EDCE Awards

EDCE PhD Students Awards

Mobility Awards winner May 2019

Anna Depetris, SBER

As member of the SBER laboratory at ENAC, I investigate spatial patterns in freshwater benthic biofilm and their interactions with the surrounding hydrodynamics. Stream benthic biofilms are microbial communities that live attached to the stream bed and exposed to the water flow. They develop remarkable morphological features in response to contrasting flow regimes. Biofilms’ architectural attributes relevantly correlate with spatial inhomogeneities in metabolic rates and biodiversity patterns.

For my Mobility project, I have the honor to take part in the prestigious course in Microbial Diversity held in Woods Hole, MA. During this course I will be trained in state-of-the-art techniques to study microbial biodiversity and to characterize metabolic activity. This will provide essential tools to investigate the ecological processes that underly spatial patterns in stream biofims, ultimately linking important ecosystem processes with stream hydrodynamic regimes.


Aryan Rad Rezaei, IBOIS

I enrolled in the doctoral program of EDCE, EPFL and started my Ph.D at the Laboratory for Timber Constructions (IBOIS) in July 2016. My research is mainly focused on the mechanical characterization and structural optimization of spatial timber-plate structures using wood-wood connections, for which multiple experimental investigations have been already carried out. In parallel, I have recently introduced and developed a new modeling strategy for timber plate structures. The strategy, which is referred to as “macro models”, aims to simulate the global behavior of timber plate structures, reduce the computational expense and improve the efficiency of the design workflow.

An interdisciplinary design framework, where the knowledge of architects, engineers, and computer and robotic scientists is combined, is critical to my doctoral studies. My plan is to develop an automatic algorithm which integrate Computer-aided Design (CAD), the macro models, and open-source computational/structural platforms for Computer-aided Engineering (CAE) analyses and design workflow. The framework aims to develop a dialog between architects and engineers, and links the state of the research to the structural engineering practice. During my academic visit to the research lab of Professor Dr. Henry Burton, my co-supervisor, at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), I aim to finalize my research on developing the interactive tool for performance assessment of spatial timber plate systems at the macro scale.

Winners of the “EPFL Outstanding Ph.D Thesis Distinction in Civil and Environmental Engineering”


Dr. Davide Wuthrich

Dr. Luca Carraro

Mobility Award

The Ph.D Mobility Award is given by the doctoral program in Civil and Environmental Engineering (EDCE) to encourage good PhD students within the program to go for an academic visit to an external research institution.

The amount of the award may range from CHF 1,000 up to CHF 5,000 and is transfered on the laboratory account.

Applications should be sent to the EDCE office, and contain the following documents:

  • A short (1 page) motivation letter written by the candidate describing:
    • the current progress of the PhD research,
    • the host institution and the academic contact,
    • the expected added-value of the stay,
    • the link of the work performed at the host institution with the research plan of the thesis.
  • A short note from the thesis director supporting the application.
  • A short note from the hosting lab confirming the possibility to host the student.
  • A description of the source of funding that will cover the expenses related to the stay.
  • The complete curriculum vitae.

The application package must be contained in a single ZIP file and sent to the EDCE office by email

The following criteria will be used for the selection:

  • Motivation for the stay.
  • Quality of the current research. In particular, it is expected that the student has some significant piece of work to present at the host institution upon arrival.
  • Relevance of the host institution.
  • Financial feasibility of the stay.
  • Ongoing collaboration between the host professor and the EPFL laboratory is a plus.

There are two deadlines every year for the applications: May 31 and October 30.

The applications will not be considered:

  • if the PhD student has already received a PhD Mobility Award from the program
  • if the PhD student has not passed the candidacy exam