08.03.13 - The Board of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH Board) announces the appointment of André Schneider, former COO of the World Economic Forum, as the new vice-president of EPFL for planning and logistics. He will replace Francis-Luc Perret after his retirement. ETH Board also announces having appointed 10 new professors.

Today, the board of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology has announced the appointment of the successor to Francis-Luc Perret, current EPFL’s Vice-President for planning and logistics. The holder of this position is in charge of managing a number of schools’ departments such as human resources, planning and finance, security, sustainable development across various sites as well as real estate and infrastructure.

From 1 June 2013 onwards, those will be André Schneider’s responsibilities. He is 53 years old and a Doctor of Computer Science at the University of Geneva and CERN. He started his career as an IT consultant and grew to play a leading role in the organization of the World Economic Forum (WEF), which is an annual meeting that brings together top business leaders and statesmen and which takes place in Davos each winter. He was the Forum’s operational manager from 2003 to 2010. He was also in charge of the organization of various regional WEF meetings in, for instance, China and the Middle East. Finally, he is also an accomplished professional musician and has played the tuba in orchestras like the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Lucerne International Festival Orchestra.

At the same time, André Schneider has been involved in progressive causes such as equal pay - he is the president of the equal salary Foundation - and sustainable development, which he promotes through his company André Schneider Global Advisory, created in 2011. "As EPFL’s Vice President for planning and logistics, I will have the opportunity to make use of my experience in managing large structures - particularly by setting up the Swiss Tech Convention Center-, as well as to contribute to the development of the campus’ multiple sites, "he says. He will also be in charge of the development – currently under consideration- of the western Swiss outposts of the Swiss Innovation Park.

Lots of challenges ahead

"The future still holds many challenges as our institution will continue to grow in the coming years. André Schneider's passion for sustainability together with his international experience will be instrumental for tackling them, "says Patrick Aebischer, EPFL’s president.
The new vice president will take office on 1 June 2013. His predecessor, Francis-Luc Perret, will officially retire on 31 July. Francis-Luc Perret held this position during thirteen years and led many emblematic projects such as: the Life Sciences Building, the Rolex Learning Center, the Estudiantines housing office, the Solar energy Park, the North Area comprising the Congress Center, the new rooms for rent and the Innovation District, among others. He is also behind the idea of a "sustainable campus" and the development of innovative mobility plans. "Francis-Luc Perret was the tireless artisan behind the extraordinary growth of the university campus. His vice-presidency was distinguished by his proficiency and his exceptional energy, "says Patrick Aebischer.

Ten new appointments

Marco Bakker and Alexandre Blanc have been appointed Associate Professors of Architecture (Theory and critical approach to projects) at the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering (ENAC)

Both researchers, designers and builders, Alexandre Blanc and Marco Bakker feature among the most renowned and promising architects in Switzerland. Their firm “Bakker & Blanc architectes associés Sàrl” was founded in 1992. In 2000, Alexandre Blanc became the assistant of Prof. Martin Steinmann and in 2009 he was hired, with his associate, as visiting professor in the Architecture section of EPFL. Marco Bakker was at first assistant to Prof. Vincent Mangeat at EPFL. Then, in 2009, he was hired with his associate, as visiting professor in the Architecture section of EPFL.

The two architects propose an original “outside of the box” approach, very much open to experimentation. Their vision and their teaching methods will thus enable students to explore, from an “non-conformist” viewpoint, innovative architectural solutions to the problems caused by the requirements of sustainable development.

Nicola Braghieri has been appointed as Associate Professor of Architecture at 80% (Design Communication) at the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering (ENAC)

Nicola Braghieri has entered many architectural competitions in Italy and abroad. In 2002, he won the international competition to design a new residential district in Settimo Milanese. A year later he was finalist of the international competition for the Professional Training Center in Sasso Marconi; and in 2007 finalist in the prestigious competition for the extension of the Stockholm Library. In 2011, he won the competition to design a housing complex in the canton of Geneva. He is currently Associate Professor at the University of Genoa.
In the course of his teaching activity, Nicola Braghieri has developed an “elementary” pedagogical method based on the close relationship between theory and practice, aiming as much at technical accuracy as at “poetic” intensity.

Michele Ceriotti has been appointed Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Materials Science at the School of Engineering (STI)

Michele Ceriotti’s research focuses on the development of molecular dynamics methods and digital simulation of complex problems at the atomic level, and their application to chemistry and materials science problems.
Recently, he developed a generalized Langevin equation that is useful for improving and manipulating the sampling properties of molecular dynamics, and an algorithm for analyzing the large amount of data resulting from the simulation of complex systems.
These methods have been applied to problems concerned with surface sciences, water and hydrogen binding systems, the determination of free energy at interfaces, the study of complex hydrides, and to simple biochemical problems.
At EPFL, his multidisciplinary knowledge will be appreciated at the STI School when teaching at Bachelor and Master levels in the field of materials science.

