Millennium Distinction awarded to M-Files Oy and Aalto University Professor Sebastiaan van Dijken

Technology Academy Finland rewards big data experts operating in Finland.

Millennium Distinctions will be awarded to the information management company M-Files Oy and Sebastiaan van Dijken, professor of physics at Aalto University.

TAF awards the Millennium Distinction in alternate years with the actual Millennium Technology Prize. The distinction is granted to experts who operate in Finland and whose work is connected to the research field of the winners of the preceding Millennium Technology Prize. In 2014, the Millennium Technology Prize was awarded to Professor Stuart Parkin for the multiplication of data storage capacity, which, for its own part, enabled the creation of big data.

”With this year’s Millennium Distinctions, TAF wishes to pay tribute to the ground-breaking work carried out in Finland in the application field of the preceding Millennium Technology Prize winner”, says Juha Ylä-Jääski, Chairman of the Selection Committee and President and CEO of TAF. ”This year’s distinctions also highlight the increased internationality of the research and innovation work carried out in Finland. Professor van Dijken has an international researcher background and a long history of working in Finland, while the Finland-based M-Files Oy is a globally operating growth company.”

Global software company on a strong growth curve

M-Files founder and CTO Antti Nivala and CEO Miika Mäkitalo.
M-Files founder and CTO Antti Nivala and CEO Miika Mäkitalo believe in finding the right information in a wink.

In recent years, the Tampere-based M-Files has taken a strong international leap. Its information management solution is based on the utilisation of metadata, which means that information is classified based on its contents. The solution is different from the traditional folder-based information management systems. This allows users to adopt the system more easily and find their required information more quickly.

”M-Files does the same to stored data as iPhone did to listening to music”, says M-Files Chief Executive Officer Miika Mäkitalo. ”Finding up-to-date file versions and using them as a part of a business process is a broad issue that eats at productivity and quality in an organisation. Our vision at M-Files is to change the way the world manages data. The idea behind our company is simple: finding the right information in a wink.”

In the global market, M-Files competes with giants such as IBM and Microsoft. There has been a clear demand for the products: in four years’ time, the company’s turnover has more than tripled, now totalling nearly 22 million euros. At the same time, the number of employees has increased from fifty to nearly three hundred. More than two hundred of them work in Finland.

Research in nanomagnetism

Professor Sebastiaan van Dijken.
Professor Sebastiaan van Dijken.

Professor Sebastiaan van Dijken, a recipient of the Millennium Distinction, has worked on magnetism and spintronics related research since 2000. At that time, he was a member of Stuart Parkin’s research group at IBM’s Almaden Research Center where Parkin carried out his magnetism research that later earned him the Millennium Technology Prize. From IBM, van Dijken transferred to Trinity College in Dublin, and in 2007, to the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. In 2008, he started working at Aalto University.

In the field of spintronics, van Dijken is an internationally distinguished and widely cited researcher with more than a hundred scientific articles published. Among other merits, he is renowned for having developed materials whose magnetic properties can be adjusted by using electric fields. This innovation can be made use of when developing fast and energy-efficient memory circuits, for example.

At the Aalto University Department of Applied Physics, van Dijken leads the research group for magnetism and spintronics that focuses on electric-field control of magnetic properties in nanoscale structures. This is carried out by combining ferroelectric and ferromagnetic materials that allow the manipulation of the interaction that takes place at their interface.  Another mechanism studied is the relocation of ions in an electric field and how this ion movement changes the magnetism of a thin film.


The distinction recipients and Stuart Parkin will appear at the business seminar organised at the Technology Days today, Thursday 22 October, at Hotel Torni in Tampere.

1.00 pm Stuart Parkin’s keynote speech

5.00 pm Panel discussion by the distinction recipients and Stuart Parkin

Media representatives are welcome to attend the event.



M-Files Oy

M-Files is a Finnish software company that develops and sells information management software. The

M-Files software represents a new approach to information management, based on the contents of information instead of location. Thousands of companies in over a hundred countries use M-Files to improve the quality and productivity of their knowledge work and to meet the standards and requirements related to information management. The software company started its operation in 2000, and the first version of the M-Files product was released in 2005. The turnover of the company increased by 76% in 2014, totalling 22.2 million euros. More than half of the sales come from outside Finland.

M-Files has been recognised before. The world’s leading market research companies, such as Gartner, Forrester and Nucleus Research, have highlighted M-Files as one of the world’s top actors. In addition, Deloitte and Red Herring have named M-Files as one of the most innovative and fastest growing technology companies in the world. The company has also been awarded as the Employer of the Year and the Growth Company of the Year.

Sebastiaan van Dijken

Professor, Aalto University, Department of Applied Physics. Leader of Nanomagnetism and Spintronics Group. The group focuses on experimental studies of magnetism, magneto-optics and spintronics in new functional materials and nanoscale structures.


PhD, University of Twente, Netherlands 2000

Post-doc, IBM Almaden Research Center, 2000-2002

Senior Scientist, Trinity College Dublin, 2003-2007

VTT, 2007-2008

Professor, Aalto University, 2008-



Mircea Guina, Professor, Tampere University of Technology, Optoelectronics Research Centre

Peter Liljeroth, Professor, Aalto University, Department of Applied Physics

Heikki Saikkonen, Professor, Aalto University, Department of Information and Computer Science

Juha Ylä-Jääski, Chairman of the Jury, President and CEO of Technology Academy Finland

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