The year 2017 was marked by the preparations for the establishment of the new Tampere University in collaboration with the University of Tampere and Tampere University of Applied Sciences. A number of our employees took up appointments as full-time Tampere3 project directors.
Tampere University of Technology continued to strengthen the profile of its scientific and educational activities. Our new tenure-track professors are strongly connected to the strategically important areas of research. In addition, five full-time deans who lead the faculties joined TUT at the beginning of 2017.
New avenues for internationalization opened up, as EU funding was awarded to the Tampere3-wide Hidden Gems project that is seeking to empower the spouses of international researchers. Our own ‘TUT on Would Tour’ project was successfully carried out to encourage our researchers to gain more international experience.
Our University has a strong tradition of collaboration within the campus community and beyond. This provides a solid foundation for building a competitive future for science and education.
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The TTY Foundation's capital is invested wisely and responsibly to generate returns that support, among others, the development of learning environments and research. The returns have also been used to support internationalization, the projects of young researchers, and the purchase of research equipment for tenure-track faculty.
“TUT has a long-term approach to investments, and all investment decisions are made after careful analysis. Special emphasis is placed on risk management: the performance of the University’s portfolio is continuously monitored and analysed despite the long investment horizon,” says TUT’s Investment Specialist Tanja Kuokka.
At the turn of the year, 49 per cent of the University’s investment portfolio was invested in stocks, 32 per cent in bonds and 19 per cent in other assets. The portfolio with a total value of 200 million euros produced a 6.6 per cent return in 2017.
“The expertise of external asset managers is utilized in the management of investments. The activities are governed by TUT’s Investment Policy, which is annually confirmed by the Board. Besides financial considerations, TUT incorporates environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in all investment decisions,” says Kuokka.
Assistant Professor (tenure track) Esa Rahtu joined the Laboratory of Signal Processing at TUT in autumn 2017. His areas of expertise are computer vision and machine learning. The newly appointed professor is looking forward to seeing intelligent machines hit the mainstream.
“There’s still a long way to go before machine learning technologies are so good that they can be widely utilized in everyday environments. It is exciting to take part in developing methods that can genuinely help people at home and in the workplace,” says Rahtu.
Taneli Riihonen and Heikki Huttunen, the latter already a familiar face on campus, also joined the tenure-track faculty in the Laboratory of Signal Processing in 2017.
Esa Rahtu’s Artificial Intelligence and Vision Group maintains close collaboration with AI researchers from the other laboratories at TUT. Rahtu is also keen to collaborate with robotics researchers and with Roel Pieters, who took up a tenure-track professorship in the Laboratory of Automation and Hydraulic Engineering in 2017.
“TUT is genuinely committed to developing and investing in important research areas,” Rahtu says.
The Centre for Professional Development Edutech granted the 2017 Educator of the Year Award to Vice Dean, Professor Marko Seppänen of the Laboratory of Industrial and Information Management. Seppänen has a long history of collaborating with Edutech not only as an instructor but also as a sparring partner to promote the development of new training programmes.
“Marko Seppänen is a visionary developer of new teaching methods who genuinely embraces a culture of experimentation. His in-depth content knowledge meets the needs of many of our customers. He knows how to open the eyes of his audience to new business opportunities created by digitalization. His presentations have also helped many recognize the importance of customer and user experiences for business development,” Edutech’s representatives say.
“In addition, his participation in the development of an entirely new individual EMBA leadership programme is testimony to his courage to explore new avenues.”
The Educator of the Year Award was given out for the seventh time. Edutech offers professional development opportunities for employees and companies.
The Science Fund of the City of Tampere gives out annual awards in recognition of the best dissertations written in the local universities. The winner of the 2016 Distinguished Dissertation Award at TUT was Caglar Aytekin for his dissertation titled “Quantum Cuts – A Quantum Mechanical Spectral Graph Partitioning Method for Salient Object Detection”.
Featured in leading journals in the field, Aytekin’s dissertation explored salient object detection, or how machines learn to identify important objects in photographs. He developed novel computational methods for accurate and reliable object recognition.
Caglar Aytekin’s dissertation made a significant contribution to fundamental research in machine vision and demonstrated the broad applicability of the research area in fields ranging from artificial intelligence to image enhancement and image compression.
In addition, TUT awarded an honourable mention to Satu Huuhka for her dissertation in the field of architecture titled “Building ’Post-Growth’: Quantifying and Characterizing Resources in the Building Stock”. Huuhka’s societally important research explored the geography and characteristics of obsolete buildings in Finland.
A new outdoor fitness park called “Ulkoareena” opened on campus in October 2017 to further expand the diverse range of sports facilities and activities available at TUT. The park offers convenient access to outdoor exercise for staff and students and the employees of campus companies and provides an important counterbalance to work and studies.
“It is important for the members of our campus community to take care of themselves. We should all exercise our minds and bodies in equal measure,” said President Mika Hannula in his opening speech.
The new fitness park is the latest addition to TUT’s excellent sports facilities. Rather than tucked away behind the campus, the park occupies a prominent position on the front lawn where everyone can see it. The location highlights the easy access to the fitness park and encourages the campus community to use the equipment.
The outdoor fitness park was officially opened on 6 October.
Tampere University of Technology is a community of 1,600 experts and 8,000 students. TUT continued to strenghten the profiles of its scientific and educational activities. New tenure-track professors are closely involved in the strategically important fields of research. The year 2017 was also a year of active preparations towards the new Tampere University that TUT is building in collaboration with the University of Tampere and Tampere University of Applied Sciences.
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