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Half a million euros in donations for a new Information Networks Professor at Aalto

Aalto University will use the funds to establish a new Professor of Practice for the Information Networks degree programme.

The new Professor of Practice will strengthen the cooperation of Aalto University teachers, companies and public organisations. The professor’s field will cover the development of digital services from the points of view of businesses, users and society at large. The professor is also expected to train students to make new insights and innovations of the data collected and analysed by organisations.

The information networks programme was established in 1999 to train new professionals to bridge the gap between technical fields and the rest of society. Graduates from the program have been employed in various positions; consultants in IT and business management, software and service designers, capital investors and also researchers and journalists. Whatever the field may be, Information Networks graduates work as interpreters between technology, the economy and people. They fit together the needs of companies and customers in software and information systems design and strive to make profitable business.

“Information Networks students and graduates have an exceptional ability to understandbusiness, users, design and technology. We have many of them in our community, and Reaktor would not be the same company without them. Our field is already facing labour shortages, and this is why we want to be involved in training future experts. Information Networks will play a key role in building Finland’s future”, believes Ville Valtonen, Head of Marketing at Reaktor, one of the companies that donated towards the professorship.

The new professor will be expected to work on both national and international levels and build interaction between universities, industry and society. Aalto University wants the programme to produce developers and entrepreneurs for new kinds of business.

“Since its launch, the Information Networks programme has been training influencers not just for the IT world but for all fields of industry. The need for new graduates from the programme is only growing more and more urgent. The new professor will strengthen the programme’s quality and close ties to the business world and the needs of society”, believes Dean of Aalto University School of Science Jouko Lampinen.

The professor’s task will be to transfer the latest scientific knowledge and expertise in digital service development from the university to the business world. This should work both ways, too: academic research and teaching must also respond to the actual challenges that companies and users are facing.

“Finns have traditionally been proficient with basic technologies, but commercialising products based on them and developing service concepts has been more difficult. The multidisciplinary Information Networks programme that combines technical and business studies give students the prerequisites for growing Finland’s success in commercialisation and productisation in the digital world,” says Kimmo Antonen, CEO at KPMG, one of the donor companies.

The application process for the Information Networks Professor of Practice will be opened on Wednesday 17 January at an event open also to the media starting at 6pm in the Jugend Hall at Glo Hotel Art (Lönnrotinkatu 29, Helsinki).

The donations have been collected in collaboration between Aalto University, the Information Networks students’ guild Athene, and the guild’s parents’ association Athene Angels. Donors include significant global and Finnish IT and business consulting companies, capital investment groups, information and financial management companies and the City of Espoo. The Information Networks programme is jointly run by the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management and the Department of Computer Science at Aalto University.

Donors: Accenture, Accountor, CapMan, Boston Consulting Group, The City of Espoo, Futurice, Inventure, KPMG, Reaktor and Sofigate.

Further information:

Aalto University

Kari Smolander, professor
tel. +358 40 5463 493

Athene Angels parents’ association

Hanna Nikkilä
tel. +358 40 5611 894

Ari Tolppanen
tel. +358 50 0407 343

Athene, students’ guild

Joel Lappalainen
tel. +358 40 7780 127

Contact information for the donor engagement team:

Hannu Seristö

Vice President

+358 50 383 2478


Teppo Heiskanen

Director of Advancement and Corporate Engagement

+358 50 363 3223


Sinikka Heikkala

Head of Donor Engagement

+358 400 908 899


Elina Karvonen

Adviser, Donor Engagement (on parental leave)

+358 50 364 1446


Jaana Tammisto

Adviser, Donor Engagement

+358 50 409 5772


Marita Halme

Coordinator of Advancement and Corporate Engagement

+358 40 576 1349


Maria Böling

Marketing Specialist

+358 50 320 6663