto School of Chemical Engineering. Tekes funding for this project is 4,8 million euros for 2014-2016.
The Centres of Excellence in Research, funded by the Academy of Finland, are among the best representatives of their respective branches of science. Each research group has the opportunity to do research at a high international level with funding provided for six years.
The Board of the Academy of Finland selected the research group headed by Professor Olli Ikkala (School of Science) on Molecular Engineering of Biosynthetic Hybrid Materials as Centre of Excellence for the 2014‒2019 CoE programme. From the Aalto School of Chemical Engineering Professor Markus Linder's research group, as well as Professor Janne Laine's research group are involved with the Centre.
The project of the Centre of Excellence, located at the Aalto University School of Science, concerns the development of high-tech materials and dynamic complex modelling systems for the future, based on naturally occurring basic materials that are manipulated and produced through biological production processes. In technologies of the future, new basic materials and processes which protect the environment and conserve energy are set to be in a key role, as the gradual replacement of oil-based materials and processes by biotechnical processes and biological materials is within sight.
The Academy of Finland chooses as an Academy Professor a person who has proven to be an eminent researcher. The person is deemed to contribute to the advancement of research in their branch of science. The research of Academy Professor and Head of the Department of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering Jukka Seppälä is concentrated on the bioactive and biodegradable polymers. He is involved with the EU project ArtiVasc 3D which aims to manufacture artificial vascularised skin using 3D printing technology.
FiDiPro - the Finland Distinguished Professor Programme, led and financed by the Academy of Finland and Tekes, provides Finnish universities and research institutes with the opportunity to employ distinguished professor-level scientist from all around the world for a fixed term.Tekes provides funding also for inviting FiDiPro Fellows - promising top researchers past their post doc stage- to work in Finland.
Today, there are three FiDiPro-professors and one FiDiPro Research Fellow working at Aalto School of Chemical Engineering:
Leonardus Lefferts, Department of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, Professor
Dominique Richon, Department of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, Professor
Orlando Jose Rojas Gaon, Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems , Professor
Emma Master, Department of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, Research Fellow