New EPFL Vice-Presidencies approved

Matthias Gäumann, Gisou van der Goot and Jan Hesthaven © 2020 EPFL / Alain Herzo

Matthias Gäumann, Gisou van der Goot and Jan Hesthaven © 2020 EPFL / Alain Herzog

The ETH Board has just approved three people whose names EPFL President Martin Vetterli put forward to head the School’s new vice presidencies: Prof. Gisou van der Goot, Prof. Jan Hesthaven and Matthias Gäumann.

The new vice presidencies are part of Prof. Vetterli’s initiative to streamline his management team for his second term as president of EPFL, which will run from 2021 to 2024. Responsibility for research and education will be merged into a new Vice Presidency for Academic Affairs (VPA) - along the lines of the provost model used at other international universities - while responsibility for operations, human resources and information systems will be combined in a new Vice Presidency for Operations (VPO). Prof. Vetterli has also decided to create a Vice Presidency for Responsible Transformation (VPT), which will address a number of campus-wide issues.

Prof. van der Goot will strengthen values such as diversity and sustainability across the School’s campus as the head of the Vice Presidency for Responsible Transformation. Prof. Hesthaven will be in charge of education and research as the head of the Vice Presidency for Academic Affairs. And Matthias Gäumann, who has been serving as the acting head of operations, will run the Vice Presidency for Operations.

Gisou van der Goot trained as an engineer at Ecole Centrale Paris and then embarked on a research career with a PhD in molecular biophysics. In 2006, she left the University of Geneva to join EPFL as a professor of molecular and cellular microbiology. She’s currently the dean of the School of Life Sciences. Jan Hesthaven holds a PhD in mathematical modeling from the Technical University of Denmark. After nearly two decades at Brown University, he joined EPFL in 2013 as a professor of computational mathematics and simulation science. He’s currently the dean of the School of Basic Sciences. Matthias Gäumann holds a PhD in materials science from EPFL and an MBA from the Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne. Before joining EPFL in 2015 as Director of Research Affairs, he held various management positions in the private sector, both in the financial and innovation sectors.

Prof. Vetterli and the rest of EPFL would like to sincerely thank the outgoing vice presidents - Pierre Vandergheynst, Andreas Mortensen and Edouard Bugnion - for their deep commitment and major contributions to the School in recent years. Professor Pierre Vandergheynst, the outgoing Vice President for Education, made innovation in education one of his signature issues. In addition to including computational thinking as one of three core fields of study for incoming students, he played a significant role in the creation of the EPFL Extension School and the success of the LEARN and MAKE initiatives. Professor Andreas Mortensen, the outgoing Vice President for Research, diligently and successfully managed multiple research contracts with the European Union, supported the reorganization of internal research programs and oversaw the development of all research platforms. In the last month, he and his team also set up the COVID-19 research grants at EPFL. Professor Edouard Bugnion, the outgoing Vice President for Information Systems, drew on his experience in both academia and industry to restructure EPFL’s IT systems and has been a key member of EPFL’s management team. Recently, he spearheaded EPFL’s efforts on the SwissCovid app. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Profs. Vandergheynst, Mortensen and Bugnion, EPFL is well-positioned for the future in the fields of education, research and technology. The three professors will continue to teach and conduct research at EPFL.

The Vice Presidency for Finances (VPFI) and the Vice Presidency for Innovation (VPI) will continue to operate as before, and the new vice presidents will be named shortly. Caroline Kuyper, the Vice President for Finances and CFO, successfully restructured the School’s finance organisation over the past four years to build a strong vice presidency, professional processes, has developed financial strategies and a solid governance to secure EPFL’s financial sustainability for the future. EPFL thanks her deeply for her commitment and actions, which have helped the School adapt to its changing environment and prepare for future challenges. EPFL wishes to continue to benefit from her skills in the coming years through new responsibilities. Prof. Vetterli and Mrs. Kuyper look forward to continuing their successful collaboration.

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