Annual Report 2021: HIIT Organisational Structure

The Board of HIIT, nominated by the host universities for a 4-year period at a time, decides on HIIT’s overall research strategy and research programmes. The Scientific Advisory Board provides scientific guidance and criticism for the Board a few times per decade. The Director, Vice Directors and the Programme Directors constitute the Steering Group responsible for inter-programme coordination and planning. The main instruments of HIIT are ambitious research programmes that bring together several research groups with different expertise. From 2021, the research programmes are replaced by Focus Areas focusing the strategic recruitment activities (see Section on Funded Researchers). The board proposed in their third meeting of the year a new Focus Area, Foundations of Computing, be added to the previous four Focus Areas to support the wide scope of Helsinki ICT research. In addition to these, HIIT is coordinating a lot of activities that support the Helsinki ICT community as a whole through the instruments Community Support, Distinguished Lecture Series, and Doctoral Education.

The organisation chart of HIIT in 2021.

At Aalto University, HIIT is administratively supported by the Department of Computer Science and the associated service personnel. Similarly, at the University of Helsinki the administration is handled together with the Department of Computer Science. However, the activities of HIIT span much wider beyond these departments, and HIIT actively supports the Helsinki ICT community as a whole (see the Community Support programme). In research, the activities of HIIT focus on supporting cross-cutting, grand-challenge type research programmes that involve people from not only the CS departments of the two host universities, but also researchers from the SPA and COMNET departments of the Aalto School of Electrical Engineering, and at the University of Helsinki people from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, the Helsinki Institute of Life Science and the Helsinki Centre for Digital Humanities. People participating in the research programmes have a double affiliation in the sense that they are first employed by one of the departments of the host universities, and they can then additionally participate in the wide research programmes of HIIT. In administration, the key people supporting HIIT activities were Alan Medlar (coordinator of HIIT), Saara Halmetoja (coordinator of HIIT, July 2021 to September 2021), Christina Sirviö (coordinator of HIIT and HICT network, see Doctoral Education, from November 2021), Mia Paju (communications specialist until July 2021), Jarmo Välikangas (industrial collaboration support until December 2021), Kaisa Pekkala (coordinator of FCAI), Hilu Kangas-Ranta (coordinator of HiDATA until October 2021) and Aija Kukkala (coordinator of the HICT network, see Doctoral Education, until November 2021)