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Tampere Congress Ambassadors

Tampere Ambassadors

Pertti Alasuutari, Academy Professor, Tampere University

Tell us briefly about your research topics and international work.

For the last twenty years or so, I have studied how political models spread around the world much in the same way as fashion does. On the one hand, this creates a great opportunity, because in today’s world, global solutions to global problems can only be based on governments adopting similar solutions voluntarily, as we do not have any kind of world government. On the other hand, global fashions do not often constitute the most sensible way to organise society, nor are they backed by scientific evidence.

Based on your vast experience, what makes Tampere an especially good location for international conferences?

According to most conference goers, the best thing about Tampere is that you can get almost everywhere on foot. Tampere is a large enough city, whilst remaining compact.

How would you describe Tampere as a city? What makes it special?

The fact that the city centre of Tampere is situated between two lakes makes it a sight to behold.


Tampere Ambassadors

Atanas Gotchev, Professor of Signal Processing, Tampere University

Tell us briefly about your research topics and international work.

My research interests are in the fields of 3D and light field imaging. This includes methods for sensing 3D visual scenes, their formal representation and processing and then recreation through immersive displays. I coordinate two European programmes: ImmerSAFE and Plenoptima dedicated to training doctoral students in Immersive and Plenoptic Imaging. I am also Senior Associated Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Image Processing (one of the top scientific journals on Imaging) and of the Journal of Electronic Imaging. I am member of the IEEE Signal Processing Society Technical Committee on Multimedia Signal Processing and I am the General Chair of the corresponding international workshop (the 23rd IEEE Int. Workshop on Multimedia Signal Processing (IEEE MMSP 2021). I am also in the organizing committee of the IS&T's Electronic Imaging Symposium, chairing one of its conferences: Image Processing Algorithms and Systems.

Based on your vast experience, what makes Tampere an especially good location for international conferences?

Excellent and versatile congress facilities, e.g. in Tampere Hall. Wide selection of accommodation options: from top hotels to cosy AirBnB apartments. Hospitality of local people (honest and genuine). Wide spectrum of social activities: from high-class restaurants to lakes, saunas and year-around sport possibilities.

How would you describe Tampere as a city? What makes it special?

Proper scale. Everything is easily reachable, usually at walking distance. Close to nature. One can experience the urban life with cosy cafeterias and cultural events, then easily walk and find lakes, hiking and skiing tracks, berries, etc. Efficient: public transportation, health and other services simply work. I've already mentioned the hospitality of local people, it is this kind of Finnish attitute to not (artificially) exaggerating closeness but be open, friendly and polite.


Tampere Ambassadors

Kalevi Huhtala, Professor of Hydraulic Engineering, Tampere University

Tell us briefly about your research topics and international work.

My research is focused on mobile machinery, such as forestry or mining equipment. Above all, I focus on hydraulics and automation in these machines. We organise an international conference on the subject every four years. The field has internationally agreed to spread out the conferences so that one or two significant events are held every year. This will enable a smooth chain of international events and activities. I am part of the Global Fluid Power Society (GFPS), which is an institution for universities, but also companies, in the field. The society awards a prize for the best paper at a conference.

Based on your vast experience, what makes Tampere an especially good location for international conferences?

Tampere is a safe city for conferences. We have held our own conferences at Tampere Hall, and the event has always received plenty of praise, from visitors and organisers alike.

How would you describe Tampere as a city? What makes it special?

Everything is within walking distance in Tampere, and the general appearance of the city is stunning.


Tampere Ambassadors

Howy Jacobs, Professor of Molecular Biology, Tampere University

Tell us briefly about your research topics and international work.

The life sciences are inherently international. Recruitment across national boundaries of postgraduate students, postdoctoral scientists and academics at all levels is common. We regularly meet in both specialized and broad congresses all over the world, and joint projects and co-publications with labs in other countries abound. My own research profile is no exception. I study mitochondria, the cell's combined power-generating and recycling plants, and the medical consequences of failure in this system. This results not only in so-called mitochondrial disorders, but is also behind many common afflictions; so an important long-term goal is to develop effective treatments for all of the diseases where mitochondrial dysfunction is the common thread. During my career I have led or been part of many international collaborations and consortia; in 2004 we were awarded the EU's Descartes Prize for these endeavours. Since 2001 I have been a member of EMBO, Europe's life sciences academy, through which I have been centrally involved in the organization of many international colloquia and workshops.

Based on your vast experience, what makes Tampere an especially good location for international conferences?

Conveniently sized, with all services walkable, a vibrant cultural scene and fast connections via Helsinki airport to most European and global destinations, Tampere is an ideal location for international congresses. It contains the Nordic Region's premier, purpose-built conference venue, Tampere Hall. The facility can host events in the 100-2000+ audience range, with numerous breakout and networking options built into the fabric of the building. The adjacent university provides back-up spaces and specialized technical support. English is spoken everywhere and Tampere has a truly international feel, instilled by its large and diverse university community.

How would you describe Tampere as a city? What makes it special?

