Engagement with Society

As a science and technology university with a mission of research, education and innovation, we have a direct impact on society. In order to have a positive impact, we believe it is essential to engage in dialogue and exchange with the society and to make science accessible, understandable and attractive to the general public. Our role is also to stimulate interest in the MINT disciplines (mathematics, computer science, natural sciences and technology) and to promote inclusive education. By educating, informing and sharing knowledge, we will be able to find sustainable solutions to current and future challenges.

Educate and inform

EPFL’s education and science outreach services offer a wide range of school and extra-curricular activities to help disseminate scientific and technological knowledge to the general public. Through thematic workshops, camps and various events, the aim is to inspire young people to get involved in the MINT disciplines (mathematics, computer science, natural sciences and technology).

EPFL’s central communications unit, Mediacom, organises a number of events that give the general public access to scientific knowledge and help them understand the challenges of tomorrow. Through various communication channels (news channel, magazine, social networks, etc.), Mediacom also informs the general public about scientific news and cultivates dialogue with society by presenting the teeming life of the campus from different angles and formats.

EPFL Immersion Week (SEMIEL) is a programme designed for all teachers of 7th and 8th year Harmos. Through immersion in a laboratory and thematic course modules, the programme aims to sharpen scientific thinking, enhance analytical and critical skills, and equip teachers with the tools they need to teach what they have learnt to their students.

EPFL is a partner of the MINT Vaud exhibition, which aims to arouse the interest of the schoolchilds in grades 5 to 8 Harmos (8-12 years old), particularly girls, about MINT subjects (mathematics, computer science, natural sciences and technology). Through experimentation and games, the aim is to help them discover the richness of these fields. The exhibition brings together companies, universities and universities of applied sciences.

New technologies are reshaping education. They offer promising educational opportunities, but they also entail risks. The aim of the Digital Education for Equity in Primary Schools (DEEP) consortium is to use research to implement sustainable and equitable digital education in primary schools. Supported by the Jacobs Foundation, it brings together seven Swiss universities, including the EPFL, which coordinates the consortium with the Zurich University of Teacher Education.

The LEARN Centre for Learning Sciences aims to promote innovation in education and respond to the challenges posed by the digital transformation of our society. It brings together all those involved in educational research. They collaborate with teaching staff and other people active in the field to carry out pioneering projects at all levels of the Swiss education system, analyse them and transform the findings into innovative and sustainable teaching practices.

BeLEARN is an initiative of Bern Canton. This competence center brings together five universities, including EPFL. It aims to advance digital education through a translational approach (research and practice are interconnected). Within this multidisciplinary framework, universities, educational research teams and start-ups collaborate on research projects based on the development of digital skills in education, the pedagogical use of digital resources and tools, and learning analytics.

Design sustainable solutions

Bringing together EPFL, the University of Lausanne and the Institute for Management Development (IMD), the E4S center’s mission is to inspire and activate the transition towards a resilient and inclusive economy within the limits of the planet. This is achieved by training responsible managers, supporting research projects that help policy-makers and industry to adopt best practice, and creating a Swiss ecosystem of sustainable innovation that encourages collaboration.

Sustainable development, humanitarian action and PeaceTech are the three fields of action of the EssentialTech Centre, which brings together the expertise of various EPFL laboratories. Its aim is to develop innovative and robust technological and scientific solutions to combat poverty, improve humanitarian aid and promote peace.

The Center for Climate Impact and Action (CLIMACT) is a joint project of EPFL and UNIL. Its mission is to pave the way towards a sustainable future by promoting interdisciplinary and inter-institutional research and the implementation of cutting-edge initiatives that address the social, scientific and technological dimensions of climate change mitigation and adaptation.

MAKE interdisciplinary projects enable students to put their theoretical knowledge into practice and acquire new skills. Many of the projects focus on finding sustainable solutions to environmental or health challenges, such as CO2 capture, low-tech housing, sustainable agriculture, preserving biodiversity, developing biosensors or making everyday life easier for people with disabilities.

Encourage open and responsible research

As a public institution, EPFL encourages open science, so that all of society can have access to scientific knowledge (research, publications, data, code, etc.). Making research accessible offers greater transparency, with the possibility of scrutinising, verifying, reproducing, re-analysing and improving upon existing information. It also avoids duplication of effort, enables resources to be used effectively, and opens new paths for discovery and collaboration.

Intellectual integrity and scientific probity are at the heart of EPFL’s values. The School supports researchers in dealing with ethical issues and compliance requirements, and raises awareness of good scientific practice. The Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Ethics Network (SEEN) is active in the field of education. Through research, courses and projects, it aims to equip students with the ethical skills they need to become responsible leaders.