The Aalto Formula

Kristiina Kruus is inspired by a technology of hope - and chose nine as her number

In this series, we interview people on the Aalto campus about the elements of our impact: what makes Aaltonians tick and what number would best describe Aalto's impact. The series begins with Kristiina Kruus, dean of the School of Chemical Engineering, who admires the wisdom of Aalto’s students and appreciates the lively campus - and sometimes misses her days as a researcher.

"I studied plant design, industrial economics and biotechnology at Aalto's predecessor, Helsinki University of Technology. I was already drawn towards research at an early stage of my career, and I ended up studying in New York state and later the Netherlands as a post-doc. After returning to Finland, I started working at VTT in Otaniemi. I had admired Aalto's positive vibe for a long time, so when the School of Chemical Engineering was looking for a dean, I decided to apply for the position.

This is my fourth year as dean. Giving up my job as a researcher was a bit painful – I still miss it sometimes. I’m motivated by the many ways our work affects things and advances them. The best thing about my job is the people: colleagues who are smart, creative and enthusiastic about their work. One of our greatest tasks and accomplishments is training future talent. Our students are wonderful young people, and after they graduating, they’ll be the ones dealing with grand challenges, from climate change to material sufficiency. Our task is to provide them with a modern, high-quality education. I have a lot of faith in this community.

A view of the future

We cooperate closely and productively with companies, which gives us a view of the future of the Finnish chemical, forestry and metal industries. We share many of the goals of our partner companies, and they are extremely interested in the skills of our students. They need the talent we’re developing.

I get thrilled about our inventions and publications on weekly basis. At the moment, what excites me most in research is the revolution in the raw material base. Chemistry plays an essential role in that. Instead of releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, we can capture it and turn it into things like fuel or a protein-rich cell mass using the energy from green hydrogen. We can also develop materials that improve the efficiency of hydrogen electrolysis. This is truly a technology of hope that could change how the world looks in 10 or 20 years.

I would give us a 9 when scoring the overall success of Aalto and our school. We are an inspiring place to study. With a degree from Aalto, you’ll have career opportunities in Finland and abroad. A full 10 would be too much, because we cannot be lured into thinking that there’s no room for improvement. There always is."

Kristiina Kruus, Dean of the School of Chemical Engineering at Aalto University.

Kristiina Kruus portaikossa
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