Aude Billard

Prof. Aude Billard is head of the LASA laboratory at the School of Engineering at the Swiss Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL).

A.B. holds a B.Sc and M.Sc. in Physics from EPFL (1995) and a Ph.D. in Artificial Intelligence (1998) from the University of Edinburgh. A.B. was the recipient of the Intel Corporation Teaching award, the Swiss National Science Foundation career award, the Outstanding Young Person in Science and Innovation from the Swiss Chamber of Commerce, the IEEE-RAS Best Reviewer Award and IEEE-RAS Distinguished Service Award. A. B.’s research spans the fields of machine learning and robotics with a particular emphasis on learning from sparse data and performing fast and robust retrieval. This work finds application to robotics, human-robot / human-computer interaction and computational neuroscience. This research received best paper awards from IEEE T-RO, RSS, ICRA, IROS, Humanoids and ROMAN and was featured in premier venues (BBC, IEEE Spectrum, Wired).

Aude Billard leads the Swiss National Thematic Network Innovation Booster on Robotics, a half a million fund in support of industrial-academic partnerships, and is the current president-elect of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society.


Adrien Briod

Adrien Briod obtained a PhD from EPFL in 2013 and co-founded Flyability SA in 2014, of which he is the CTO since then.

Flyability pioneered confined space inspection drones, creating new technology that allows inspectors to collect data remotely inside dangerous confined spaces instead of in person. Flyability has become a trusted provider of internal inspection solutions, used all around the world to improve safety, reduce downtimes, and cut costs of internal inspections. Today Flyability has offices in Switzerland, China, Singapore, and the U.S., with almost one thousand clients in over 60 countries. Flyability works in every industry that requires internal inspections, including Power Generation, Oil & Gas, Mining, Wastewater Infrastructure, Chemicals, Maritime, and Infrastructure & Utilities.

Agnès Petit Markowski

Agnès Petit Markowski is the founder and CEO of Mobbot (2018).

Since 2017 she is also an Expert in the Advisory Board of the Singularity Group. She is a part time lecturer for 3D printing and digital fabrication at the HWZ, EPFL, ETHZ, Ecole Technique de la Construction. She is an Expert at InnoSuisse.

She has 11 years of experience in construction industry: Holcim worldwide experience (raw material provider) and Prefabrication with Creabeton Matériaux

Agnèes holds a PhD in Cosmochemistry from ETH Zürich, and a MsC in Mining & Mineralogy from the University of Lausanne. She has also completed several executive education programs at IMD & MIT Sloan and HEC Lausanne.

She has been awarded the Digital Shapers Switzerland in 2019, 2020, 2022, the Forum des 100 – 2022 and the Prix Isabelle Musy EPFL in 2019.

Her company, Mobbot is also an award winning startup: IoT Climate Change Swisscom 2022, VentureKick 2019, De Vigier Foundation 2019

Raffaello D’Andrea

Raffaello D’Andrea is a professor at ETH Zürich and the founder/CEO of Verity, a self-flying drone systems company and provider of drone failsafe technology. He co-founded Kiva Systems, which was acquired by Amazon and rebranded as Amazon Robotics. During his time as a professor at Cornell University, he co-founded the systems engineering program and led the Cornell Robot Soccer team to four world championships. He is also a founder of RoboGlobal, an organization that introduced the world’s first Robotics and AI Exchange Traded Fund.

His work as a new media artist has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale and is part of the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Canada and France’s FRAC Centre. He is the co-creator of the Robotic Chair, a plain-looking wooden chair that falls apart and seems to defy the second law of thermodynamics by reassembling itself. He created the drone design and choreographies for Cirque du Soleil’s Paramour on Broadway and Metallica’s WorldWired tour, and was executive producer for the drone light shows in Drake’s Aubrey & the Three Migos tour, Céline Dion’s Courage tour, and Justin Bieber’s Justice tour.

In 2020 he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame and was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. His TED and research videos, with tens of millions of views, offer an inspiring view into the world of engineering, robotics, and computer science.