Sean Hill, “Blue Brain” Project Scientist at the School of Life Sciences (SV), has been authorized to bear the title of Adjunct Professor.

Sean Hill has developed a large-scale neuroinformatics model capable of simulating the spontaneous activities of a large number of thalamocortical neurones, and to summarize the activities in the transition phase between the waking state and sleep.
During the time he spent as a researcher at IBM in relation to the Blue Brain Project, he has demonstrated his considerable abilities in defining a strategy for organizing and analyzing primary data, and in setting up “in silico” experimentation. He has coordinated important work in these fields and supervised PhD theses at the Blue Brain Project.

Clément Hongler has been appointed as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Mathematics at the School of Basic Sciences (SB)

Clément Hongler works in a field combining complex analysis, probability theory, discrete mathematics and statistical mechanics. More specifically, he is one of the world’s foremost specialists of the (rigorous) mathematical study of the Ising model, a static physics model. This is an extremely important research field, in which two mathematicians – Werner in 2006 and Smirnov in 2010 – were recently awarded the Fields medal, the most prestigious reward for the recognition of work in mathematical research. Further to the work of his mentor, Stanislas Smirnov, Clément Hongler has been able to rigorously demonstrate the existence of several phenomena linked to the concept of “conformal invariance” which had been “predicted” by the physicists working on the conformal field theory.

Hoai-Minh Nguyen has been appointed as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Mathematics at the School of Basic Sciences (SB)

Hoai-Minh Nguyen is an expert in real analysis. In particular, he has had major breakthroughs in the study of Sobolev inequalities as well as in the study of the Jacobian determinant, solving problems which until then had puzzled the most renowned experts, in particular his thesis director, Haim Brezis, and Fields medal holder Jean Bourgain.
These difficult questions belong to the realm of pure analysis, but Hoai-Minh Nguyen has also made important contributions in applied analysis, especially in the rigorous mathematical study of several physics-related phenomena: for example, the study of materials with negative refraction indices and the study of the optical phenomenon called “cloaking” (which aims to make objects invisible). He has also obtained significant results in the fields of calculation of variations and differential equations and their applications.

Dominique Perrault has been appointed as Full Professor of Architecture at 50% (Theory and critical approach to projects) at the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering (ENAC)

Dominique Perrault won international recognition in 1989 after winning, aged 36, the competition to design the National Library of France. This immense project was the starting point for many large commissions such as the velodrome and Olympic swimming pool in Berlin (1992), the extension of the Court of Justice of the European Communities in Luxembourg (1996), the Olympic tennis center and the redesigning of the Manzanares park in Madrid (2002), the campus of Ewha Women’s University in Seoul (2004) and the Fukoku tower in Osaka, Japan (2007).
The specific theme he will be teaching will be underground architecture as a tool of transformation and densification of existing towns. This issue, which will benefit from competencies available within ENAC, will be explored in close collaboration with the Institutes of Civil Engineering and that of Environmental Engineering within the same school.

Felix Schürmann, “Blue Brain” Project Manager at the School of Life Sciences (SV), has been authorized to bear the title of Adjunct Professor

German-born Felix Schürmann studied physics at the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg (“Vordiplom”) and at the State University of New York at Buffalo (“M.S.”) between 1997 and 2000. In September 2005, he accepted the position as "general project manager" of the Blue Brain Project at EPFL.
Already, when he was working on his thesis, Felix Schürmann emerged as an expert in computational neuroscience and neuromorphic computing. From the launch of BBP, and to this day, he has been the key person responsible for the "day-to-day" supervision of the project and of the numerous colleagues and scientific fields involved in the project. This is documented by the impressive number of co-supervised theses (sixteen: eleven EPFL doctoral students and five external doctoral students in collaboration with BBP).

Dominic Tildesley, Director of EPFL’s Centre européen de calcul atomique et moléculaires (CECAM), has been authorized to bear the title of Adjunct Professor

Dominic Tildesley is a distinguished scientist in the field of scientific computing and molecular simulation. He has contributed significantly to the development of simulation techniques for liquids and polymers. Since January 1 2013, he has occupied the function of Director of the Centre européen de calcul atomique et moléculaire (CECAM) which established its headquarters at EPFL in 2008. The CECAM is an institution supported by fourteen European research organizations which each year organize 20 to 25 workshops bringing together world experts in the field of digital simulation.

Author:Emmanuel Barraud / Sandy EvangelistaSource:Mediacom