Meet the Team

We at Vaasa have established ourselves in the Nordic region as domain experts in space-based research with a diverse team of specialists ranging from engineering, advanced analytics, innovation ecosystem development and business applications. We hold expertise in GNSS, satellite remote sensing as well as small satellite communication with applications. 

Our domain experts are interested in leveraging the potential of space in supporting the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). See how our experts are contributing to SDG targets. 

Heidi Kuusniemi
Professor, Director of Digital Economy Platform
Domain Expertise: Autonomous Transport, Cybersecurity, IoT, Geospatial Data, Positioning, Sensors
Researcher’s contributions to SDGs:

Arto Ojala
Professor in International Business
Domain Expertise: Space Business, Space Entrepreneurship, Space Business Models and Ecosystems
Researcher’s contributions to SDGs:

Johanna Haveri
Project Manager, Aurora Space
Domain Expertise: Communications, Community Engagement, Journalism, Entrepreneurship
Researcher’s contributions to SDGs:

Elina Huculak
Project Manager, ORBIT & ESA BIC Finland
Domain Expertise: Cross-domain Sustainability, Business Development, Green Transition, Applications of Downstream Satellite Data in Sustainable Development
Researcher’s contributions to SDGs:

About

Research-wise, I am passionate about matters of green transition, addressing social & spatial imbalances, and fostering sustainable progress at the regional level.

Currently, my research in facilitating an equitable green transition, contributes to SDG 10 by uncovering power dynamics and inequalities in the regional development surrounding the green transition, SDG 11 by facilitating knowledge sharing between stakeholders, indigenous communities, policymakers, and industry in a way that promotes job-creation without hindering indigenous land rights and straining natural resources. Furthermore, my research contributes to SDG 13 by achieving carbon neutrality targets and SDG 15 by establishing further protected areas to safeguard biodiversity and indigenous livelihoods with the support of downstream satellite data.

 

Jaakko Yliaho
Laboratory Engineer, Ph.D. Student
Domain Expertise: Space-based Opportunistic Positioning
Researcher’s contributions to SDGs:

Riccardo Notarangelo
Project Researcher 
Domain Expertise: Green Logistics, Gender Equality, New Space Economy, Satellite Technology
Researcher’s contributions to SDGs:

About

I am a PhD student in Green Logistics and an employee in innovation and entrepreneurship at the University of Vaasa. My employment is funded through projects related to customizable education in Europe.

Through my job as a project researcher within the projects that fund my I implicitly contribute to the fourth SDG, where I research and encourage Quality Education for all. Within these projects we also have strong emphasis on gender equality, on the entire spectrum of gender. This is linked to the gender equality SDG.

There is an argument to be made for SDG 8, where my job actively contributes to the startup ecosystem in Vaasa and beyond. Entrepreneurship and Startup is one of many ways for countries to employ people and benefit from economic growth.

Through my entire job and research, I exemplify the partnership mindset required to tackle the SDGs. For example, my PhD in Green Logistics is inherently transdisciplinary through the implementation of recent progress in satellite technology. Additionally, as an employee of the University of Vaasa, I do a lot of pro bono work across departments, including my involvement in the ORBIT Project, which has been entirely pro bono. This mindset of being willing to contribute without a clear reward is one of the ways that I believe can strengthen the ways in which partnerships for the goals are applied. Where the willingness and understanding that the project will have an impact outweighs the fact that the project is outside of my scope of “usual” work.

 

 

Philipp Holtkamp
Senior Specialist, Innovation Office
Domain Expertise: Business Model Creation, Venture Building, Service Design
Researcher’s contributions to SDGs:

Mahmoud Elsanhoury
 Project Researcher
Domain Expertise: Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellites’ Positioning Methodologies from opportunistic perspectives
Researcher’s contributions to SDGs:

About

My current satellite-based technology research aims at providing reliable positioning solutions for location-aware applications and navigation services, with a special focus on signal denied environments e.g. urban canyons and underground tunnels. With respect to SDG, I think that my research is best supporting the following goals: SDG-8 decent work and economic growth, SDG-9 industry innovation and infrastructure, SDG-11 sustainable cities and communities, and SDG-15 life on land.