Tampere is a college town, where study, research and innovation, plus the industries tied to these endeavours, take pride of place. The city was founded on a narrow isthmus between two lakes, and grew to become a major manufacturing centre, its industries driven by hydro power. In the 21st century, heavy engineering has been replaced by high tech, driven by brain power. The city is young, brash and even a bit rebellious – as befits a place where new ideas are constantly tested and churned.


Tampere Ambassadors

Tiina Soini, Research Director at the School of Education, Tampere University

Tell us briefly about your research topics and international work.

I lead a research group that studies worthwhile and meaningful learning and its relationship to experienced wellbeing. We are particularly interested in the experiences of pupils, teachers, principals and school administrators in the changing educational environment. In recent years, we have studied the development of the school syllabus and the agency of teachers within that development, for instance. I work as part of several international networks where these matters are studied and considered, and different national practices and experiences are compared. At the moment, we are conducting an internationally collaborative research project on the experiences of teachers in the early stages of their career in Europe. We also handle questions regarding syllabus development in an extensive international network including experts from Europe as well as Canada and New Zealand, among others. I also edit the international Curriculum Journal and took part in organising the EARLI conference in Tampere in 2017, for example, which was attended by 2,200 international learning researchers.

Based on your vast experience, what makes Tampere an especially good location for international conferences?

Tampere provides an excellent framework for both conference work and other activities. Tampere boasts a large, multidisciplinary university, Tampere Hall, as well as an interesting history and vibrant urban culture. Tampere’s attitude towards organising scientific events has never been anything but supportive. The university’s guests are treated as guests of the city.

How would you describe Tampere as a city?

Tampere is of a suitable size, with plenty of options to choose from and its accessibility is good, since the city is simultaneously small and large. People coming from elsewhere often say that Tampere is uncomplicated, open and welcoming. Tampere is also a student city, and student culture is strongly visible in the city’s internationality, broad offering of culture, and night-life, to name but a few.


Tampere Ambassadors

Markku Sotarauta, Professor of Regional Development Studies, Tampere University

Tell us briefly about your research topics and international work.

My research focuses on the planned and unplanned development of cities and regions. I am particularly interested in leadership and institutional entrepreneurship in city and regional development. I have published almost two hundred scientific papers on these subjects; my newest books are the ‘Handbook on City and Regional Leadership’ (co-edited by Prof. Beer), published by Edward Elgar Publishing, and ‘Leadership and the City’, published by Routledge. I have directed either entire projects or Finland’s share of a project in ten international research projects. In addition, I have been a visiting professor at Newcastle University (UK) and have done long research periods in MIT. I have collaborated with researchers from Lund University and the University of Southern Australia for a particularly long time. In 2013, I was Academic Director of the Regional Studies Association (RSA) international conference in Tampere. I am Chairman of NoRSA (RSA’s Nordic Division), and a member of RSA’s research committee.

Based on your vast experience, what makes Tampere an especially good location for international conferences?

Tampere is an excellent conference city because all essential places are within walking distance of each other, cooperation is smooth with the people needed to organise a conference, and everything works well. If problems arise, they can be solved quickly and efficiently. Many regional scientists and economic geographers are interested in visiting a city whose transition went from industrial city to modern hub for technology.

How would you describe Tampere as a city? What makes it special?

Tampere is made special by its history, industrial traditions, nature, strong cultural offering, and successful athletes and clubs: and of course, Tampere University.


Tampere Ambassadors
Photo: Jonne Renvall

Kalle Vaismaa, Industry Professor of Digitalization in infrastructure, Tampere University

Tell us briefly about your research topics and international work.

My goal is to bring about a surge in infrastructure digitally and in terms of productivity. I have just started an extensive, three-year research programme named ProDigial in connection with this. It is publicly funded and has been ordered by ten Finnish cities including Tampere, in conjunction with the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency. The subject is of great international interest. In the research programme, we will benchmark the best international practices and keep in touch with international research centres. Special focus will be on the Nordic countries, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and Estonia. My background is in transport. Before this, I completed four extensive research projects on developing sustainable urban transport. In connection to these, I have benchmarked forty European cities by interviewing experts and observing the best practices, and given presentations regarding digitalisation and sustainable urban transport at several international conferences. In addition to this, I played a small role in organising the InfraBIM Open 2020 and ICoMaaS 2019 conferences in Tampere, both held at Tampere Hall.

Based on your vast experience, what makes Tampere an especially good location for international conferences?

First of all, Tampere is a beautiful city, which is one part of its attraction. As I said, I have benchmarked forty European cities and of those, only Belgium’s Gent can compete with Tampere for homeliness. Secondly, Tampere has convenient conference facilities near the railway station, as well as quality hotels. Thirdly, Tampere is accessible by plane, although this is something that I believe requires further investment: Tampere airport should not function as just another gate of Helsinki airport). Moreover, there are plenty of interesting things happening in Tampere, especially in my own field of infrastructure construction and transport development. For instance, Hiedanranta area, tramlines and smart transport pilots ae attracting lots of interest internationally.

How would you describe Tampere as a city? What makes it special?

In addition to the above, let us take note that the people in Tampere are partcularly friendly and hospitable. International guests will always be treated well in Tampere.