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Piia Sormunen joins Tampere University as industry professor

Published on 7.4.2020
Tampere University
Piia Sormunen
DTech Piia Sormunen has been appointed to a new industry professorship in building services engineering in the Faculty of Built Environment at Tampere University. Besides strengthening existing research and education in the Civil Engineering Unit, Piia Sormunen is committed to informing academia of current and emerging knowledge and skill gaps in industry.

The output of the construction sector continues to grow while the industry is undergoing a rapid digital transformation and facing a severe shortage of highly qualified professionals, especially researchers who specialise in building services engineering. The new industry professorship established at the Civil Engineering Unit in the Faculty of Built Environment will strengthen the University’s existing research and teaching activities and is welcome news for companies operating in the building maintenance and construction sectors.   

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to drum up interest in pursuing a doctoral degree in building services engineering as an interesting and worthwhile career step. Now students working towards a degree in building services engineering in universities and universities of applied sciences are being snatched up by the private sector even before graduation. Without doctoral students and new research, the building services sector will fall markedly behind other construction sectors, although it plays an important role in the overall context of our built environment and in the race to meet the low-carbon construction goals and contribute to climate change mitigation,” Piia Sormunen says.    

Piia Sormunen is joining Tampere University from her current role as director of Lean construction at Granlund Consulting Oy. Alongside her industry professorship, she will continue to hold a specialist role on a part-time basis at Granland Consulting Oy.

“I want to bring fresh ideas about real-life industry needs in the 2020s back to the drawing boards of academia. My new professorship will enable me to tap into my existing network of contacts in the corporate world and, of course, build new contacts, for example, with different organisations in the field,” Sormunen says.

The news of the professorship has been positively received within the building services sector.

“We need to place building services engineering on an equal footing with the other sectors of the construction industry. The need to increase student intake in the field has been a well-known fact for a long time,” says Ilkka Salo, CEO of the Finnish Building Services Industries and Trade (Talteka).

“The position of industry professor expands the breadth of expertise within the Civil Engineering Unit. With the introduction of the new professorship, our activities now finally cover all the key areas of construction. It is also an excellent example of the ongoing dialogue between our University and companies and will hopefully further strengthen our existing close ties with industry,” says Professor Matti Pentti, Head of the Civil Engineering Unit at Tampere University.  

A number of companies and organisations operating in the field of building services engineering have supported the establishment of the new industry professorship.

Industry Professor Piia Sormunen, tel.
+358 40 653 3118, piia.sormunen [at] ()

Professor Matti Pentti, tel. +358 40 535 2305, matti.pentti [at]
CEO Ilkka Salo, tel. +358 40 847 9907, ilkka.salo [at]