It is my pleasure, as the new dean of ENAC since January 2020, to write the foreword for ENAC’s 2019 Annual Report. To support me in the strategic leadership and development of ENAC, I appointed two associate deans: Katrin Beyer, who will lead the development of digitalization and open science at ENAC, and Vincent Kaufmann, who is in charge of strengthening interdisciplinary education, communication and knowledge transfer. Together with the three institute directors and three section directors, we now form the new ENAC Direction.
In 2019 and over the last few months, we have been living through times of uncertainty. We have seen unprecedented changes affecting our health, the way we live together and the environment. Urban population growth, climate change, resource scarcity and epidemics such as COVID-19 require new scientific approaches that are able to draw on various disciplines and provide holistic answers. ENAC, with its rarely found combination of architecture and civil and environmental engineering, is well equipped to confront these challenges and provide answers regarding the sustainability of our built and natural environments. Therefore, I am honored to have been elected dean of this amazing faculty for the four years to come.
The year 2019 was marked by several challenges and highlights: first of all, it was EPFL’s 50th anniversary. ENAC scientists and students used the two days of the Open Doors weekend to show and explain their research to a fascinated public of all ages – making the ENAC exhibition a very busy place and a big success. A second challenge was the academic audit by international experts. I would like to thank my predecessor Andrew Barry, the ad interim dean, for his excellent work and guidance through that challenging process.
The academic evaluation confirmed that ENAC is a unique faculty that can make a significant contribution to the transition towards sustainability in the built and natural environments. Rankings, such as the QS ranking, show that each institute is performing excellent research, and we are constantly improving. We can build on this to make contributions to societal and environmental challenges that go well beyond what each laboratory can do by itself. The success of the ENAC-led team that won the Solar Decathlon competition in 2017 when Marilyne Andersen was ENAC dean is an example we can draw inspiration from. Thanks to the highly appreciated leadership of my predecessors, we are a faculty with satisfied and engaged students, a strong sense of community and an eagerness to keep developing. Our two cross-institute teaching programs, Design Together and SKIL, were seen by the audit panel as highly innovative initiatives that might serve as models for EPFL in the future.
Building on these achievements, the ENAC Direction will guide ENAC as it continues to grow and to strengthen its profile. During the next four years we aim to: (i) develop mechanisms to foster collaboration among institutes while maintaining disciplinary excellence; (ii) further enhance the contribution of architecture within ENAC; (iii) improve the gender balance at all levels; (iv) move towards digital technologies and define the role of data science; (v) further develop innovation in teaching and continue fulfilling the needs of practice partners; and (vi) foster knowledge transfer and innovation.
The main vehicles for achieving this are the Research Clusters. We have defined three key research areas that will not only allow us to enhance interaction among ENAC institutes, but that will create interfaces with other faculties at EPFL, as well as with other universities, industry and public authorities. The three research clusters that we will develop in the future are: (i) climate change anticipation, mitigation and adaptation; (ii) digitalization of infrastructure and cities; and (iii) sustainable territories. Furthermore, we will also aim to develop technologies for fundamental utility services across these three research areas. We hope to inform you about the exciting developments of these three clusters next year!
Let me also welcome our new faculty members at ENAC. In 2019, we had the pleasure of hiring top-flight scientists in environmental engineering and architecture. Julia Schmale will reinforce EPFL’s expertise in extreme environments as a tenure-track assistant professor based in EPFL Valais Wallis. With her innovative work in biodiversity and the acclimatization of forests and plants to climate change, Charlotte Grossiord, also appointed as a tenure-track assistant professor, will work in collaboration with the Federal Research Institute WSL. Jo Taillieu and Eric Lapierre, both appointed as associate professors, will offer our students in architecture new approaches inspired by their internationally renowned work and their careers as critics and architects. In terms of promotions, Stéphane Joost at LASIG was promoted to senior scientist (MER).
