Our People

Scientific Leadership

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Tekla Tammelin

Research Professor

FinnCERES Scientific PI

VTT

Contact via email

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Monika Österberg

Professor

FinnCERES Scientific PI

Aalto University

Contact via email

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Orlando Rojas

Professor

FinnCERES International Advisor

Aalto University / University of British Columbia

Contact via email

Flagship Managers

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Jukka Hassinen

Flagship Manager

D.Sc. (Tech.)

Aalto University

Contact via email

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Stina Grönqvist

Flagship Manager

D.Sc. (Tech.)

VTT

Contact via email

Academic Coordination
Young Talents Operation

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Joanna Witos

Academic Coordinator

Ph.D.

Aalto University

Contact via email

Communications

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Nina Pulkkis

Head of Communications

Fotoni Film & Communication

Contact via email 

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Alina Ruonala-Lindgren

Co-creation Manager

M.Sc. (Tech)

VTT

Contact via email

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Elli Käpylä

Corporate Relations Manager

D.Sc. (Tech)

Aalto University

Contact via email

Official representatives of the host organizations

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Ossi Naukkarinen

Vice President Research

FinnCERES PI

Aalto University

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Tiina Nakari-Setälä

Head of Business Development

FinnCERES PI

VTT

 
 

Steering Group

 

FinnCERES Steering Group is the main decision-making body in the Flagship.

Steering Group is responsible for specifying the strategic objectives and the operation strategy of the Flagship.

In addition, it supervises the implementation of the Flagship by evaluating and ensuring the focus of research activities.

The Steering Group of FinnCERES consists of eight members:

 

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Dean Kristiina Kruus
Aalto

Kristiina Kruus works as the Dean in the School of Chemical Engineering at Aalto University.  She obtained her doctoral degree from Helsinki University of Technology, Department of Chemical Engineering. Most of her scientific work is related to enzymatic modification and degradation of plant biomass. Kristiina Kruus has published more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers and book chapters. During 1997-2018, she worked at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland in different positions, the last eight years as Research Professor in the area of applied enzymology of renewable biomasses.  She is a member of the Academy of Finland Research Council of Biosciences Health and the Environment (2016-) and a docent at the University of Helsinki, Faculty of Forestry and Agriculture.

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Vice President Atte Virtanen
VTT

Atte Virtanen is responsible for the leadership of Biomaterial processes and products research area focusing on the development of resource efficient and cost competitive process and product concepts based on renewable raw materials. Atte Virtanen´s strengths are in evaluating business opportunities, scouting new technologies and businesses, and bringing innovative value-added solutions to the market. He has succeeded in highly complicated strategic development projects in the Netherlands, Italy and Finland and has built valuable networks in Europe.

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Head of Business Development Tiina Nakari-Setälä
VTT

Tiina Nakari-Setälä has made an extensive career at VTT in many different positions that have provided her an excellent perspective and expertise on R&D&I. She is particularly interested in developing research strategies and commercializing research results into tangible solutions to meet market and customer needs through technology transfer, licensing and spinoffs. Research and business in bio-based value chains and circular economy are close to her heart.

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Vice President of Innovation Janne Laine
Aalto

Janne Laine has diverse leadership experience from holding various positions at Aalto University – he has served as Dean of the School of Chemical Engineering and as Head and Vice Head of Forest Products Technology, and as Professor of Forest Products Chemistry. Laine holds a number of national and international positions of trust. At Aalto, he has built programmes on industrial collaboration, entrepreneurship and multidisciplinary research, and has been responsible for commercializing Ioncell™ and AaltoCell™ technologies. Tens of patents and several startup companies have emerged from projects under his leadership.

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Executive Vice President Jussi Manninen
VTT

Jussi Manninen has diverse experience in management of strategic research and development programmes as well as whole research organizations. He focuses on building research collaboration networks and on technology transfer to industry. His main expertise covers bioeconomy and resource-efficient processes as well as process simulation and optimization.

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Professor Olli Ikkala
Aalto

Professor Ikkala heads the Molecular Materials laboratory in the Department of Applied Physics at Aalto University and the Centre of Excellence in Molecular Engineering of Biosynthetic Hybrid Materials Research (HYBER) of the Academy of Finland. His research interests involve developing functional materials based on hierarchical self-assemblies, biomimetics, and materials originating from nature, such as nanocellulose.

