Auke Jan Ijspeert

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 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. Please visit the BioRob Home and BioRob publication pages for more information about his research and publications (See also Ijspeert’s Google Scholar Profile).

Research Interests

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


See the BioRob publications page and Google Scholar Profile


  • IEEE Fellow, for contributions to biorobotics for locomotion. January 2020.
  • [co-author] Best paper prize at CLAWAR 2019, The 22nd International Conference on Climbing and Walking Robots, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 26–28 August 2019.
  • [co-author] Best conference paper award at SAB 2018, 15th International Conference on the Simulation of Adaptive Behavior, Frankfurt, Germany. 14-17 August 2018.
  • [co-author] Second place best conference paper award at BIOROB 2016, the sixth IEEE RAS/EMBS International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics, Singapore, June 2016.
  • [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

  • Human Frontier Science Program,
  • Swiss National Science Foundation,
  • Human Brain Project,
  • SystemsX, The Swiss Initiative in Systems Biology,
  • European Commission (FP7 and H2020),
  • EPFL,
  • 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.