Tampere University of Technology

2017

From the President

"An attractive university moves with the times. In 2017 we saw an impressive 18 per cent increase in applications."

Mika Hannula
President

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The year's highlights

Tampere University of Technology (TUT) produces new knowledge and expertise for the benefit of people and the environment. The results of the international 2017 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) demonstrated that TUT conducts high-impact and high-quality research. The University is committed to the continuous development of courses and programmes: TUT has introduced a major in robotics as the only university in Finland. The 2015-2017 fundraising campaign generated 6.3 million euros in donations.

New major in robotics

In autumn 2017, TUT became the first university in Finland to offer a major in robotics. A new robotics laboratory was set up to support learning. Housed in the Konetalo building, the new laboratory offers students a hands-on environment for testing collaborative robots and sensor and control systems. The opening ceremony took place in November.

The new major is designed to provide students with the expertise to develop robotic systems and work together with professionals from different fields. The courses cover a range of topics from theory to practical experimentation with real-world robots.

“Expertise in robotics can be applied to many interesting tasks in a variety of fields. Students majoring in the subject will have the opportunity to pursue diverse careers in academia or industry,” says Dean Mika Grundström.

With more than ten professors currently working in the field, TUT represents Finland’s largest academic hub of expertise in robotics. The University invests in research and education in robotics, among others, in response to industry needs. 

New Centre of Excellence in Body-on-Chip Research

The Academy of Finland awarded Centre of Excellence (CoE) status to 12 research units for the years 2018–2025. TUT is involved in two of them: the Centre of Excellence in Inverse Modelling and Imaging, which continues to hold its long-term CoE status, and the new Centre of Excellence in Body-on-Chip Research located in BioMediTech, a joint institute between TUT and the University of Tampere.

BioMediTech has a long history of research collaboration in the field. The new CoE brings together expertise in biology and technology.

The goal is to create a new type of body-on-chip concept where cell cultures, blood vessels, and nerves are utilised to create networks of cell and tissue cultures that are based on stem cells. A computerised nervous system measures, analyses and controls the network system.

“Our research sheds light on tissue interactions, the in vitro construction of composite tissue and the operation management of composite tissue. The concept that combines biology with synthetic structures has much to give to research areas such as the development of medicinal substances,” Professor Minna Kellomäki says.

173 doctoral hats

TUT hosted its ninth doctoral conferment ceremony in May 2017. In keeping with academic tradition, doctoral degrees were ceremoniously conferred on 163 doctoral graduates and 10 honorary doctors. In addition to the formal ceremony, the conferees attended a reception hosted by the City of Tampere, a banquet and an informal outing.   

The conferees graduated with a doctoral degree after TUT’s previous conferment ceremony, which was held in spring 2012. The Conferrer of Degrees was Professor of Signal Processing Moncef Gabbouj.

Honorary doctorates were conferred upon Professor Weinong Chen, Professor John Dudley, Mayor Anna-Kaisa Ikonen, President and CEO Pekka Lundmark, Director Marja Makarow, Board Chair Marjo Matikainen-Kallström, Professor Jan Rabaey, President and CEO Timo Salli, Director Alexander Schwarzkopf and CEO Jorma Turunen.

Distinguished individuals from Finland and abroad were invited to accept honorary doctorates in recognition of excellence in fields represented at the University or other exceptional scientific, artistic, or social merits. The title of honorary doctor is the highest recognition awarded by a university.

Human potential unlimited in the new Tampere University

The University of Tampere and Tampere University of Technology are being merged to create the new foundation-based Tampere University on 1 January 2019. Together with Tampere University of Applied Sciences, they will comprise a new higher education community made up of some 35,000 students and employees.

The new community brings together research on health, technology and society to explore important phenomena from human, economic and technological perspectives. The community provides an open arena for multidisciplinary encounters and research that draws from practice and produces world-class results and applications.

The ethos of the Tampere higher education community is based on the idea that collaboration between people is the key to solving global challenges. When the work of developing the new community’s brand began with workshops and surveys, the themes that cropped up repeatedly amongst the participants were people and humanity. The brand identity is summed up in the slogan ‘Human Potential Unlimited’.

Artificial iris reacts to light like the human eye

An artificial iris made of an intelligent, light-controlled polymer material reacts to light the same as a real human eye. The first-of-its-kind artificial iris was developed by TUT’s Smart Photonics Materials Group, which also has other light-controlled microrobots in the pipeline.

Headed by Academy Research Fellow and Associate Professor (tenure track) Arri Priimägi, the group knows how to manufacture polymers from liquid-crystal materials for their light-controlled microrobots. Now they are interested in pinpointing and developing different applications. Besides the artificial iris, they have progressed the furthest in the development of a grabbing polymer grip, which Priimägi compares to the Venus flytrap plant.

“Now we want to teach our flytrap to recognize colours and react not only to light but also humidity,” says Priimägi.

"We’re looking to maximize the ‘intelligence’ of our materials. Our goal is to control their movements as diversely as possible.”

On the hunt for asteroids

TUT’s mathematicians who specialise in inverse problems pursue research that sheds light on the shape, movement and composition of asteroids. Postdoctoral Researcher Matti Viikinkoski’s scientific track record of reconstructing asteroids has earned him a special recognition that few mathematicians have received: an eponymous asteroid.

Matti Viikinkoski works in the Inverse Problems Research Group in the Laboratory of Mathematics at TUT. Based on calculations performed by the group, Viikinkoski has developed the world’s most versatile software for modelling asteroids. It effectively reveals the shapes and spin states of asteroids.

TUT’s mathematicians are also involved in the Deep Interior Scanning CubeSat (DISCUS) project that is conducted in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute located in Germany. The international team of researchers is working to build a bistatic radar and launch it into space on board two tiny nanosatellites to explore an asteroid orbiting the Sun. The data may help uncover what the asteroid is made of. 

  • Technology with heart

    Tampere University of Technology (TUT) is at the leading edge of technological development and a sought-after collaboration partner among the scientific and business communities. We educate skillful graduates to serve the needs of society. Our University is a fertile breeding ground for innovations and new research- and knowledge-based companies. We generate new knowledge and expertise for the benefit of society. We foster the well-being of people and the environment through research and education. We develop technologies that reshape the competitive landscape of Finnish industry.

  • Tasks

    Research, education and societal impact.

  • Success factors

    Competent people, inspirational environment and excellence.

  • Values

    Courage, responsibility and community spirit.