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Research Professor Tekla Tammelin
VTT

Research Professor Tammelin’s research draws on the inherent features of cell wall systems: their components and functions. The prime target is the generation of new knowledge of lignocellulose-based materials and their behaviour to pave the way toward novel biomaterial solutions.

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Professor Monika Österberg
Aalto

Professor Österberg's research interests are fundamental interfacial phenomena of forest biomaterials, such as lignin, cellulose and hemicelluloses, and the development of new sustainable materials from these polymers. She is especially interested in spherical lignin nanoparticles, hydrogels and direct surface force measurements.

 
 

Executive Team

 

The practical management of FinnCERES is carried out by the Executive Team.

The Executive Team is responsible for following the progress and ensuring the focus of research projects in the Flagship.

It is also responsible for preparing recommendations to aid decision making in the Steering Group.

 

The Executive Team of FinnCERES consists of 13 members:

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Monika Österberg
Aalto

Professor Österberg's research interests are fundamental interfacial phenomena of forest biomaterials, such as lignin, cellulose and hemicelluloses, and the development of new sustainable materials from these polymers. She is especially interested in spherical lignin nanoparticles, hydrogels and direct surface force measurements.

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Tekla Tammelin
VTT

Research Professor Tammelin’s research draws on the inherent features of cell wall systems: its components and functions. The prime target is the generation of new knowledge of lignocellulose-based materials and their behaviour to pave the way towards novel biomaterial solutions.

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Eero Kontturi
Aalto

Professor Eero Kontturi’s research interests lie broadly within interfacial phenomena occurring in plant-based materials. This includes surface reactions (particularly gas-solid), adsorption-based approaches and fundamental analytics utilizing ultrathin films. The general aim is to develop new materials through a fundamental physico-chemical understanding of plant-based materials (especially cellulose).

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Kristian Salminen
VTT

Kristian Salminen, Lead, Bio-based products, has made an extensive career at VTT in many different positions that have provided her an excellent perspective and expertise on research and business development.

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Antti Karttunen
Aalto

Antti Karttunen is a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Materials Science at Aalto. His research is focused on materials modelling with quantum chemical methods, and in FinnCERES, he contributes to biomaterials modelling efforts. Quantum chemical biomaterials modelling can be used to study the electronic properties, spectroscopy and atomic-scale reactivity of various cellulose modifications

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Katariina Torvinen
VTT

Katariina Torvinen is the Research Manager of Biomass Processing and Products BA at VTT. A demonstrated history of working in the research industry and new bio-based products also at the pilot scale. Skilled in paper and board, R&D, biocomposites, nanocellulose, printed electronics, chemistry, materials science, and physics. Her current main responsibilities include developing relevant research strategies and a future portfolio with extensive interest in circular bio-economy and resource sufficiency.

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Jaana Vapaavuori
Aalto

Assistant Professor Jaana Vapaavuori leads the Multifunctional Materials Design group at Aalto, which focuses on experimental studies of soft materials, as well as inorganic-organic hybrids. Her current research involves studying bio-sourced polymer templates for solar energy conversion and manufacturing of hierarchically structured multifunctional materials and surfaces, for example.

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Hannes Orelma
VTT

D.Sc. (Tech) Hannes Orelma studies the behaviours of lignocellulose materials in a broad range of applications: from diagnostics to packages. He has a background in surface and colloid science of lignocellulose materials, and he does research actively: from academic-oriented fundamental science to industry-related application development.

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Joanna Witos
Aalto

Joanna Witos, PhD in analytical chemistry, works as FinnCERES Academic Coordinator at Aalto, focusing on developing the community of young researchers. She is actively involved in various day-to-day operations of FinnCERES including coordination of internationalization activities and event organization.

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Alina Ruonala-Lindgren
VTT

Alina Ruonala-Lindgren works as Co-Creation Manager at VTT, building partnerships with companies and other organizations via research and innovation ecosystems in the field of bio-based materials. She has a 20+ year history in the forest industry, where she has been in charge of managing strategic projects, including building a new vision for the whole sector.

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Elli Käpylä
Aalto

Elli Käpylä, D.Sc. (Tech.), works as a Corporate Relations Manager at Aalto, focusing on the partnerships of the FinnCERES Flagship. She is a biomaterials expert experienced in R&D, product development and partnership management. She is passionate about developing relationships between academics and industry to create new business opportunities.

