Aalto University School of Science is home to six Centres of Excellence (CoE) in Research funded by the Academy of Finland. In two of them, the School cooperates with other universities.
A CoE is a research and training network that has a clearly defined set of research objectives and is run under a joint management. Funding is provided for a six-year term, which means that CoEs can work to long-term plans and even take risks. CoEs are jointly funded by the Academy of Finland, universities, research institutes, the private business sector and many other sources.
The Centres of Excellence are in the forefront of their field in international terms. Besides top quality and internationality, the research groups ensure that research is ethical, unconstrained and innovative.
Centres of Excellence in School of Science
- Centre of Excellence in Computational Inference COIN
- Centre of Excellence in Computational Nanoscience COMP
- Centre of Excellence in Low Temperature Quantum Phenomena and Devices LTQ
- Centre of Excellence in Molecular Engineering of Biosynthetic Hybrid Materials HYBER
The Finnish Center of Excellence in Computational Inference Research (COIN) develops methods for transforming the data produced by the current data revolution into useful information. The key methodology for achieving this goal is statistical and computational inference based on the data.
The emphasis is on large data collections and computationally demanding modelling and inference algorithms. The mission is to push the boundary towards both more complex problems, requiring more sructured data models, and towards extremely rapid inference. COIN brings in expertise on several different approaches to inference, with a unique opportunity to address the core computational challenges with combinations of machine learning, computational statistics, statistical physics, and constraint-based search and optimization.
COIN works on two flagship applications. In the Intelligent Information Access flagship, the challenge is to make use of massive interrelated information sources, whether in everyday life or in science, and select what information to present to the user. The inference needs to be done on-line, learning relevance from the user's responses.
In the Computational Biology and Medicine flagship, COIN develops methods for maximally utilizing the novel measurement databases and structured stochastic models in making data-driven biology cumulative. In addition to these two flagship applications, COIN works on a few additional test-bench applications in collaboration with selected top-level application partners, from science and industry.
Professor Risto Nieminen was granted a third term as a Centre of Excellence in 2012.. Since November 2013 the Centre has been led by Professor Päivi Tötmä. The Centre of Excellence for Nanoscience has about 70 employees consisting of 30 doctoral students, 10 Aalto University professors and senior researchers and more than 20 young international postdoc researchers and visitors. The unit has international researchers from for instance USA, Australia, Korea, China; Europe is represented by researchers from e.g. Italy, France Sweden and Germany.
The work of the unit focuses on theoretical and computational research in the structures and components of nanomaterials. Research areas include electronic properties of materials and nanostructures, the quantum physics of multi-particulate phenomena and the nanostructures of surfaces and interfaces. The research is multidisciplinary, and research topics vary from phenomena at the atomic level to the macro-world. In addition to research, the unit also produces various applications.
The Centre of Excellence has also functioned as an important graduate school and mentoring place, educating several professors for both Finnish and foreign universities during the previous Centre of Excellence terms. Read more
The Centre of Excellence directed by Academy Professor Jukka Pekola for low temperature quantum phenomena and devices has had predecessors in the O.V. Lounasmaa Laboratory (fomer Low Temperature Laboratory) ever since 1994, when it was directed by Academician Olli V. Lounasmaa and later by Professor Mikko Paalanen. The Centre of Excellence involves researchers the Aalto University Department of Applied Physics and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.
The Centre of Excellence on Low Temperature Quantum Phenomena and Devices investigates quantum phenomena, both in extremely ideal continuous media, such as helium liquids and crystals, and in metallic nanostructures. The goal is to produce quantum electronic components with sensors based on superconducting structures as the important circuit elements. A successful example is the superconducting sensors used to measure brain activity.
Working in the research unit gives its researchers good opportunities to find employment in the R&D activity in industry as well as to find successful academic careers in an international environment. The unit produces young physicists with a versatile doctoral training needed for international careers. Read more.
Centre of Excellence in Molecular Engineering of Biosynthetic Hybrid Materials Research HYBER (2014-2019)
The HYBER Centre of Excellence is led by Academy Professor Olli Ikkala. The Centre of Excellence in Molecular Engineering of Biosynthetic Hybrid Materials research combines four groups working on molecular self-assembly, genetic engineering of proteins, biotechnical production of engineered biomolecules, and plant cell wall materials. The combination of our expertise enables research of controlling and designing self-assembly and structural hierarchies in multicomponent hybrid materials from the molecular and colloidal level upwards.
This CoE combines four groups working on molecular self-assembly, genetic engineering of proteins, biotechnical production of engineered biomolecules, and plant cell wall materials. The combination of groups will enable research where selfassembly and structural hierarchies in multicomponent hybrid materials are controlled and designed from the molecular level upwards. Read more
Joint Centres of Excellence
The overall objective of the CoE is to understand the molecular mechanisms that control the immune system as well as the interactions between the immune system and other physiological systems in health and disease. This information may help in prevention and treatment of inflammatory and immune-mediated disorders. The CoE will focus especially on type 1 diabetes. Along the way, the research will generate new knowledge of the role of metabolism in early stages of autoimmune diseases as well as reveal novel molecular mechanisms.
The Centre of Excellence (CoE) is directed by Professor Mikael Knip from the University of Helsinki. Professor Harri Lähdesmäki from the Aalto University School of Science is leading the research group in the CoE.
Computational methods and data analysis for astrophysics research group led by docent Maarit Käpylä contributes computational science to the CoE. Read more