“EPFL Without Barriers”: accessible and inclusive

EPFL aims to provide a welcoming, accessible and inclusive environment for all its students and staff, so that everyone can thrive and succeed.

EPFL attaches particular importance to the diversity of its community, which contributes to its intellectual, scientific and cultural wealth. However, day-to-day life at EPFL still involves obstacles and challenges that are out of place, and which particularly affect people with neurodiversity, chronic illnesses or sensory, physical or other impairments.

The “EPFL Without Barriers” project was launched in 2023 with the aim to assess existing social and environmental barriers, and to formulate recommendations to improve the School’s ability to welcome its entire community under the best possible conditions. The project is equally aimed at students, academic staff as well as administrative and technical staff.

Assessment and recommendations

The conclusions of the self-evaluation phase, organised in seven thematic areas with recommendations and priorities for future actions, were validated by the project Steering Committee on 20 December 2023 and presented to the EPFL Direction on 30 January 2024.

  • Gisou van der Goot, VPT (chair)
  • Kathryn Hess Bellwald, AVP-SAO
  • Pierre Dillenbourg, AVP-E
  • Claudia Noth, VPO-DRH
  • Franco Vigliotti, VPO-DDC
  • Eric Du Pasquier, VPO-SE
  • Rafael Corvalan, VPO-DSI
  • Gaël Hürlimann, Médiacom
  • Basile Morier, student body representative, member of the School Assembly
  • Antoine Hoffmann, intermediary body representative, member of the School Assembly
  • Frédéric Dreyer, administrative and technical staff representative, member of the School Assembly
  • Fabienne Segu, external specialist, Forum handicap Vaud
  • Alireza Darvishy, external specialist, Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW)
  • Sonja Moghaddari, coordination VPT-EGA
  • Helene Füger, coordination support VPT-EGA
  • Damien Quaglia, AVP-SAO SAE
  • Isabelle Cahour, AVP-E GE
  • Gaël Revelin, VPA-SISBE
  • Matteo Galli, VPA-EM-APR
  • Jessica Pallie, VPO-DRH RHPP
  • Barry Stanton, VPO-DC CNST
  • Marie-Noëlle Morais, VPO-SE SIS-SEC
  • Natalie Meystre, VPO-DSI
  • Maureen Décosterd, P-MEDIACOM MEV
  • Xurxo-Adriàn Entenza, P-MEDIACOM MEC
  • Alexandre Saint-Amour, VPT-DUR
  • Claire Saout, VPT-DUR
  • and 6 people with a physical or sensory impairment, neurodiversity or chronic illness (3 men and 3 women from the student body, administrative staff or scientific staff)

Synthesis from the call for testimonials

Feed-back and input from persons affected by or witnessing social or environmental barriers to inclusion at EPFL was gathered through a call for testimonials between May 31 and August 31, 2023.

Next steps: Developping an action plan

Recommendations in the self-evaluation report have been accompanied by proposed actions. Work on some of these may be taken up already in 2024. Others are to be addressed as of 2025-2028.  They will be taken up and clarified as part of the development of EPFL’s 2025-2028 Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan.

Actions expected to be implemented as of 2024 include:

  • Definition of an institutional approach and sectorial guidelines to inclusivity.
  • Integration of accessibility principles and standards from the outset of a project.
  • Strengthen and coordinate EPFL resources, develop training and awareness-raising actions.
  • Improve communication on existing possibilities and resources.
  • Involve persons directly concerned in designing and testing solutions.
  • Define priority mobility routes on campus and guarantee their accessibility.

Resources and legal basis


“My goal is to use my experience to help others”

PhD student Cristiano Trevisin has been hearing-impaired since childhood. He’s working to make EPFL more accessible for people facing various barriers.

L'équipe de "MedScan", (de gauche à droite) Thibaut Stoltz, Alexander Popescu, Mehdi Krichen et Blanche Duron. © Alain Herzog 2023 EPFL

EPFL students develop two apps to help the visually impaired

As part of the Assistive Technologies Challenge, EPFL students developed two apps to help people with low or no vision.

Nathalie Bui © Alain Herzog / EPFL 2023

“I’ve become expert in camouflaging myself”

Nathalie Bui, a first-year Master’s student in EPFL’s chemistry program, has Asperger’s syndrome – a mild form of autism. She took part in a panel discussion on 9 October as part of the 2023 Health Days.


Work environments for neurodiverse people. Round table on October 9, 2023 during the EPFL Health Days


If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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