Human & Media Computing

The Idiap Research Institute is an independent, nonprofit, research foundation affiliated with Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). Its activities encompass basic research, training (graduate and post-graduate levels), and technology transfer in the areas of multimedia information management, perceptual and cognitive systems, social media, biometric person recognition, multimodal information interfaces, and large scale machine learning.


Idiap at a glance

The Idiap Research Institute is among the most active independent research institutions in information technology. Based in Martigny (Valais/Switzerland), the Idiap Research Institute is a non-profit foundation that conducts basic research and development in the area of multimedia information management. Idiap's activities can be divided into five complementary research themes and ten application areas.

Idiap was founded in 1991 by the Town of Martigny, the State of Valais, EPFL (Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne), the University of Geneva and Swisscom. Since 2008, Idiap has reinforced its connection with Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne through a joint development plan and a strategic alliance with the "ETH Domain". Several of Idiap's scientists hold an EPFL academic title and are teaching graduate and undergraduate courses. They also supervise students who pursue their doctoral thesis research at Idiap.

The director of the Institute is Prof. Hervé Bourlard, also professor at EPFL and Director of the LIDIAP Laboratory.

Idiap's budget, which amounts to more than 10 million Swiss francs, is 53% financed by research projects awarded following competitive processes, and 47% by public funds. There are a little bit more than 100 staff members in residence at Idiap, including senior researchers (principal investigators), researchers, research associates, post-doctoral fellows, PhD students, and visiting researchers. Administrative staff provides unique computational and research support services. Since 2007, all the personnel work at Centre du Parc in Martigny, where it currently occupies 2,500 m2 of premises over four floors.





The Idiap Research Institute is recognized by the Swiss confederation as part of the strategic domain of the Swiss federal institutes of technology and is supported under the Federal Act on the Promotion of Research and Innovation (RIPA) article 15). The institute’s vision is to promote quality of life through scientific progress made in relation to human and media computing. Idiap's activities are oriented in accordance with three complementary missions:

Research: Conducting fundamental research projects at the highest level in its preferred areas, thus taking its place among the best on a national, European and global scale. Idiap benefits from a wide national and international network of partners and works actively with large universities, public and private research centers, etc. This collaboration is always implemented through formal research projects, including SNSF, EU (and sometime US) research programs.

Technology Transfer: Idiap is currently amongst the most important research center in Valais also putting special emphasis on research software maintenance, to facilitate technology take-up, technology transfer, creation of spin-offs, or attracting startups. As discussed later there is an entire team /currently around 12 people) devoted to these important aspects, and working in close collaboration with CTI/KTI, as well as the IdeArk incubator.

Academic and Training Activities: Through our academic anchoring with EPFL (and the EDEE and EDIC Doctoral Programs), our teaching activities at EPFL, as well as our connections with numerous other academic institutions, we also fund and supervise a large number of PhD students (35 per year on average), while also hosting international master and intern students. Numerous Idiap internal activities towards improving personal research and communication skills are also provided.



Key figures


  • Budgetary Resources (year 2016)

    • Total budget : 10.2 million
    • Public funding : 47%
    • Financing from projects : 53%

  • Human Resources (December 2015)

    • 2 professors
    • 2 seniors lecturers MER
    • 14 permanent and senior researchers and scientific collaborator
    • 16 postdoc
    • 26 PhD Students
    • 11 development engineers
    • 6 system engineers
    • 10 internships (average/year)
    • 7 administration staff
    • 29 nationalities
  • Scientific activities (year 2015)

    • participation in fifty-eight research programs
    • project management in more than twenty-five consortia
    • 232 scientific publications (118 peer reviewed, 114 internal)
    • 8 doctoral theses

Founding partners


  • City of Martigny

  • State of Valais

  • EPFL

  • University of Geneva

  • Swisscom