Dario Floreano

Dario Floreano is director of the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL). Since 2010, he is the founding director of the Swiss National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) in Robotics, a research program that brings together more than 20 labs across Switzerland.

Prof. Floreano holds an M.A. in Vision, an M.S. in Neural Computation, and a PhD in Robotics. He has held research positions at Sony Computer Science Laboratory, at Caltech/JPL, and at Harvard University. His main research interests are Robotics and A.I. at the convergence of biology and engineering. Prof. Floreano made pioneering contributions to the fields of evolutionary robotics, aerial robotics, and soft robotics. He served in numerous advisory boards and committees, including the Future and Emerging Technologies division of the European Commission, the World Economic Forum Agenda Council, the International Society of Artificial Life, the International Neural Network Society, and in the editorial committee of several scientific journals. In addition, he helped spinning off two drone companies (senseFly and Flyability) and a non-for-profit portal on robotics and A.I. (RoboHub).

Elena García Armada

Picture of Thierry Golliard

Elena Garcia is PhD in Robotics Engineering, Tenured Scientist at the Centre for Automation and Robotics (CSIC-UPM) and co-founder of Marsi Bionics.

Her stay at MIT marked her path towards dynamically stable walking robots and elastic actuation systems. As a Senior Scientist at CAR, Elena leads her own research group, transfering her interest in biomimicry in robotics, creating artificial legs and quadrupeds inspired by biology and developing artificial muscles to get versatile movements. Her research activity advances towards bionics, initiating studies on force augmentation exoskeletons with an industrial application. The area of ​​application of her research takes a turn when she receives the visit of Daniela’s parents, a 6-year-old girl with a tetraplegia. After understanding the vital need of walking and the absence of devices that can assist children who have lost this capacity, Elena applies all her research to the development of exoskeletons for human gait assistance, and especially to the therapy of neurological diseases in childhood. After just 3 years of research, in which all the previous knowledge in robot locomotion and biomimetics is applied, Elena and her team get Daniela walking for the first time in the lab with the ATLAS exoskeleton. What seemed like the end of a research project became the beginning of Elena’s professional-life project and the hope of millions of families: Allowing all the children in the world to walk, regardless of their pathology.

The exoskeleton technology she developed has the ability to adapt to complex neurological symptoms thanks to compliant actuation, which has been recently awarded by the European Patent Office as European Inventor 2022. Elena faced the technology transfer to the society through the foundation of Marsi Bionics in 2013, and positioned the company as a benchmark of the social impact entrepreneurship. Elena García represents the Spanish Science in important committees: She is a member of the Royal Academy of Engineering, and member of the Board of Directors of the Spanish Research Agency. Member of the jury of the Princess of Asturias Scientific and Technical Research Awards and member of the Strategic Council of Women and Engineering of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

In this journey, Elena and her team have received more than 45 awards, although for Elena, the best of the prizes is the smile of a child staring at his feet while walking.

Thierry Golliard

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Thierry Golliard is Director of Open Innovation and Venturing of Swiss Post.

In this role, he has been developing open innovation initiatives with external partners as start-ups, universities and accelerators in Switzerland, Germany, France, China and US. These innovation ecosystems enabled disruptive projects as, amongst others, the use of exoskeletons, the dynamic deliveries and the autonomous shuttles. Furthermore, he is managing the strategic venture capital funds of Swiss Post.

Thierry holds several Masters in Economics and Technology from the University of Fribourg, EPFL and UC Berkeley.


Maja Hadziselimovic

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Jan Hesthaven

Picture of Jan Hesthaven

Jan Hesthaven received an M.Sc. in computational physics from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and in 1995, he recieved a PhD. in Numerical Analysis from the Institute of Mathematical Modelling (DTU).

