Aalto University was established in 2010 following the merger of The Helsinki School of Economics, The University of Art and Design and The Helsinki University of Technology. The newly formed Aalto University now consists of six schools, which includes the Aalto School of Electrical Engineering (Aalto ELEC). Aalto university research strategy has a specific focus on high-impact research and internationalization, across several competence areas that include ICT and digitalization. In fact, the ICT and digitalization field represents 25–35% of the scientific publications and university education in this field in Finland. This forms the foundation for Aalto University to spearhead Finland’s drive towards digitizing many aspects of society – from new consumer services to media, entertainment, education, health care, retail, and several areas of industry. To that end, ICT research at Aalto University relates to both theory and practice, thus providing an excellent launch pad for interdisciplinary innovations. For instance, digitalization and social media are topics which may only be profoundly understood via multidisciplinary viewpoints combining arts, business, science and technology.

Department of Communications and Networking

The Department of Communications and Networking (COMNET) is the largest unit within Aalto ELEC and was established in 2008 on following the merger of two renowned laboratories, namely, the Networking Laboratory (founded in 1944) and the Communications Laboratory (founded in 1966. The COMNET department is a multi-disciplinary unit of research and higher education covering communications and networking technology, networking business and human aspects of communication and communications technology. With 10 professors and over 140 staff, COMNET is one of the largest academic units in Europe working in the communications and networking area. COMNET develops communications, information and teletraffic theory and conducts fundamental and applied experimental research in communications and networking technology, as well as business and user aspects of the technology and services. In shaping the mobile and Internet technology COMNET is a significant force internationally. It gives the highest level teaching in networking technology, traffic theory, networking business, communications and information theory and radio communications systems. COMNET has had a long history of internationalization in both research and education in Asia and North America, and these activities are also increasingly extending to Africa. Notable recent COMNET activities in Africa include: coordination of the HEI ICI ENhANCE (Enhancing Education and Research in Networking and Communications Engineering) project in a consortium with partner institutions from Tanzania (2013-2015); participation in the ALOIECO (Africa Local Innovation Ecosystems) project implemented in conjunction with VTT (2010-2011); and the leading role in the organizing committee of the flagship IEEE AFRICON 2015 conference in Addis Ababa in September 2015.