Scientific Director Matti Pietikäinen, Doctoral Program Director Markku Juntti and
Coordinator Tapio Repo, Infotech Oulu
The principal goal of Infotech Oulu is to create an environment for the development of world-class research groups by promoting long-term research, researcher training, and international cooperation. An independent international panel evaluates the research groups that apply for membership of Infotech Oulu, using criteria similar to those used by the Academy of Finland. With such regular external evaluation and with our internal quality control, we can help our research groups succeed and give them the valuable Infotech label. Our new four year period started in 2010. We have five groups as full members, and three groups as associate members. An important part of our operations is the Infotech Oulu Doctoral Program, which supports all our goals by providing funding for doctoral student positions and for lectures given by international experts that visit our research groups.
The University of Oulu is currently experiencing organizational changes, especially with regard to doctoral studies. The University of Oulu will in the future have only one graduate school called the University of Oulu Graduate School (UniOGS). As part of transition on a national level, what used to be called graduate schools, like the former Infotech Oulu Graduate School, are now called doctoral programs. The Infotech Oulu Doctoral Program general meeting elected a new director, Professor Markku Juntti, starting in 2010. UniOGS will govern all doctoral programs and also the international master programs of University of Oulu in the future. This represents a relatively significant change, because the role of faculties and departments will diminish and the tasks of doctoral programs may increase. The Infotech Oulu Doctoral Program will naturally be involved in this process, and also actively contribute to this development. Our key target is to maintain and develop the best practices and the high quality of doctoral education within the Infotech Oulu Doctoral Program.
Infotech Oulu has achieved its best concrete results through the doctoral program. The present 25 student positions financed by the Ministry of Education and Culture are funded to the end of year 2013. In addition, an annual EUR 107 500 was granted by the Academy of Finland for courses and other costs for the same time period. The research student positions are vital for our researcher training. They represent almost one million Euros annually, and about one third of the external long term research funding of our research groups. The number of doctoral dissertations within Infotech has grown significantly during the last few years. In 2010, the output was 17 dissertations.
One of the principal goals of Infotech Oulu is to promote international collaboration. Most of our groups have already extensive collaboration with overseas partners. Both bilateral cooperation between research groups, and participation in EU or other international research programs are important. Infotech Oulu and its doctoral program have promoted international activities by providing financial support for organizing workshops, and arranging courses and lectures given by visiting experts. We have also sponsored researcher mobility. In 2010, Infotech Oulu research groups were awarded funding from the University of Oulu for three positions for recruiting international experts from abroad. The personnel of our research groups has become more international year by year. At the end of 2010, 21.2% of our whole staff and 27.8% of the doctoral students were from abroad.
Direct annual support from the University to Infotech Oulu was once again EUR 400 000 after a temporary increase in the previous year. The research groups faced remarkable financial difficulties resulting from the fact that almost all the research funding left from the previous years could no longer be used. However, our research is still highly ranked by the external funders. The total external annual research funding was about EUR 15.5 million. Our most significant funding source is Tekes (the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation). We have been pleased to notice that the greatest increase during the last few years has been with funding from the Academy of Finland, even if the year 2010 was not so good in that sense.
The scientific output has been continuously increasing, and many of our papers are frequently cited. A citation analysis we made shows that our most cited professors compare well to the Academy Professors and the Finnish Centre of Excellence leaders in the ICT area with the number of citations in papers published between 2003–2008. Starting from the beginning of 2010, two important positions were granted to our research group directors: Professor Heli Jantunen became one of the 11 members of the Research Council for Natural Sciences and Engineering in the Academy of Finland, Professor Olli Silvén was selected to be the Vice President (Provost for Education) of the University of Oulu. In addition, Professor Juha Kostamovaara continues as an Academy Professor.