Jyri Nieminen
Programmer
Domain Expertise: Software engineering
Researcher’s contributions to SDGs:

Petri Välisuo
Associate Professor 
Domain Expertise: Renewable Energy, Embedded Systems, Telecommunications, Software Engineering, Programming
Researcher’s contributions to SDGs:

Kannan Selvan
Project Researcher, Ph.D. Student
Domain Expertise: LEO Satellite Positioning Algorithm Development, Satellite Communcation and Ground Station Systems, Machine Learning, Remote Sensing Data Analysis
Researcher’s contribution to SDGs:

About

My research on LEO satellite positioning will help various satellite missions in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With numerous applications tending to rely on LEO satellites equipped with different sensors and payloads, it is essential to accurately determine the position of the satellites. This will help in the smooth generation of reliable, valuable, and accurate data that provide us with a better knowledge and understanding of the Earth. In addition to the LEO satellites and GNSS, satellite telecommunication contributes to several SDGs. Research on satellite communication will help in relaying signals to and from one or multiple locations. It offers more cost-effective services, especially for broadcasting and providing services to remote communities. Thus, research on LEO satellite positioning and satellite communication can play a major role in supporting the achievement of the SDGs.

Cem Özcan
Software Engineer, Ph.D. Student
Domain Expertise: Remote Sensing, Machine Learning, Database Generation, Mapping
Researcher’s contributions to SDGs:

Rathan Alagirisamy
Project Coordinator
Domain Expertise: Business Planning, Funding, Management, Project Coordination, Space-Industry Connection Facilitator
Researcher’s contributions to SDGs:

 

Akpojoto Siemuri
Project Researcher, Ph.D. Student
Domain Expertise: Algorithm Developer, Satellite Navigation Engineer, Data Scientist
Researcher’s contributions to SDGs:

About

My research contributes the greatest to Sustainable Development Goal 11: Sustainable Cities & Communities

Space technologies are utilized for:

    1. Urban planning, to pinpoint structures and reference points for cadastral and urban planning purposes
    2. Smart Cities, through the application of Global Navigation Satellite Systems, Earth Observation and Satellite Telecommunications
    3. Improvement of city services, such as smart waste management systems
    4. Air quality monitoring
    5. Disaster management
    6. Infrastructure monitoring
    7. Search and rescue operations

 

Kendall Rutledge
Research Program Manager for Space, Digital Economy Platform
Domain Expertise: Climate Change Statistical Summaries, Statistical Modelling and Summaries, Urban Environmental Characterization, Distributed Energy System Modelling
Researcher’s contributions to SDGs:

  

Jari Ratilainen
Project Manager, ORBIT & ESA BIC Finland
Domain Expertise: Business Designer, Incubator Manager
Researcher’s contributions to SDGs:

 

Mikko Punnala
Doctoral Researcher in Space Economy 
Domain Expertise: Specializing in the New Space Economy, Defense and Military Applications, Space Business, and Satellite Technology
Researcher’s contributions to SDGs:

Mikko Ranta
Associate Professor
Domain Expertise: Data Analytics, Digitalization, Machine-learning
Researcher’s contributions to SDGs:

 

Shakila Bu-Pasha
Project Manager
Domain Expertise: Data Protection Law, Space Law
Researcher’s contributions to SDGs:

 

Lucca Ferranti
Doctoral Researcher
Domain Expertise: Computational methods for efficient and reliable positioning
Researcher’s contributions to SDGs:

 

Eldrige Melo
Doctoral Researcher
Domain Expertise: Space Business, Earth Observation, Telecommunications, Project Management, Product Management, Business Development
Researcher’s contributions to SDGs:

About

My research on the internationalization of space business is focused on innovative business models and go-to-market strategies for satellite-based earth observation. The research will contribute to SDGs 6, 9, 11, 13, 15 and 17. Earth Observation applications directly and indirectly support the Sustainable Development Goals across various sectors. Satellite-based EO products and services are utilized for:

1. Agriculture & Forestry
2. Rural and Urban Planning
3. Security
4. Environment
5. Infrastructure & Utilities
6. Insurance & Finance

 

Rakibul Hasan
Doctoral Researcher in International Business
Domain Expertise: Managing Artificial Intelligence (AI), Firm Internationalization, Sustainable Production and Consumption
Researcher’s contributions to SDGs: