Martin Vetterli will be the next president of EPFL
24.02.16 - The new president of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) was announced this morning by the Swiss Federal Council, which confirmed the proposal submitted by the ETH Board. Martin Vetterli will assume his duties on 1 January 2017, taking over for outgoing president Patrick Aebischer.
The president of the National Research Council of the Swiss National Science Foundation and a professor in communication systems at EPFL, Martin Vetterli, 58 years old, is a brilliant researcher, an accomplished teacher and a recognized expert in the Swiss education and research sector. He was appointed by the Federal Council following a selection process conducted by the ETH Board. Professor Vetterli received the unanimous support of the ETH Board.
Born in Solothurn on 4 October 1957, Professor Vetterli received his elementary and secondary education in the Canton of Neuchâtel. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the ETH Zurich (ETHZ) in 1981, a Master’s of Science degree from Stanford University in 1982, and a PhD from EPFL in 1986. Professor Vetterli taught at Columbia University as an assistant and then associate professor. He was subsequently named full professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California at Berkeley before returning to EPFL as a full professor at the age of 38. He has also taught at ETHZ and Stanford University.
Professor Vetterli has earned numerous national and international awards for his research in electrical engineering, computer science and applied mathematics, including the National Latsis Prize in 1996. He is a fellow of both the Association for Computing Machinery and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and a member the US National Academy of Engineering. He has published over 170 articles and three reference works.
Professor Vetterli’s work on the theory of wavelets, which are used in signal processing, is considered to be of major importance by his peers, and his areas of expertise, including image and video compression and self-organized communication systems, are central to the development of new information technologies. As the founding director of the National Centre of Competence in Research on Mobile Information and Communication Systems, Professor Vetterli is a staunch advocate of transdisciplinary research.
Professor Vetterli knows EPFL inside and out. An EPFL graduate himself, he has been teaching at the school since 1995, was vice president for International Affairs and then Institutional Affairs from 2004 to 2011, and served as dean of the School of Computer and Communication Sciences in 2011 and 2012. In addition to his current role as president of the National Research Council of the Swiss National Science Foundation, a position he has held since 2013, he heads EPFL’s Audiovisual Communications Laboratory (LCAV).
Professor Vetterli has supported more than 60 students in Switzerland and the United States in their doctoral work and makes a point of following their highly successful careers, whether it is in the academic or business world.
He is the author of some 50 patents, some of which were the basis for start-ups coming out of his lab, such as Dartfish and Illusonic, while others were sold (e.g. Qualcomm) as successful examples of technology transfer. He actively encourages young researchers to market the results of their work.
“I am extremely honored to take over for Patrick Aebischer,” said Professor Vetterli. “EPFL is an outstanding school with an impressive international reputation. I look forward to helping the university grow and to taking it even further.”
Mr. Aebischer stated that he was “very happy to be handing the keys of the school to such an eminent and talented person. I have full confidence in Martin, whom I know well.”
EPFL has undergone many changes during Mr. Aebischer’s presidency (2000-2016). The number of students rose from less than 5,000 in 2000 to more than 10,000 in 2015, while the number of professors more than doubled. According to leading university rankings, EPFL is one of the top 10 engineering schools in Europe and among the 20 best universities in the world in the field of engineering.
Professor Vetterli will take over as president of EPFL on 1 January 2017. He was appointed for a renewable four-year term.
For more information:
Madeleine von Holzen, EPFL spokesperson
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