Yusuf Leblebici appointed president of Sabancı University
Yusuf Leblebici, the head of EPFL’s Microelectronic Systems Laboratory, has been tapped to become the next president of Turkey’s Sabancı University. Founded in 1994 and funded by the Sabancı Foundation, this dynamic university ranks among the top three in the country, and number 10 in the “World’s Best Small Universities” listing of Times Higher Education.
Sabancı University announced this week that EPFL professor Yusuf Leblebici will become its new president, taking office in 2019. The university, which is even younger than EPFL, is located just outside Istanbul.
An Istanbul native, Leblebici joined EPFL in 2002 where he set up the Microelectronic Systems Laboratory (LSM). His lab has since developed recognized expertise in high-speed and low-power integrated circuit design, 3D computer chips and omnidirectional camera systems. Today the LSM counts around thirty active researchers and has formed close R&D partnerships with heavyweights like IBM and Samsung. “The work that Leblebici has done at our school is absolutely remarkable. His pioneering technological innovations are as relevant as ever and will help shape the computers of tomorrow,” says EPFL President Martin Vetterli.
Leblebici’s appointment is the culmination of years of close involvement with Sabancı University. He helped get the school off the ground in 1998 and has since followed its expansion, albeit from a distance. It now has close to 5,000 students and a campus twice as big as EPFL’s – with enough facilities to house the entire student body. Sabancı is patterned after US universities, placing a heavy emphasis on post-graduate education and research.
Most of Sabancı’s students currently come from Turkey, but the university hopes to attract more and more from abroad – it has a growing appeal for students from the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. “We also want to bring in more students from India, who are very interested in advanced, high-level degree programs,” says Leblebici.
Sabancı University is funded by the foundation of the same name. The fact that the university is fully private is a potential advantage over public-sector institutions. “That gives us greater freedom, for both the orientation of our research programs and our growth strategy,” says Leblebici, who sees his new function as “a genuine mission, one that is highly stimulating.”
Leblebici will gradually take on his new responsibilities over the course of 2019 and make sure that ongoing projects of the LSM can be continued without interruption.