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Jukka Hassinen
Aalto

Jukka Hassinen, D.Sc. (Tech.) in Applied Physics, has expertise in the preparation and advanced characterization of nanomaterials, and their applications in water purification and photonics. He is an organized, open-minded and adaptable project manager flavoured with a pinch of common sense.

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Stina Grönqvist
VTT

Stina Grönqvist, D.Sc. (Tech.) in Chemical Engineering, is the Research team leader of the Biorefining chemistry team focusing on Biomass fractionation, modification and valorization.   She is an IPMA Level C certified project manager with strong experience in project planning and management.

Theme Champions

FinnCERES has four research themes: Future Biorefineries, Clean Air and Water, Lignocellulosics Beyond Plastics, and Electronics, Optics and Energy Applications. The goal of the FinnCERES Theme Champions is to strengthen these themes to achieve the ambitious goals. Theme Champions support research PIs in developing the themes and connecting FinnCERES with industry.

FinnCERES has 9 Theme Champions:

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Tapani Vuorinen

Future Biorefiners
Aalto

Tapani Vuorinen is Professor of Wood Chemistry at Aalto University. His research group specializes in the chemistry and structure of wood, the mechanisms and kinetics of chemical reactions of wood components, and the use of vibrational spectroscopy in studying plant materials and their chemical reactions.

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Hanna Hörhammer

Future Biorefiners
VTT

D.Sc. (Tech.) Hanna Hörhammer works with biomass fractionation and purification. She has expertise on biomass utilization, biorefinery processes and bioproducts. She has experience of working with different types of lignocellulosic biomass and variety of processing technologies, with background in chemical pulping and bleaching. Her interest is in efficient and smart use of biomass resources, and she wants to contribute to the sustainable circular bioeconomy.

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Tomi Laurila

Clear Air and Water
Aalto

Tomi Laurila is Associate Professor in the field of Microsystem technology at Aalto University. His groups research is focused on the synthesis and electrochemical properties of carbon nanomaterials as well as their use in biosensing. The group is especially interested in finding connections between the atomic level and macroscopic properties through a tight combination of experiments and multilevel simulations.

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Alexey Khakalo

Clear Air and Water
VTT

D.Sc. (Tech.) Alexey Khakalo studies renewable materials engineering with an interest in sustainable product development with advanced functions. His specialties are in the area of biomaterials, biocomposites, surface chemistry, lignocellulose materials, packaging, and advanced materials.

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Ali Tehnari

Lignocellulosics Beyond Plastics
Aalto

Ali Tehrani is Associate Professor in Textile Chemistry at Aalto University. He has an educational background in both textile chemical engineering and applied surface chemistry. Most of his research projects focus on the textile chemistry, applied surfactants, polymer composites, and electrospun membranes. 

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Hannes Orelma

Lignocellulosics Beyond Plastics
VTT

D.Sc. (Tech) Hannes Orelma studies the behaviours of lignocellulose materials in a broad range of applications: from diagnostics to packages. He has a background in surface and colloid science of lignocellulose materials, and he does research actively: from academic-oriented fundamental science to industry-related application development.

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Jaana Vapaavuori

Electronics, Optics and Energy Applications
Aalto

Assistant Professor Jaana Vapaavuori leads the Multifunctional Materials Design group at Aalto, which focuses on experimental studies of soft materials, as well as inorganic-organic hybrids. Her current research involves studying bio-sourced polymer templates for solar energy conversion and manufacturing of hierarchically structured multifunctional materials and surfaces, for example.

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Tanja Kallio

Electronics, Optics and Energy Applications
Aalto

Tanja Kallio is Associate Professor in Physical Chemistry and Electrochemistry at Aalto University. Her research focuses on electrochemical energy conversion materials and devices. In her research group, electrocatalysts and electrode materials for efficient and sustainable electrochemical energy conversion and storage are investigated and developed. The core theme is reduction of the utilization of non-earth-abundant-elements without sacrificing the electrochemical device performance. As an alternative approach, strategies to increase the lifetime of the critical active materials is studied.

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Jouni Ahopelto

Electronics, Optics and Energy Applications
VTT

Research Professor Jouni Ahopelto’s interests include nanoelectronics, photonics, phononics, topologically protected structures and nanofabrication. One of the recent topics is investigation of cellulosic materials using semiconductor picture, which can reveal new aspects of these materials and lead to new applications.