We are also proud that our researchers received prestigious awards in 2019. Yves Weinand won the “Grand Prix d’Architecture de Wallonie”; Franz Graf was named a “Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres” by the French government; Andreas Schüler’s group was awarded the “Watt d’Or 2019”; and Anna Carratala Ripollès received the International Geneva Award, organized by the Swiss Network for International Studies.
Finally, we look forward to sharing ENAC’s achievements in 2019 with you and wish you an enjoyable read!
including 285 PhD
624.9 Full time position
Mio CHF of total ENAC budget
Percent of staff between 20 and 40 years old
Research and technology transfer agreements
The Petrosvibri chair seeks to integrate and combine state-of-art research capacities to understand the challenging geo-mechanical behavior of geological CO2 injection and storage.
The Gaznat Chair on Geo-Energy combine experimental and theoretical research to improve the engineering of subterranean porous reservoir in a sustainable manner. The chair addresses a number of current geo-energy challenges associated with geothermal energy production, gas production and storage.
The Swiss Mobiliar Chair in Urban Ecology and Sustainable Living draws on broad interdisciplinary expertise to develop new research avenues at the crossroads between social and environmental sciences. The chair focuses in particular on relations between humans and their environment in urban systems.
The Margaretha KAMPRAD Chair studies physical processes as an avenue for understanding lake ecosystems, the management of natural water resources and lakes as natural scale-up “laboratories” for stratified environmental flow studies.
The Ingvar KAMPRAD Chair conducts field studies looking at interactions between the atmosphere, cryosphere, ocean, land and human activities. Assuming a perspective of atmospheric science, the goal is to characterize processes that are directly influenced by humans versus natural processes that are undergoing change due to climate forcing.
The Alpine and Polar Environment Research Center (ALPOLE) is based in Sion, at EPFL Valais Wallis. ALPOLE represents a large and synergistic research effort on climate-driven environmental changes and adaptions.
EPFL Habitat Research Center is a trans-disciplinary research platform. Its aim is to explore the urban phenomena and to produce visions, strategies and projects on this primary and crucial topic.
The mission of the Limnology Center is to provide socially-relevant and multi-disciplinary research to ensure the sustainable use and conservation of natural water resources, both on the national and international levels.
The mission of EPFL Energy Center (CEN) is to promote energy research led by EPFL, by challenging state-of-the-art technologies and addressing society’s challenges together to shape tomorrow’s energy system.
Located in Fribourg, Switzerland, the smart living lab is an interdisciplinary, inter-institutional excellence center for the built environment of the future. With its partners, the University of Fribourg and the School of Engineering and Architecture of Fribourg, it aims to further knowledge related to the built environment of the future, both on a technical and on a societal level.
Through ENAC, EPFL is one of 16 founding members of the Fondation Culture du Bâti. The foundation aims to promote, highlight and develop all materials, heritage and content relating to the art of building, construction and landscape. It is a non-profit public-interest organization.
ENAC is represented with two labs in the Swiss national research project “Active Interfaces” which aims to develop a holistic strategy to accelerate the transposition of advanced BIPV adapted solutions into real innovative practices.
ENAC is involved in the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) Digital Fabrication, initiated at ETH Zurich. The center focuses on research into digital design and manufacturing processes and their synthesis through the use of novel technologies.
EPFL is involved in the Swiss Competence Centers for Energy Research program “Future Energy Efficient Buildings & Districts” whose aim is to reduce the end-energy demand of the Swiss building stock by a factor of five during the next decades thanks to efficient, intelligent and interlinked buildings.
ENAC is involved in the Future Cities Laboratory, a research programme established by ETH Zurich and Singapore’s National Research Foundation that aims to develop new knowledge, technologies, and approaches for a sustainable urban future with an Asian perspective.
The EPFL takes part in the Swiss Competence Center for Energy Research program «Supply of Electricity» to carry out innovative and sustainable research in the areas of geo-energy and hydropower. The SCCER-SoE develops new technologies and optimizes existing infrastructures for energy production in the future.