Jarkko Niiranen

Assistant Professor

Research units & titles

Artistic and research interests

I work as an Assistant Professor in Computational Structural Engineering at the Aalto University Department of Civil Engineering. However, I am currently on leave from the professorship since I work as an Academy Research Fellow funded by Academy of Finland. I was appointed as August-Wilhelm Scheer Visiting Professor at Technische Universität München (TUM) for May--August 2018, and accordingly Honorary Fellow of TUM Institute for Advanced Study (TUM-IAS).

I am proud to note -- in these days of hype and confusion -- that I work in a field in which digitalization started on large scale in the 1970s and 1980s via the software developments of the Finite Element Method (FEM) for which the seminal contributions of engineers and mathematicians date back to the 1950s and 1960s, having roots in the mathematical works of Hrennikoff and Courant in the 1940s. It should be emphasized that typically the focus of computational engineering is neither in organizing simple data in a digital form for data mining nor in brute force number crunching rather than in making computers to simulate, via physico-mathematical models and mathematical algorithms, the laws of nature for predicting the consequences of complex (chemico-physical) phenomena taking place in nature or in engineering artifacts -- phenomena that are most often impossible, or far too expensive, to implement in laboratory environments.

The theoretical focus of my research group is close to my personal research background in the crossroads of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics and Numerical Analysis with a focus on physico-mathematical models and numerical methods for the mechanics of solids and structures -- touching such classical fields as Computational Mechanics, Structural Mechanics, Mechanics of Materials and Computational Structural Engineering. My research team focuses on models and methods for mechanics of solids and structures, especially on finite element methods (FEM) and isogeometric analysis (IGA) for mechanics of thin structures, such as plates, shells and beams, combined with both classical and generalized continuum theories. Our activities range from continuum models and related numerical methods all the way down to programming, software issues and applications, such as structural analysis and design as well as integration of Computer-Aided Design / Building Information Modeling (CAD / BIM), Computer-Aided Engineering / Finite Element Analysis (CAE / FEA) and Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM). Most recently, I have been focusing on modeling lattice structures and metamaterials as well as the microstructure of 3D-printed metals.

The applicational focus of my research group is on small-scale research and teaching projects accomplished by multi-faceted Design+Analysis teams focusing on computational methodologies in structural engineering combined with parametric and algorithmic architecture and design. Our primary focus is now on isogeometric methods for thin-walled structures. New materials and digitalized production technologies will be essential side topics as well, with links to research groups of our site university working on complex materials and digital design methodologies, especially. Modeling materials with a microstructure is an important goal of our computational approach.

Altogether, we are interested in collaboration within both academic research topics and ambitious industrial applications in the aforementioned fields.


During my MSc studies and after the graduation, I worked as a Structural Analyst Trainee (KCI Konecranes VLC, 1995–1996) and then as a Structural Analysis Software Developer for a few years (Engineering Office FEMdata, 1997–2002), before starting my doctoral studies (Department of Mathematics, Helsinki University of Technology, 2002–2006).

After finishing my DSc Thesis, I have worked as an Assistant in Structural Mechanics (Department of Structural Engineering and Building Technology, Helsinki University of Technology, 2006–2008), Academy of Finland Post-doctoral Researcher (Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, Aalto University School of Engineering, 2009–2012), Teaching Researcher (2012–2013) and Visiting Post-doctoral Research Fellow (Institute for Applied Mathematics and Information Technologies, Pavia, National Research Council, Italy, 2012–2013).

I was appointed as an Assistant Professor in Computational Structural Engineering at the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, Aalto University School of Engineering, in March 2013, and soon after an Academy Research Fellow in May 2013.

Education/Academic qualification

  • Master of Science (Technology), Engineering Physics, Teknillinen korkeakoulu

  • Doctor of Science (Technology), Teknillinen korkeakoulu


  • Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, Computational structural engineering, Computational mechanics, Finite element methods, Thin structures, Generalized continuum mechanics, Isogeometric analysis, Mechanics of materials, Adaptive methods

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