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IIE - actualités / news

A new SNF grant for ARVE (GR-KAP)

Professor Jed Kaplan and his group were successful in getting a SNF grant (funding for a PhD) for a project entitled "The MACCHIA project 'Reconstructing human induced land-cover change during the Holocene"


The land cover of the Mediterranean region is thought to have undergone considerable transformation in the 10,000 years since the last Ice Age, but the cause, extent and impact of this transformation is poorly known. The MACCHIA project is a new SNF funded program that will attempt to answer a long standing scientific question; How has land cover changed in the Mediterranean, and what has this meant for both climate and society since the establishment of civilization?  

The Mediterranean region has a long history of land exploitation for agriculture, fuel and construction going back through the Classical Roman and Greek periods to some of the Worlds earliest complex societies over 6000 years ago. Overprinted on these human impacts are also natural climatic changes that have also resulted in changes in forest composition and distribution. The relative role of these natural and human factors in land cover change remains a source of debate, but is critical in understanding the long-term stability and sustainability of the natural landscape, and the development and impact of early human societies prior to the Industrial revolution. Some of the Worlds earliest environmental problems are thought to have occurred in the Mediterranean as a direct result of deforestation and erosion due to human action. There is also an increasing awareness of how humans may also have been able to change the climate itself through land cover change, as a result of biophysical and biogeochemical feedbacks to the atmosphere.

The MACCHIA project will provide the first comprehensive attempt to reconstruct pre-historical land cover change throughout the Mediterranean. This will be achieved using a new and novel technique that links a traditional pollen-based approach with land suitability and dynamic vegetation modelling. Pollen preserved in lake and bog sediments provides a unique source of information on past land cover change, but only for the immediate region of the lake site. Suitable sites are widely scattered however, and many are remote from the fertile and well-drained lowlands where early farming and land clearance was most likely concentrated. The MACCHIA project will overcome these problems by using a modeling approach to infer the land cover between the pollen sites, taking into account changing climate and soils, as well as the likely intensity of human impact. The resulting detailed maps of land cover change will allow us for the first time to directly quantify the role of land cover change in human history, and in relation to climate feedbacks.

Posted by Marie Sudki at 14:13
New Travel Grants SCNAT+ for Master Students

The academy of natural sciences (SCNAT+) provides travel grants to young junior scientists.

Our grants are particulary aimed at Master students who can apply for funding for their fieldwork. Detailed information can be found in the flyer as well as from the website mentioned in the document.

Prof. Dr. Peter Nagel
Chair commission for travel grants SCNAT+

Posted by Marie Sudki at 15:49
Prof. Vera Slaveykova appointed Editor

IIE is happy to announce that Professor Vera Slaveykova has been elected Editor to the Environmental Science and Pollution Research Journal where she is in charge of topics related to "Inorganics, Metals and Inorganic Nanomaterials".

Posted by Marie Sudki at 15:11
DISAL partner of huge NCCR on Robotics

DISAL (Distributed Intelligent Systems and Algorithms Laboratory) is one of the participating laboratory in the NCCR-ROBOTICS (all the others at EPFL are STI; ETHZ, USI-SUPSI, UNIZH, EMPA are also part of the consortium).


"A rapidly aging population requires technology that increases their autonomy and mobility well into old age—the demand for these kinds of robots will surely increase. This center will develop interactive “helper” robots, a new generation of intelligent machines that perform tasks for people in their everyday environments and safely co-exist with them. And while most of today’s robots are designed according to engineering concepts used for manufacturing plants, they are not optimal for building robots that have to perform in a home environment. To achieve the grand goal of developing helper robots, fundamental breakthroughs in technology, materials, and control methods will be required. An NCCR constitutes an ideal and timely platform for creating the desired synergies bearing the potential of a quantum leap in robotic technology and further strengthening Switzerland’s already strong international position and visibility in human-oriented robotics. The NCCR will capitalize on the Swiss tradition in micro-engineering, precise manufacturing, and human-friendly technology, creating tremendous opportunities for knowledge and technology transfer at a point in history when developing robots with a human orientation is in a situation strategically similar to that of the nascent personal-computer industry 30 years ago...."

More information on: www.edi.admin.ch/aktuell/00705/00724/index.html

Posted by Marie Sudki at 12:51
Appointment for Prof Marc Parlange

Professor Marc Parlange, Dean of the ENAC School and head of the Laboratory of Environmental Fluids Mechanics and Hydrology (EFLUM), was elected for a three year mandate by the Swiss Academy of Science (SNAT) as President of the National Committee of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics, web site of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics: www.scnat.ch/f/netzwerk/index.php

Posted by Marie Sudki at 12:44
Inaugural lessons at IIE

IIE is pleased to announce the inaugural lectures of two of its professors:

at 17:15 Professor Alcherio Martinoli, head of the Distributed Intelligent Systems and Algorithms Laboratory (DISAL) on "Union is Strength but not for Free - Achievements and Grand Challenges in Distributed Intelligent Systems"

at 18:00 Professor Andrea Rinaldo, head of the Ecohydrology Laboratory (ECHO) on "Hydrologic Controls on the Spreading of Species, Populations and Pathogens of Water-borne Disease"

Both lectures were proposed on 10 March in auditorium CO1 of the EPFL campus.

Posted by Marie Sudki at 17:46
Pr Fernando Porté-Agel

IIE is happy to welcome a new professor, Fernando Porté-Agel, who has just started his activities with the New Year and has created a new group in Wind Engineering and Renewable Energy Laboratory (WIRE) located on the second floor, zone B of the GR Building.

The full address is as follows:

Professor Fernando Porté-Agel
GR B2 392 (GR Building)
Station 2
CH-1015 Lausanne

Direct phone: +41 (0)21 693 2726
Secretary (Mrs Corinne Weibel): +41 (0)21 693 6138
Email: fernando.porte-agel@epfl.ch

Posted by Marie Sudki at 12:21
DISAL participation in "OpenSense" SNF nano-tera projects

IIE congratulates Professor Alcherio Martinoli, director of DISAL, for his partnership in an important SNF nano-tera project entitled "OpenSense: Open sensor networks for air quality monitoring", project leader Professor Karl Aeberer LSIR-EPFL.

More information: www.nano-tera.ch/projects/401.php



Posted by Marie Sudki at 14:46
LTE et le projet SwissExperiment

Mesurer et quantifier les précipitations dans le milieu alpin: tel est le but du nouveau radar mis en place par le LTE du professeur Alexis Berne de l'EPFL à Davos.

Cet instrument permettra de savoir avec davantage de précision où, combien et quand tombent les gouttes de pluie ou les flocons de neige. Le but est de pouvoir améliorer les prévisions météorologiques et les bulletins d'avalanches, ainsi que d'avoir une meilleure appréciation de l'état des réserves d'eau.

La publication "Südostschweiz" (voir pdf) et l'émission Impatience de la "Radio suisse romande" traitent de ce sujet.

Posted by Marie Sudki at 15:39
LMCE's news and awards

IIE's Environmental Chemistry Modeling Laboratory (LMCE) has some interesting news:

  1. Peter Tentscher, doctoral student, won a poster award at the Model(l)ing'09 Workshop in Erlangen, Germany (September 09)
  2. Jennifer Guerard, School of Earth Sciences - Ohio State University, won a US Science Foundation International Research Fellowship to work jointly with LMCE and EAWAG (September 09)
  3. The Swiss National Science Foundation has approved a subsidy for a joint LMCE-EAWAG project entitled "Using quantum chemistry to assess reactivity of contaminants in surface waters" (September 09)

and last but not least, our best congratulations to Professor Samuel Arey who was award the "Prix Polysphère" of "Best Teacher 2009" given by ENAC students (Magistrale, October 09)


Posted by Marie Sudki at 13:40
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