Yves Bellouard was born near Paris, where he studied physics at Université Pierre et Marie Curie. He then came to the EPFL for a PhD in microengineering and went on to win the Omega scientific prize. After that, he went to the United States where he was a researcher at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) near New York for four years.He returned to Europe as associate professor at the Eindhoven University of Technologies in the Netherlands. He returned to the EPFL in 2015 and now heads the Galatea laboratory. He was recently awarded the Richemont Chair in ‘Multiscale Manufacturing Technologies’.
I feel at home here. There is a real sense of community, with everything made possible by the closeness with the CSEM and the HE-Arc campus. It makes for an interesting cluster. It’s the first time in my career I’ve come across an environment like this. The hub benefits from an environment that cannot be found anywhere else in the region, particularly a very significant microtechnology industrial fabric, and synergies develop easily. Everyone knows one another, everyone speaks to one another. Microcity is really a meeting place.
There are so many benefits. Firstly, you have to remember that, from an academic viewpoint, nothing has changed: I have retained all my freedom. What is valuable is that we can talk to Richemont on a regular basis. That has created an ecosystem that helps researchers keep their finger on the pulse. In research, we often have to answer fundamental questions. Yet the ultimate outcome has to remain applicable in the real world.
We observe how a laser can transform matter to give it new properties, properties it didn’t have before. In real terms, this can lead to brand new manufacturing processes for the future. Generally speaking, it takes around ten years before a laboratory research subject can be applied in industry.