Two new Centres of Excellence to Aalto University – the university is also involved in two consortia

Oct 14, 2021

Electromechanical Energy Conversion and Transfer and Life-Inspired Hybrid Materials were chosen as Centres of Excellence led by Aalto University


The Academy of Finland has selected Centres of Excellence (CoE) for the period 2022‒2029. The centres employ research groups from 11 universities and research institutes. 


The Centre of Excellence in Electromechanical Energy Conversion and Transfer, led by Professor Anouar Belahcen, meets the challenges of an electrifying world. The consortium brings together the key Finnish academic experts in the field: Senior Scientist Jenni Pippuri-Mäkeläinen (VTT), Professor Juha Pyrhönen (LUT), Academy Research Fellow Paavo Rasilo (TAU), Peter Råback CSC-IT Center for Science and Professor Kari Tammi from Aalto University. 


‘Our goal is to develop modelling and analysis methods and methodologies for producing sustainable and compact electrical machines and drives, mechanical transmission and systems that are essential for a cleaner future,’ Belahcen says. 


‘The mechatronics team will focus on system integration. The combination of experimental activities and scientific computation creates new science, but also well-functioning machines,’ continues Professor Kari Tammi. 


The Centre of Excellence in Life-Inspired Hybrid Materials, led by Professor Markus Linder, presents ground-breaking future material concepts, by providing new life-inspired adaptable and dynamic soft matter hybrid materials.  


‘Recently, we have seen huge progress in understanding of biological systems. We aim to bring it to materials science and to create novel functional materials with tools that evolution has implemented for billions of years,’ says Professor Markus Linder.   


‘The expert team uses seamlessly integrated synthetic biology, physics, chemistry, and computational methods. Our interdisciplinary research will educate the next generation of scientists and engineers to easily navigate within the disciplines, renewing science to meet society’s future needs, especially in environmental sustainability.’  


‘We believe there will be new types of artificially intelligent materials in the future. Simple intelligent operations can be chemically programmed into these materials, and they can make simple decisions. These materials adapt to new types of conditions, can adjust their operations, and begin to communicate with each other. This can be useful, for example, in medical applications, albeit in a very long time in the future,’ says Professor Olli Ikkala. 


In addition to Markus Linder and Olli Ikkala, the consortium includes several experts from Aalto: Professor Mauri Kostiainen, Professor Robin Ras, Senior Scientist Maria Sammalkorpi and Assistant Professor Jaakko Timonen, as well as Research Professor Merja Penttilä (VTT) and Professor Arri Priimägi (Tampere University). 


In addition, Aalto University's research groups participate as partners in the Centre of Excellence in Randomness and Structures, headed by Professor Eero Saksman from the University of Helsinki. From Aalto University, Professors Pauliina Ilmonen and Kalle Kytölä are involved. 


The Centre of Excellence in Virtual laboratory for molecular level atmospheric transformations is headed by Professor Hanna Vehkamäki from the University of Helsinki. Professor Patrick Rinke from Aalto University is involved. 


In addition, Aalto University coordinates the Centre of Excellence in Quantum Technology until 2025, led by Professor Jukka Pekola. Likewise, the centers of excellence in imaging and space science continue to run for 2025. 


The centers of excellence are at the international forefront of their respective disciplines. They are pioneers in research and educate new talented researchers in Finnish research and industry. 


Congratulations to everyone and good luck with your research.