Auke Jan Ijspeert

Full Professor Biorobotics Laboratory, EPFL
Adjunct faculty Department of Computer Science, University of Southern California

Short bio

A.J.IjspeertAuke Ijspeert is a full professor at the EPFL (the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology at Lausanne), 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 applied machine learning. He is interested in using numerical simulations and robots to get a better understanding of animal locomotion and movement control, and in using inspiration from biology to design novel types of robots and locomotion controllers (see for instance Ijspeert et al, Science, Vol. 315. no. 5817, pp. 1416 – 1420, 2007 and Ijspeert, Science Vol. 346, no. 6206, 2014). 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, and CLAWAR 2015. He is member of the Board of Reviewing Editors of Science magazine, and associate editor for Soft Robotics and for the International Journal of Humanoid Robotics. He has acted as an associate editor for the IEEE Transactions on Robotics (2009-2013) and as 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 6 international conferences (BioADIT2004, SAB2004, AMAM2005, BioADIT2006, LATSIS2006, SSRR2016), and a program committee member of over 50 conferences. Please visit the BioRob Home and BioRob publication pages or have a look at his CV for more information about his research and publications (See also Ijspeert’s Google Scholar Profile).

Research Interests

  • Articulated and biologically inspired robotics
  • Modular robotics
  • Humanoid robotics
  • Control of locomotion and of coordinated movements in robots
  • Computational neuroscience, neural networks, sensorimotor coordination in animals
  • Nonlinear dynamics, systems of coupled oscillators
  • Optimization and learning algorithms
  • Numerical simulation
  • Dynamic simulators of articulated rigid bodies


See the BioRob publications page


  • [co-author] The Industrial Robot Highly Commended Award for a paper presented at the 18th International Conference on Climbing and Walking Robots (CLAWAR 2015), Hangzhou, September 2015.
  • [co-author] Best paper award at IEEE RO-MAN 2014, the 23rd IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication, 25-29th August 2014 Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
  • [co-author] Best paper award at the IEEE-RAS Humanoids 2007 conference.
  • [co-author] with Ludovic Righetti (first author), finalist (out of three) for the Best Student Paper Award at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA06) out of 1756 submitted, 680 accepted articles.
  • [co-author] The Industrial Robot Highly Commended Award for a paper presented at the 8th International Conference on Climbing and Walking Robots (CLAWAR 2005), September 2005.
  • Award from the Latsis Foundation to organize the EPFL-Latsis 2006 symposium at EPFL (Main organizer). Co-organizers: Martin Hasler (LANOS, EPFL), Wulfram Gerstner (LCN, EPFL), Henry Markram (LNMC, EPFL), Aude Billard (ASL, EPFL), and Dario Floreano (LIS, EPFL), August 2005.
  • Second prize of the First EURON – Technology Transfer Award to Olivier Michel for his robot simulator Webots; in the framework of a CTI grant between Auke Ijspeert and Olivier Michel (Cyberbotics), March 2004.
  • Overall Best Paper Award (out of 1,172 submitted, 689 accepted papers) at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2002), Washington D.C., May 2002.
  • Young Professorship award from the Swiss National Science Foundation (2002-2006)
  • Grant for young researcher from the Swiss National Science Foundation (1999-2000).
  • Marie Curie Scholarship from the European Commission (13% acceptance rate, 1997-1998).
  • Winner of the University of Edinburgh “robot-rugby” competition 1996 (out of 16 teams).
  • Grant for young researcher from the Swiss National Science Foundation (1995-1996).

Current and Past Funding

  • Swiss National Science Foundation,
  • SystemsX, The Swiss Initiative in Systems Biology
  • US National Science Foundation,
  • European Commission (Information Society Technologies),
  • EPFL (two FIFO grants and one equipment grant),
  • European Space Agency,
  • French Ministere de la Recherche et de la Technologie (program Neurosciences Integratives et Computationnelles),
  • Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI),
  • Microsoft Research Cambridge.

Edited Books (Proceedings)

SAB2004 Proceedings BioADIT2004 Proceedings BioADIT2006 Proceedings EPFL-Latsis 2006 Proceedings