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School of Engineering

A word from the Dean

As we begin 2020 with a fresh optimism, it is my great pleasure to share with you the 2019 Annual Report for the EPFL the School of Engineering.

Our school is one of the finest engineering institutions of higher education in Europe and the World, and 2019 has been a busy year, with many initiatives and a showcase of the depth of talent from our faculty and students.

Browsing through these pages, you will learn about a vibrant and dynamic environment, one that embraces students from their first steps in engineering and guides them through an engaging curriculum. You will also read about the many opportunities our students have to step out of the box and be involved in exciting projects and competitions, both at the national and international stages.

Our faculty and researchers are among the best in their fields, fearless in their pursuit of novelty and successful in their engagement with industry and research partners across Europe and beyond. We are leaders in innovation and technology transfer, accounting in 2019 for close to 40% of all start-ups created at EPFL and more than 60% of all the technology disclosures. During this same year, researchers at the School of Engineering received many recognitions and grants, showing the impact of their contribution to society.

2019 was also the stage for the second edition of our Engineering PhD Summit and the first edition of our EPFL Excellence in Engineering Program, both of which attracted some of the best undergraduate, MS, and Ph.D. students from around the world. Another initiative, the Engineering Industry Day, was also a big success in 2019 with over 450 attendees.

We are a vibrant engineering school with the right dose of ambition and drive to be players on the international field and to be leaders in engineering design and applied science. In 2019, the School of Engineering and the College of Management at EPFL successfully launched the first edition of a joint Masters course that exposes students to entrepreneurial challenges by challenging them to design a product to be marketed.

I look forward to sharing the ground-breaking moments of 2020 with you.

Ali H. Sayed, Dean of the School of Engineering

Highlights 2019


Articles / Key Figures

One of our main missions at EPFL and in the School of Engineering is to educate the next generation of engineers, and prepare them for the challenges they will face in their future life, after the Bachelor, Master or PhD studies. Beyond the acquisition of fundamental science and engineering concepts, including computational thinking, our students develop their ability to contribute to society and industry though exposure to a range of topics including ethics, data security and environmental issues, and are able to experience a multidisciplinary approach, in particular through hands-on or entrepreneurship projects”.

Véronique Michaud, Associate Dean for Education


New Hands-On Graduate Course Links Engineering and Management

Smart greenhouses let you grow vegetables in your own apartment

Using 3D printing to make prosthetics for Colombia war victims

EPFL bioengineering team wins global iGEM competition

EPFL students design a rocket from scratch

EPFL students work on problems encountered by doctors

The world of 3D cells is now open for EPFL students to explore

EPFL’s lightweight boat wins the 2019 HydroContest

Key Figures

Number of Students



  • Men [%]
  • Women [%]



  • Men [%]
  • Women [%]



  • Men [%]
  • Women [%]


Articles / Key Figures

“At the School of Engineering more than 100 laboratories and research groups pursue the mission of  understanding and improving the world we live in. They lead research in very different fields of science and engineering, with impactful outcomes that are made available to the society. The School of Engineering also promotes partnerships with other world-leading institutions and research laboratories to address the main challenges faced by humanity”.

Pascal Frossard, Associate Dean for Research


A robot recreates the walk of a 300-million-year-old animal


Optic nerve stimulation to aid the blind

Robot-ants that can jump, communicate and work together

A self-healing composite

Jamie Paik’s robots to take the stage at the TED conference


Harnessing photonics for at-home disease detection

Excitons pave the way to more efficient electronics

Using AI to predict where and when lightning will strike

Key Figures

Number of laboratories and research groups

  • Electrical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Microengineering
  • Materials
  • Bioengineering


Scientific publications


Articles / Key Figures

“Technology transfer and innovation are key to EPFL, which is fundamental if we want to have a real impact with what we do. The School of Engineering has been a particularly strong contributor. We have put in place key initiatives to facilitate the collaboration between our researchers, students, and industry partners. A strong focus going forward will be innovation in response to the major societal challenges, including sustainability, the pervasive nature of data, and the role of artificial intelligence”.

Holger Frauenrath, Associate Dean for Industry and Innovation


New residential solar panels deliver record-breaking efficiency

New dual-propeller drone can fly twice as long

EPFL develops solution for detecting deepfakes

A smart speaker helps care for the elderly at home

Two spin-offs top the list of Switzerland’s most promising startups

Spin-off SWISSto12 raises 18.1 million

Automated microscope gives a look inside live cell populations

A high-precision instrument for ophthalmologists

Key Figures


Start-ups incorporation


License and transfer agreements


Granted patents


Technology disclosures

of EPFL’s start-ups

of EPFL’s licences and transfers

of EPFL’s patents

of EPFL’s technology disclosures

Engineering PhD Summit

The PhD Summit is a workshop for final year PhD students interested in a career in academia. Each year, we invite to campus, on a competitive basis, a group of exceptional graduating PhD students from institutions worldwide. The 2nd edition of the PhD was held on October 2-4, 2019, and focused on the theme of «Intelligent systems». The Engineering PhD Summit Prize for the best presentation and research impact has been awarded to Saptadeep Pal from the University of California Los Angeles, USA. A selection of EPFL students have also presented their research work related to “intelligent systems” in a short plenary pitch, and a poster session.



Applicants from 19 countries


selected students from 6 countries


Poster presentations form EPFL students


Lab visits

Industry Day

The 3rd edition of the Industry Day took place on March 20, 2019. The concept gives the opportunity for companies, researchers, and master and PhD students to network, initiate collaboration opportunities, present researches and development in industry.


Number of attendees

  • Industries
  • Master and PhD students
  • EPFL laboratories & invitees


One-to-one discussions between faculty and industry


Booths in the exhibition space


Presentations from EPFL research laboratories and industry partners

EPFL Excellence in Engineering Program

The E3 EPFL Excellence in Engineering Program has been initiated in 2019 by the School of Engineering and offers an intensive research training opportunity to students from foreign universities interested in research careers in any field of engineering, science and technology.




  • Men [%]
  • Women [%]


Recruited students

  • Men [%]
  • Women [%]


Labs that recruited students


Universities represented




STI scholarships attributed to Junior faculty

Mandatory industry Internships for master students

Internships in a company are an integral part of the Master curriculum in every master program at EPFL. This represents an excellent opportunity for students to get a crucial insight into the day-to-day work-flow in industry and also provide the company a broad expertise and skills in engineering sciences.

Number of internships and locations per masters


Electrical Engineering

  • Switzerland [%]
  • Abroad [%]


Mechanical Engineering

  • Switzerland [%]
  • Abroad [%]



  • Switzerland [%]
  • Abroad [%]


Material Science & Engineering

  • Switzerland [%]
  • Abroad [%]

Facts & Figures


Employees (FTE)

  • Men [%]
  • Women [%]



  • Men [%]
  • Women [%]




Main campus


Satellite locations