Meet the team!

Laura Ruotsalainen

Principal Investigator (PI) and Consortium Leader

Dr. Laura Ruotsalainen is an Associate Professor of Spatiotemporal Data Analysis for Sustainability Science at the Department of Computer Science at the University of Helsinki, Finland. Her research interests include machine learning and estimation methods for navigation and situational awareness using computer vision, Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) and sensor fusion. The research of the Spatiotemporal Data Analysis research group, lead by Dr Ruotsalainen, aims to create methods enabling the development of sustainable smart cities, especially via autonomous systems.

Her Associate Professor position is a bridge between two scientific networks: HiDATA and Helsus. 

Leena Järvi


Leena Järvi (PhD) is an Associate professor in Applied Urban Meteorology and leads the urban meteorology group. Her research expertise lies in urban meteorology, climate and their interaction with air quality using state-of-the-art observations and modelling at different urban scales. She has expertise in urban eddy covariance measurements of variety of compounds and how to reduce their uncertainties, urban land surface modelling and urban LES. She is PI of the two eddy covariance stations located in Helsinki, with one of them being the ICOS Associated Ecosystem site. She has been developing the Surface Urban Energy and Water balance Scheme (SUEWS) and the parameterisations within. Currently her research interest lies in urban carbon storage, impact of meteorological conditions on local air quality distributions and how cities should be planned from the atmospheric perspective.

Sanna Ala-Mantila


Sanna Ala-Mantila is an Assistant Professor of sustainable urban systems at the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences. Ala-Mantila’s research aims to understand how we can build and transform our cities and other urban systems into sustainable ones. She focuses on the ecological and social aspects of sustainability, and their possible inter-relations.

Sanna Ala-Mantila’s expertise is with quantitative data analysis methods and GIS-data. She wants to find out how cities can systematically utilize all available data sources when dealing with local and global sustainability challenges. Different city-level sustainability actions need to be rigorously analyzed and the most effective ones identified, finally making sure positive developments continue – a critical path that most of the current real-world sustainability projects tend to ignore.

Joanne Demmler

Joanne is a postdoctoral researcher in the Sustainable Urban Systems research group. Her background is in Engineering and Physical Geography. During her PhD she modelled spatio-temporal climate data using time-series analysis. She subsequently worked as a data analyst in Population Health Science and as a lecturer in Health Data Science. Joanne has a strong background in quantitative research methods, data-linkage of large datasets and working with large databases. She has previously worked on the WECC project looking at health and educational outcomes in children as well as other health-related e-cohort studies.

Nahid Atashi

Nahid Atashi (PhD) works as postdoctoral researcher at the CousCous project. She will focus on applying high-resolution air quality simulations in planned city boulevards in Helsinki using large eddy-simulation modelling (LES). She is interested in understanding air quality in different levels in the urban environments and conducting atmospheric sciences to provide urban planning solutions in order to improve the local air quality.

Ákos Gosztonyi

Ákos is a doctoral candidate in DENVI (The Doctoral Programme in Interdisciplinary Environmental Sciences) and part of the Sustainable Urban Systems research group. He holds an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master’s Degree in Development Studies from France, Italy and Czechia. His research interests include environmental justice in the built environment, environmental gentrification, affordable housing, and energy and transport poverty research. Prior to joining the group, he worked as the Policy and Advocacy Manager of Habitat for Humanity Hungary, a national branch of an international NGO advocating for decent housing for all, and he also gained experience working at the European Parliament in Brussels and Strasbourg. Ákos is also a member of the ENGAGER-Cost Research Network focusing on energy poverty. He is keen to provide policy-relevant research and work together with policymakers as well.

Matti Leinonen

Matti Leinonen started as a PhD student at the department of computer in 2021. He completed both his bachelor and master studies in computer science at the University of Helsinki, focusing on algorithms and data analysis. In the CouSCOUS project he is developing deep learning methods for traffic flow prediction and creating simulations for sustainable urban planning and development.