Inauguration of the Kilian Schindler Excellence Award

© 2020 EPFL

© 2020 EPFL

EPFL has created an award to honor the life and memory of Kilian Schindler, a doctoral student in Management of Technology.

Kilian Schindler passed away on May 16, 2020, shortly before the public defense of his thesis. In September 2020, he was awarded his EPFL doctoral degree posthumously, at a ceremony attended by his family, professors, staff and students, as well as many friends.

On this solemn occasion, Prof. Thomas Weber (Director of the Doctoral Program in Management of Technology [EDMT]), Prof. Pierre Vandergheynst (Vice President for Education) and the Schindler family, founded the award in memory of this brilliant young man, who passed away far too soon. “We feel much pride and honor that CDM faculty see in our beloved Kilian values that can be acknowledged by way of an award” declared Kilian’s father, Eduardo Schindler.

Thomas Weber, Daniel Kuhn, Eduardo Schindler & Pierre Vandergheynst

Prof. Daniel Kuhn, his thesis supervisor, pays tribute to his memory: "Kilian was a role model in every respect. He was an outstanding researcher who made important contributions to both the theory and application of optimization under uncertainty. For example, he completed two major journal papers in record time already within the first year of his PhD studies. Besides that, he was a "rock star" presenter, making a lasting impression at several international conferences on optimization and management science. His dedication to teaching was also exemplary, and in 2019 he has been voted as the best teaching assistant by the students of the master program in Management, Technology and Entrepreneurship. His cheerful nature, optimism, selflessness, generosity and care for others will be dearly missed by everyone in my lab. I hope that the "Kilian Schindler Excellence Award" will inspire future PhD students to follow his footsteps."

First Laureate: Cagil Kocyigit

On the occasion of the annual welcome event for new doctoral students in the EDMT program, the award was granted for the first time to Dr. Cagil Kocyigit. She received her PhD thesis in August 2020 under the title "Distributional Robustness in Mechanism Design", under the supervision of Professor Daniel Kuhn.

Despite the sad circumstances, she was very touched for being the first recipient of this award: “I am extremely honored to receive the Kilian Schindler Excellence Award, named after my dear friend and colleague Kilian. I would like to thank those who played a role in creating this award and the committee for selecting me. Kilian and I have not only shared our PhD experience but also our passion for research and teaching as well as a beautiful friendship. Kilian was an outstanding researcher and has greatly inspired me and everyone else around him both scientifically and personally. It is therefore very special and also emotional for me to be the first recipient of this award. I think that, with this award, his exceptional PhD thesis as well as the reflection of his ideas and vision in us, Kilian will continue to inspire the next generations.”

Kilian Schindler Excellence Award

The Kilian Schindler Excellence Award will be attributed once a year to the author of an outstanding doctoral thesis in the Doctoral Program of Management of Technology (EDMT) at the College of Management of Technology.

A jury composed of EDMT faculty decides about a laureate who will receive the award in a ceremony organized at EPFL. Financial sponsorship is provided by Kilian Schindler’s family who will also invite the winner (and guest) for a weekend in Zurich to spend quality time with them and exchange ideas over a nice dinner.


Author: Alexandra von Schack