Missions & Values

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, with the support of the Dalle Molle Foundation. Inspired by Angelo Dalle Molle visionary approach, the institute’s vision is to promote quality of life through scientific progress made in relation to human and media computing. Therefore the motto: "Artificial Intelligence for Society".

Our missions

The Institute is recognized by the Swiss Confederation as of national significance and part of the strategic domain of the Federal Institutes of Technology and is supported under the Federal Law on the Promotion of Research and Innovation (LERI), art. 15 Al. 3b. 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 Innosuisse, 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.

Our values

In line with Dalle Molle's scientific and humanist core values, Idiap is directly contributing to scientific progress in order to improve the quality of life. In addition to its scientific activities, the Institute is also committed, at its own scale, to:

  • Advance women in science and engineering

Idiap's commitment encompasses several elements, such as the participation to the national "Futur en tous genres" day to promote gender imbalanced careers towards young girls.

At the research level, focusing specifically in the area of Artificial Intelligence in the widest sense, the institute offers a dedicated Fellowship Program for Female Researchers and proactively consults its Diversity Promotion Committee during the recruitment process for senior positions to foster female careers.

A dedicated Gender Equality Plan has been approved by Idiap's management. This document will be improved and adapted in collaboration with the internal Diversity Promotion Committee.

  • Fight climate change

Idiap is currently assessing its carbon footprint to identify the possible leverages to reduce it. The three main emission sources are: travels to scientific conferences, computing, and institute's building functioning.

For years, Idiap already aimed for a 50% ratio between conference and journal publications for its researchers to avoid travel to less renowned conferences only to increase publication rate. Today, we are willing to diminish the imprint of the remaining travels, .e.g. by choosing means of transport emitting less CO2.

  • Promote diversity in the working place

Beyond gender imbalance, Idiap is keen to promote diversity in a broader meaning, including gender, sexual, religious, social and cultural identities. A dedicated internal committee has been created. More information will be available soon.