Following graduation, he was awarded an NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship in Advanced Scientific Computing and was appointed Visiting Assistant Professor at Brown University. In 1996, he was appointed consultant to the Institute of Computer Applications in Science and Engineering (ICASE) at NASA Langley Research Center (NASA LaRC).
Throughout his carrer, he was appointed Assistant Professor of Applied Mathematics (1999), and he was awarded an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship (2000), a Manning Assistant Professorship (2021) and an NSF Career Award (2002). In 2003, he was promoted to Associate Professor of Applied Mathematics with tenure and in  2004 he was awarded the Philip J. Bray Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Sciences (the highest award given for teaching excellence in the sciences at Brown University). From  2006 to 2013, he was the Founding Director of the Center for Computation and Visualization (CCV) at Brown University. Since 2007, he holds the (honorary) title of Professor (Adjunct) at the Technical University of Denmark. In 2009, he successfully defended his dr.techn thesis at the Technical University of Denmark and was rewarded the degree of Doctor Technices.

After having spend his entire academic career at Brown University, Prof. Hesthaven decided to pursue new challenges and joined the Mathematics Institute of Computational Science and Engineering (MATHICSE) at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland in 2013, being appointed as the Chair of Computational Mathematics and Simulation Science.  In 2017, Prof Hesthaven was appointed Dean of the School of Basic Sciences with the responsibility for the Institutes of Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry at EPFL.

Auke Ijspeert

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Auke Ijspeert is a full professor at the EPFL, and head of the Biorobotics Laboratory (BioRob). He has a B.Sc./M.Sc. in physics from the EPFL (1995), and a PhD in artificial intelligence from the University of Edinburgh (1999). He carried out postdocs at IDSIA and EPFL, and at the University of Southern California (USC). He then became a research assistant professor at USC, and an external collaborator at ATR (Advanced Telecommunications Research institute) in Japan. In 2002, he came back to the EPFL as an SNF assistant professor. He was promoted to associate professor in October 2009 and to full professor in April 2016. His primary affiliation is with the Institute of Bioengineering, and secondary affiliation with the Institute of Mechanical Engineering.

His research interests are at the intersection between robotics, computational neuroscience, nonlinear dynamical systems, and machine learning. He is interested in using numerical simulations and robots to get a better understanding of sensorimotor coordination in animals, and in using inspiration from biology to design novel types of robots and adaptive controllers.  (see for instance Ijspeert et al Science 2007, Ijspeert Science 2014, and Nyakatura et al Nature 2019). He is also investigating how to assist people with limited mobility using exoskeletons and assistive furniture.

He is regularly invited to give talks on these topics (e.g. TED talk given at TED Global Geneva, Dec 8 2015). With his colleagues, he has received paper awards at ICRA2002, CLAWAR2005, IEEE Humanoids 2007, IEEE ROMAN 2014, CLAWAR 2015, SAB2018, and CLAWAR 2019. 

He is an IEEE Fellow, member of the Board of Reviewing Editors of Science magazine, and associate editor for the IEEE Transactions on Medical Robotics and Bionics and for the International Journal of Humanoid Robotics. He has acted as an associate editor for the IEEE Transactions on Robotics (2009-2013) and for Soft Robotics (2018-2021). He was a guest editor for the Proceedings of IEEE,  IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, Autonomous Robots, IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine, and Biological Cybernetics. He has been the organizer of 7 international conferences (BioADIT2004, SAB2004, AMAM2005, BioADIT2006, LATSIS2006, SSRR2016, AMAM2019), and a program committee member of over 50 conferences.   

Raphael Lalive

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Rafael Lalive is Full Professor of Applied Economics and Econometrics at HEC Lausanne, University of Lausanne.

His research is both academic and applied, and focuses on social economics, labor economics, public economics and microeconometrics.

Labor market: his main research topic is labor market and the effects of public policies on the individual behavior (unemployment insurance, etc.).

Family policies: his research investigates the effects of family policies on labor market participation, fertility, and behavioral outcomes of children.

Energy consumption and transportation: Rafael Lalive has conducted a range of evaluation studies (both micro and macro level studies) and set-up field experiments addressing issues in energy consumption and transportation.

Rafael Lalive obtained a PhD in Economics from the University of Zurich in 2001.

Laura Marchal-Crespo

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Laura Marchal-Crespo is an Associate Professor at the Department of Cognitive Robotics at Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands. She is also affiliated with the ARTORG Center for Biomedical Engineering Research, University of Bern, Switzerland.

