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EPFL's PhD Summit attracts students from around the world

© Ted Byrne - The 13 participants spent two days at EPFL. Here with the jury and the Dean of the School of Engineering

© Ted Byrne - The 13 participants spent two days at EPFL. Here with the jury and the Dean of the School of Engineering

Thirteen PhD students from the US, Asia and Europe presented their research at the first Engineering PhD Summit held by EPFL’s School of Engineering. The topic for this year’s event was data-driven engineering in the life sciences. Shachi Mittal from the University of Illinois took home the jury award with her presentation on “Combining Data Science and Chemical Imaging for Automated Cancer Diagnosis.” 

The thirteen participants – all final-year PhD students interested in an academic career – were carefully selected out of the numerous applications received. They spent two days at EPFL’s Lausanne campus visiting the labs of their choice and presenting their papers to a panel of experts who voted for the best one. The participants came from the US (Rice University, University of Texas at Austin and University of Illinois), Asia (National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University) and Europe (University College London, Ghent University, University of Oslo and the Institut national de recherche en informatique et en automatique in France) as well as from four EPFL labs. 

“Of course I had already heard about EPFL from the rankings,” says Mittal, who particularly appreciated visiting the research labs and meeting internationally renowned experts in her field. “I had the incredible opportunity to speak with Professor Hanahan. I’ve read his articles several times and find his work highly inspiring – but I didn’t know he worked at EPFL. It wasn’t until I looked at the list of possible labs to visit that I saw his name,” she says. Tushar Chouhan, who uses machine learning to study the neurological mechanisms involved in motor activity, was also delighted to meet a leading figure in his field: Professor José del R. Millán. “It was great to be able to speak with him about my research topic. Professors are really busy, but the ones at EPFL took the time to speak with us individually,” says Chouhan.

“Our PhD Summit gives students a unique opportunity to share and promote their research and meet fellow engineers and scientists,” says Ali H. Sayed, dean of the School of Engineering. “It also boosts the visibility of our school among exceptional PhD students around the world who are working on extremely interesting projects.” One of the EPFL students participating in the event, Baran Gözcü from the Laboratory for Information and Inference Systems, adds: “My professor really encouraged me because this kind of event lets you not only present your findings, but also meet other PhD students and learn about some of the other cutting-edge research going on.” The next edition will take place in 2019.

Pictures and videos of the event are available

Author: Clara Marc