SBB-EPFL Research Initiative

Fostering knowledge and solutions for the future of mobility.

Introduction & Objectives 

The Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) are the backbone of the Swiss public transport system. SBB has been transporting passengers and goods for over 100 years, and therefore making an important contribution to Switzerland’s quality of life and competitiveness.

In the past years the demand of mobility underwent a profound and comprehensive change. Customer needs changed, disruptive technical possibilities (Digitalization) and new mobility requirements as well as regulatory developments are changing markets and business models.

Within the SBB Strategy 2030, opportunities presented by these changes and innovations for profitable solutions are being developed. Therefore, it is essential to support research as a driver for knowledge exchange with business units, and as contribution towards finding the best solutions and innovative projects.

This requires an effort from both an academic and business partner. In view of its leading role as a mobility provider, SBB is willing to support research and development in this area together with EPFL as a strategic partner. Activities, exchange and research results are intended to contribute towards fostering knowledge and expertise, and solution proposals for the further development of the mobility of the future as well as the transport infrastructure and business areas of SBB.

Focus Areas

SBB-CFF and EPFL have identified the following topics who are of mutual interest:

  • Increasing the flexibility and resilience of the railway system.
  • Ensuring the robustness of the railway infrastructure and increasing efficiency and productivity.
  • Exploiting the potential of technology and digitalization for integrated mobility.
  • Sustainability and circular economy along the entire value chain.

This list is not exhaustive, SBB will have the freedom to suggest new topics or change topics for the various calls for projects.

Research Topics 2024

Additional ressources

The 1st SBB Research Call is open

Deadline for submission of Expression of interest – June 30th, 2024.


Composition and role of the scientific committee.


SBB-EPFL Research Initiave Workshop – May 28th, 2024.


Vice Presidency for Innovation

EPFL Innovation Park, Building J

CH – 1015 Lausanne

[email protected]