She obtained her M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of California at Irvine, USA, studying robotics and virtual reality to enhance motor learning and neurorehabilitation. She then joined the Sensory-Motor Systems, ETH Zurich, as a postdoc researcher. In 2017, she obtained a Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) Professorship and joined the ARTORG Center, University of Bern, Switzerland, as medical faculty.

She became an Associate Professor at the Delft University of Technology in September 2020. She carries out research in the general areas of human-machine interfaces and biological learning, and, specifically, in the use of robotic assistance and virtual reality to aid people in learning motor tasks and rehabilitate after neurologic injuries.

Robin Murphy

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Robin Murphy is currently the Raytheon Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University, a founding director of the Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue, and an ACM and IEEE Fellow.

Dr. Murphy helped create the fields of disaster robotics and human-robot interaction, deploying robots to 29 disasters in five countries including the 9/11 World Trade Center and used sUAS at Hurricane Katrina, Fukushima, Hurricane Harvey and Michael, the Kilauea volcanic eruption, and numerous floods. Murphy’s contributions to robotics have been recognized with the ACM Eugene L. Lawler Award for Humanitarian Contributions, a US Air Force Exemplary Civilian Service Award medal, the AUVSI Foundation’s Al Aube Award, and the Motohiro Kisoi Award for Rescue Engineering Education (Japan).

She is also a TED speaker and one the of 30 Most Innovative Women Professors Alive Today. She has over 150 publications including Introduction to AI Robotics (2nd edition 2019) and the award-winning Disaster Robotics, plus Robotics Through Science Fiction: Artificial Intelligence Explained Through Six Classic Robot Short Stories (MIT Press, 2018) and Learn AI and Robotics Through Asimov’s I, Robot Stories (2019). She serves on the editorial board of the journal Science Robotics and writes the RoboticsThroughScienceFiction.com blog.

Alisa Rupenyan-Vasileva

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Alisa Rupenyan is a senior scientist and PI at the Automatic Control Lab at ETH Zurich and Head of the Advanced Control and Automation group at inspire, the technology transfer organization associated with ETH Zurich, since 2018.

She leads research projects on process optimization, industrial control, and machine learning for applications strongly connected to manufacturing, both related to industrial partners through inspire, and purely academic, as a PI in NCCR Automation. Since January 2021 she is an expert at the Swiss Innovation Agency Innosuisse in the field of ICT. Previously, she led the application development in the Zurich-​based startup Qualysense AG for fast grain-​sorting robots using machine learning techniques for high-​dimensional spectroscopic and imaging data. Her Ph.D. is in the field of time-​resolved laser spectroscopy from the Vrije Universteit Amsterdam (2009) and her MSc degree is in Laser Physics from the University of Sofia, Bulgaria. She was awarded a two-​year ETH post-​doctoral fellowship grant to finance her research in the field of ultrafast high-​harmonic spectroscopy of gas-​phase molecules in the Ultrafast Spectroscopy and Attosecond Science group at ETH Zurich. She is pationate about innovation, serves as startup advisory board member and as innovation consultant for tech startups and SMEs in Switzerland.

Simone Schürle-Finke

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Simone Schurle, born in Ulm, Germany, is researching in the field of biomedical engineering and Assistant Professor (Tenure Track) for Responsive Biomedical Systems at ETH Zurich.

She graduated in 2009 from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Industrial Engineering and Management (Dipl. Wi.-​Ing.) with specialization in micro/nanosystems. During her studies, she researched at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, about automated drug infusion and control, and at the University of Kyoto, Japan, in the field of carbon nanotube based nanosensors. She then joined the Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ) where she focused on magnetic manipulation techniques for biomedical applications. She was awarded with the ETH medal for her doctoral thesis and with fellowships from the SNSF, DAAD and the Society in Science for her postdoctoral studies at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she was researching as postdoctoral fellow from 2014-​2017.

Besides activities in public outreach work and education, she is serving as Global Future Council for the World Economic Forum. She is also co-​founder of MagnebotiX, a young spin-​off from ETHZ.