Research excellence

The Department of Applied Physics at Aalto University has proven to do outstanding science: our researchers have received multiple external funding awards.

This page lists the most notable recognitions and funding awards received by the Department of Applied Physics at Aalto University. The funding listed represents projects that are currently in progress, except for the European Research Council section, which mentions completed projects as well.

Academicians of Science

The President of Finland confers the title of Academician of Science on highly distinguished scientists and scholars from Finland and abroad. No more than sixteen Finns may bear the title at a time. Currently, Risto Nieminen has received this recognition.

Academy Professors

Academy Professors are awarded Academy of Finland funds for contributing to the development of their own research fields. The funding provides world-class scientists and scholars with the opportunity to practice research work on a fixed-term full-time basis. Academy Professors may carry out their own research plans, lead research teams, supervise young scientists and provide training.

The Department of Applied Physics at Aalto University is currently home to two Academy Professors.

Academy of Finland’s Centres of Excellence

Centres of Excellence (CoE) are at the cutting edge of their disciplines, pioneering new avenues of enquiry and training the next generation of new talent for Finnish research and industry. CoEs are funded by the Academy of Finland and Finnish universities, research institutes, the private sector and many other sources. The funding is granted for a 6–8 year term.

At present, the Department of Applied Physics at Aalto University includes the following Centres of Excellence.

Aalto University coordinates the following Centres of Excellence


The European Research Council funding (ERC)

ERC funding is awarded to leading researchers for pioneering work at the frontiers of science. Scientific excellence is the sole criterion on the basis of which ERC frontier research grants are awarded.

Funding awards are categorised according to professional stage: Starting Grants are for top researchers with 2 to 7 years experience after PhD, Consolidator Grants for those with 7–12 years experience after PhD, and Advanced Grants support established researchers known as leaders in their respective field of research. In addition, ERC grant recipients may apply for Proof of Concept funding as a recognition of the innovative potential of their ERC work and to support its commercial use.

ERC Advanced Grant funding

  • Professor Pertti Hakonen: Quantum devices in topological matter: carbon nanotubes, graphene, and novel superfluids
    • ERC Proof of Concept
  • Professor Olli Ikkala:
    Biomimetics for Functions and Responses
    Field driven materials
  • Academy Professor Jukka Pekola: Superconducting quantum heat engines and refrigerators
  • Academy Professor Päivi Törmä: Condensation in designed systems
  • Professor, emeritus Grigory Volovik: From Topological Matter to Relativistic Quantum Vacuum

ERC Consolidator Grant funding

  • Senior scientist Mikko Möttönen: Quantum Environment Engineering for Steered Systems
  • Assistant Professor Robin Ras: Superslippery Liquid-Repellent Surfaces

  • Professor Mika Sillanpää: Cavity quantum phonon dynamics

ERC Starting Grant funding

  • Professor Sebastiaan van Dijken: Electric-Field Control of Magnetic Domain Wall Motion and Fast Magnetic Switching: Magnetoelectrics at Micro, Nano, and Atomic Length Scale
  • Professor Peter Liljeroth: Atomically precise nanoelectronic materials
  • Senior scientist Mikko Möttönen: Single-Photon Microwave Devices: era of quantum optics outside cavities
    • ERC Proof of Concept

Completed ERC-projects

  • Professor Sebastiaan van Dijken: ERC Proof of Concept
  • Senior Scientist Tero Heikkilä: Mesoscopic heattronics: thermal and nonequilibrium effects and fluctuations in nanoelectronics
  • Professor Mika Sillanpää: Electromechanical quantum coherent systems

Page content by: communications-phys [at] aalto [dot] fi (Department of Physics) | Last updated: 24.04.2017.