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Second international research assessment pinpoints top research communities and future potential

Biodata analysis and photonics excel in Tampere University of Technology’s (TUT) second international Research Assessment Exercise conducted in June. Suggestions for further improvement include building up more international partnerships.

TUT’s first Research Assessment Exercise in 2011 covered the entire research activity and focused on departments. In contrast, TUT RAE 2017 was carried out as a selective, voluntary assessment of research communities, independent of the university’s unit structure. The assessed 20 research communities varied between 10-100 members in size and some of them included members from outside TUT.

“We decided on a different approach, partly because due to structural changes it would have been impossible to compare results, and partly because a lot of information on the level of TUT’s research is available from other sources, such as assessments by the Academy of Finland and NordForsk as well as international rankings, and thus we know where we stand nationally and internationally,“ explains Research Specialist Laura Himanen.

“The international assessment panel was in general very impressed by our research and researchers and especially by TUT’s infrastructure. The bottom-up approach was considered an ideal way to assess research activities, even though the panel faced a challenging task in evaluating heterogeneous research communities. The panel was nevertheless able to pinpoint our top communities.”

In the category of New Openings the top-rated research community was Multi-scaled biodata analysis and modelling (MultiBAM), headed by Professor Andre S. Ribeiro. In the category of Existing Research Communities, the top research community was Frontier Photonics, headed by Professor Mircea Guina.

Five other research communities in the category of Existing Research Communities also received excellent results: Prostate Cancer Research Center (PCRC) (head Professor Olli Yli-Harja), Integrated Technologies for Tissue Engineering (ITTE) (head Professor Minna Kellomäki), Wireless Communications and Positioning (WICO) (head Professor Mikko Valkama), Signal Processing Research Community (SPRC) (head Professor Karen Eguiazarian) and Computational Science X (CompX) (head Professor Esa Räsänen).

TUT RAE 2017 international expert panel

Professor Ulrike Beisiegel, President of the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany

Panel members
Professor Erik Aurell, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden
Professor Thomas Baer, Stanford University, USA
Professor Ibrahim Dincer, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Canada
Professor Tore Haugen, NTNU, Norway
Professor Jos van Hillegersberg, University of Twente, Netherlands
Dr Benny Lo, Imperial College London, UK
Professor Matteo Santin, University of Brighton, UK
Professor Julia Stegemann, University College London, UK
Professor Sergios Theodoridis, University of Athens, Greece

The panel also provided important insight into how to better exploit current strengths to enhance the research activities of the entire University.

“Of the main challenges found in 2011, internationality still needs strengthening. In 2011, the panels suggested that we should recruit more international researchers, and this time the panel urges our research communities to build up more international partnerships. Another theme repeated from 2011 was the proportion of women among research staff – there is still lot of room for improvement,” says Vice President Jarmo Takala.

Two other key challenges of 2011, publishing and “in-breeding” – that is the too high number of TUT students ending up as researchers at TUT – did not come up in this year’s findings.

According to Vice President Takala, the top-rated research communities will receive substantial long-term support. There will be a follow up for all research communities that took part in the assessment in September, when Vice President Jarmo Takala meets up all heads of research communities individually in regards to the results.

The full-text assessment report is available at

Further information: Vice President Jarmo Takala +358 40 541 6897,, Research Specialist Laura Himanen +358 40 198 1834,

News submitted by: Sanna Kähkönen
Keywords: science and research, about tut, rae