Prof. Gaétan de Rassenfosse promoted to Associate Professor

Gaétan de Rassenfosse © 2022 EPFL

Gaétan de Rassenfosse © 2022 EPFL

The College of Management of Technology is proud to count Prof. de Rassenfosse as a new member of its tenured professors. He tells us about his journey from Assistant Professor to his promotion by the ETH board in March 2022 as Associate Professor.

  • Gaétan de Rassenfosse, how did you experience your years as an Assistant Professor Tenure Track (PATT)?

Bittersweet! On the one hand, PATT is a great challenge as it allows you to do top-notch research and to make a name for yourself in your scientific community. This challenge certainly comes with a lot of pressure, but EPFL gives us the means to achieve it. We have a rather interesting research budget, a great deal of autonomy, and we are generally fairly well protected by our more senior colleagues in terms of administrative tasks. As far as I am concerned, I had very good support from Ilona Ball, the admininstrative assistant of my group. I also felt that the other professors of the CDM wanted me to get my tenure. All these elements made it possible for me to focus on my research as much as possible. But on the other hand, there is this very binding deadline, the famous tenure clock, which was constantly in the back of my mind and which guided many of my decisions, consciously or not. The pressure mounts relentlessly as the deadline approaches-not to mention the stress that mounts as the final decision date approaches!

  • Associate Professor: What's the difference?

On a day-to-day basis, the change is quite concrete since, even before my official appointment, new administrative responsibilities were waiting for me! But more than the title, it's the job security that makes the difference. The tenure allows me to consider the future more serenely and is also a nice signal that EPFL and our scientific community are sending out to us. It shows that our work is being recognized and valued, which is immensely satisfying. Of course, the appointment is not synonymous with rest. Promotion to full professor is the next step, which requires taking it up another notch.

  • What are your plans for the future or what will be your new responsibilities?

While we're on the subject, I have newly joined a couple of committees and task forces since I was appointed, and there might be some more administrative duties coming! On the research side, the goal is to reap the benefits of a data infrastructure that I have put in place over the last few years. We have developed a new way of linking patents to products that opens up fantastic research opportunities in my field.