Centre of Excellence in Smart Radios and Wireless Research


Centre of excellence

In 2001 the Academy of Finland appointed SMARAD with the name “Smart and Novel Radios Research Unit” as one of the centres of excellence in research for the period 2002–2007. In 2006 the Academy announced its decision that the renewed SMARAD (“Centre of Excellence in Smart Radios and Wireless Research”) was appointed a Centre of Excellence for years 2008–2013.

According to the Academy: “Centres of excellence are research units or researcher training units which comprise one or  more high-level research teams that are at or near the international cutting edge of research in their field. They will also share a common set of objectives and work under the same management. Funding for centres of excellence comes not only from the Academy, but also from the host organisations of the units concerned, and possibly from other funding bodies, such as Tekes, business enterprises and foundations. A centre of excellence may be a unit of research teams working at both universities and research institutes.”

There are altogether 41 Centres of Excellence: the Academy Board has appointed 23 centres of excellence for the national centre of excellence programme in 2006–2011 and 18 for the years 2008–2013. The current SMARAD was formed in 2006 by the Radio Laboratory, the Electronic Circuit Design Laboratory and the Signal Processing Laboratory of the Department of Electrical and Communications Engineering, Helsinki University of Technology (TKK). After the restructuring of the TKK organization, SMARAD involves research groups from three departments, namely the Department of Radio Science and Engineering, Department of Micro and Nanosciences, and Department of Signal Processing and Acoustics, all within the Faculty of Electronics, Communications and Automation (now Aalto University School of Electrical Engineering).

World-class research and education

Research facilities

SMARAD provides world-class research and  education in RF, microwave and millimeter wave engineering, in integrated circuit design for multi-standard radios as well as in wireless communications. In microwave and millimeter wave engineering it is also the only research unit in Finland. SMARAD is a contributor to MilliLab, ESA External Laboratory (a joint institute between VTT and TKK). The total number of employees within the research unit is about 100 including about 30 senior scientists and about 40 graduate students and several undergraduate students working on their Master thesis.

This unit has significantly evolved from the SMARAD CoE in research appointed for the years 2002–2007. In particular, one strong research group and two new professors have joined the unit and new research areas related to fast and low power electronic circuits, to system architectures and platforms for wireless applications, to THz and optical imaging, and to microwave nondestructive testing are included. Moreover, the research dealing with multiantenna communications and advanced transceiver structures is now expanded to communication theory, cognitive radio technologies, and cooperative communications including relay networks. More emphasis is put towards research into THz technology due to its high importance for instance in safety monitoring and characterization of materials. In the education sector, the participating faculty provides curricula in radio engineering, electronics and circuit design and signal processing for communications. The relevance of the unit to the Finnish society is very high considering the high national income from exports of telecommunications  and electronics products.

Wide co-operation

The unit conducts basic research but at the same time maintains close co-operation with industry. Novel ideas are applied in design of new communication circuits and platforms, transmission techniques and antenna structures. SMARAD has a well-established network of co-operating partners in industry, research institutes and academia worldwide. It coordinates a few EU projects. The funding sources of SMARAD are also diverse including the Academy of Finland, Tekes, and Finnish and foreign telecommunications and semiconductor industry. As a by-product of this research SMARAD provides highest-level education and supervision to graduate students in the areas of radio engineering, circuit design and communications through Aalto University and Finnish graduate schools such as GETA. 

Principal Investigators: 

  • Prof. Antti Räisänen, chairman: Millimeter wave techniques
  • Prof. Visa Koivunen, vice-chair: Communications and statistical signal processing
  • Prof. Kari Halonen: Electronic circuit design
  • Prof. Sergei Tretyakov: Artificial electromagnetic materials and smart structures
  • Prof. Pertti Vainikainen: RF applications in mobile communications and non-destructive testing (until 30th of June 2012)
  • Dr. Katsuyuki Haneda: RF applications in mobile communications and non-destructive testing (from 1st of July 2012)

Members of the the Scientific Advisory Board:

  • Prof. Danielle Vanhoenacker-Janvier, Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL), Belgium (2008 - )
  • Prof. Björn Ottersten, Royal Insitute of Technology Stockholm (KTH), Sweden (2008 - )
  • Professor Heli Jantunen, Oulu University (2009 - )
  • Dr. Kati Sulonen, Suomen Akatemia (2011 - )
  • Dr. Jani Ollikainen, Nokia Research Center (2011 - )
  • Dr. Ritva Dammert, Aalto University (2008 - )

Previous members:

  • Professor Jaakko Astola, Tampere University of Technology (2008)
  • Dr. Juha Latikka, Academy of Finland (2008)
  • Mr. Tuukka Lehtiniemi, Academy of Finland (2008 - 2010)
  • Dr. Hannu Kauppinen, Nokia Research Centre (2008 - 2010)
  • Professor, Vice-Rector Outi Krause, TKK/Aalto (2008 - 2010)
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