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Martin Vetterli

President, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL)

Additional Information


Researcher, teacher and expert on the Swiss education and research landscape, Martin Vetterli was appointed president of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) in 2017. He is also a full professor at the audiovisual communications laboratory at EPFL.

From studies to teaching

Born in Solothurn on 4 October 1957, Martin Vetterli attended school and completed his studies in the canton of Neuchâtel. After a degree in electrical engineering from the ETHZ in 1981, he graduated from the Stanford University in 1982. He then obtained his doctorate in science at EPFL in 1986.

After his thesis, Martin Vetterli teaches at Columbia University as an assistant and then associate professor. He was then appointed ordinary professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science of the University of Berkeley in 1993.

Two years later, at the call of Jean-Claude Badoux, Martin Vetterli returned to EPFL as an ordinary professor where he directed the Laboratoire de Communications Audiovisuelles (LCAV). He holds the position of vice-president in charge of international relations and then institutional affairs at EPFL from 2004 to 2011, and that of dean of the Faculty of Computer Science and Communication from 2011 and 2012. At the same time, he also teaches at ETHZ and Stanford University.

A researcher recognized by peers

Martin Vetterli’s research activity focuses on electrical engineering, computer science and applied mathematics. Wavelet theory, image and video compression and self-organized communication systems are some of his favourite fields. His work has earned him numerous national and international awards, including the National Latsis Prize, in 1996.

Martin Vetterli has published more than 170 journal articles and is co-author of three reference works. He is also the author of some five patents which have led to the creation of several startups from his laboratory, such as Dartfish or Illusonic, and to technology transfers through patent sales (Qualcomm).

An incentive for scientific research

From 2013 to 2016, Martin  Vetterli was President of  the National Research Council of  the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). It strengthens the promotion of young scientists under the 2013- 2016 multiannual programme, as well as the SNSF’s commitment to Open Access and Open Science.

A fervent defender of transdisciplinary research, he founded in 2001 the National Centre of Competence in Research on Mobile Information and Communication Systems. This led to fundamental discoveries on the capacity of wireless networks.

Martin Vetterli has accompanied more than 60 doctoral students in Switzerland and the United States during their thesis. It is a point of honour to follow the evolution of their career path at the highest level, whether academic or in the business world. It actively encourages young researchers to commercialize the results of their work.