Dean’s Circle – perspectives on sustainable development


Stakeholders, alumni, researchers and students were brought together by the themes of social responsibility and sustainable development.

The Aalto University School of Engineering held a stakeholder event at the Harald Herlin Learning Centre on the sustainable consumption of natural resources. The event also featured the presentation of the School of Engineering Alumnus of the Year 2016, energy executive Mika Anttonen.


Anttonen was also the event’s keynote speaker. In his speech, he emphasised that the co-operation between universities and industry holds the key to bringing Finland to the forefront in the international field of sustainable development. “A great number of problems remain unsolved, but in the end, it is essential that we find solutions for storing electrical energy and sustainable alternatives for petroleum, especially in air traffic.”

“The most effective tool for curbing climate change is to improve the status of women in developing countries”, Anttonen said. “We must also change our own lifestyles and consumption habits”, he added.

“My message to young people is that by studying maths, working hard and taking advantage of  technology, we can find solutions to our problems and save the world”, Anttonen stated. “Do not be afraid of risks. If risks aren’t taken, nothing ever happens.”

Professor Olli Varis gave a presentation on the global and local significance of water and water resources as well as their connection to climate change, the economy, energy production, agriculture and human welfare.

Professor Jaana Sorvari discussed the theme of waste as raw material in her presentation.

Stands exhibiting research and student projects also attracted a lot of interest and sparked lively conversation.


Postdoctoral Researchers Anna Mikola and Surendra Pradhan presented nutrion, especially nitrogen and phosphorus, harvesting technology from waste waters.


Emma-Sofie Kukkola (left) and Jymy Parhiala are members of a multidisciplinary student group that designed Nanomaji, a water filter that fits the kinds of water canisters commonly used in Tanzania, among other places.


Water resources were also a theme in the buffet, where every dish was marked with the amount of water needed to produce them. These calculations were made by Mika Jalava, a doctoral student with the Water and Environmental Engineering Group.