The concept

Journalists and participants attending the WCSJ2019 in Lausanne will have the unique opportunity to visit labs of EPFL (Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, one of the two Swiss federal institutes of technology), Unil (Université de Lausanne) and CHUV (Lausanne university hospital) during the Conference. Thanks to the concentration of high-level research within a tiny piece of land, these visits can take place during the lunch breaks. Free finger-food/sandwiches will be provided, so that the discovery of the labs and the talks to the researcher can last around 90 minutes each day.

The interests

The research institutions that will host the 2019 conference are eager to share their work with the expert journalists gathered in Lausanne. They will also host presentations from the two other partners institutions not based on the Lausanne Campus (University of Geneva, CERN). In total, a list of around 30 different labs and presentations will be made available to chose from, each for groups of 10-15 people. And this on the three main days of the Conference (Tuesday to Thursday).

The journalists, on their side, will have the chance to harvest a vast choice of take-home stories. Their editors will appreciate that the time and money they’ve invested in sending their journalists to Lausanne will then transform into first-hand science articles.

Practical information

Attendance to the Lunch@Labs will be free of charge, but registrations on the WCSJ website will be mandatory, for obvious organizational reasons. Interactive plans with pathways to the labs will be linked to the program.

Proposed labs (to be confirmed and enlarged)

The labs that will be open to visits and demonstration during WCSJ2019 will include, among others:

EPFL’s Translational neural engineering lab (Prof. Silvestro Micera)
Prosthesis that react to direct commands of a physically impaired’s nerves are key to help them regain natural mobility. Micera’s lab developed a hand prosthesis as well as exoskeletons – all controlled via nerve signals.

EPFL/CHUV’s Translational research facility for spinal cord regeneration (Prof. Grégoire Courtine)
A lesion on the spinal cord leading to lower limb paralysis can be bypassed by an electrostimulation device, controlled by a brain-computer interface. A specific training device, that will be on demo, now allows impaired humans to walk again – and even to regenerate the damaged tissues.

Red’s, research and expertise center in anti-doping sciences (Prof. Martial Saugy)
Part of UNIL’s Sport sciences Institute, Red’s is an international reference center in research and expertise for anti-doping sciences. Lausanne, hometown of the International Olympic Committee, and hosting many international sport federations is a natural spot for such a center.

EPFL’s Biorobotics laboratory (Prof. Auke Ijspeert)
Through evolution, Nature generally selects the best possible option when it comes to terrestrial or aerial locomotion. Today, roboticists take their inspiration from living organisms to develop the best performing robots, used for instance on search and rescue missions.

UNIL forensics lab (Prof. Christophe Champod)
UNIL’s School of criminal sciences was the world’s very  rst. At the cutting-edge of research, it offers a complete formation in forensic sciences. Technology now offers innovative tools to harvest and exploit tiny traces on crime scenes.

EPFL’s Swiss Plasma Center (Prof. Ambrogio Fasoli)
Thermonuclear fusion is expected to have a positive energy balance before 2050, paving the way to a potentially infinite and clean power supply for the world. To achieve this ambitious goal, scientists need to understand and control perfectly plasmas that reach millions of degrees of temperature. EPFL’s Tokamak is one of the three European facilities that have been selected to take part in this international research.

EPFL’s Laboratory for timber constructions IBOIS (Prof. Yves Weinand)
Huge wooden structures that hold together without any screw, full frameworks that don’t need any beam: wood is again an ultramodern building material, with a positive carbon footprint. It is even being used for skyscrapers.

EPFL’s Laboratory of Hydraulic constructions (succ. Anton Schleiss)
Swiss alps have countless dams. Gigantic mockups with real streams of water are built at EPFL to better understand phenomena such as erosion and sediment transport.

Big data @EPFL: thousand years of archives on a server (Prof. Frédéric Kaplan)
The Italian city of Venice has been a huge commercial and cultural hotspot for centuries. This tremendous activity gave birth to kilometers of paper archives, calligraphed in numerous languages. With the Venice Time Machine project, EPFL has digitized these archives and feed this enormous data to computing algorithms developed to make sense out of it.

EPFL’s Intelligent systems laboratory (Prof. Dario Floreano)
Demo of collaborating robots, e.g. drones  ying as a swarm – and how this can be used to set up an emergency wi-  network over a devastated area.


EPFL’s Swiss EdTech collider (Prof. Pierre Dillenbourg)
Education technologies have become a big economical player. New technologies are developed all over the world to improve education on a wide scale. EPFL hosts a “collider” of research groups and start-up companies that work in that  eld.

EPFL’s Learning Algorithms and Systems Laboratory (Aude Billard)
Industrial robots like to play, too! Thanks to ultrafast calculations, Aude Billard’s lab has pro- grammed a robotic arm that catches anything you throw at it.£


Immunotherapy at UNIL-CHUV oncology department (Prof. George Coukos)
Immunotherapy is foreseen as a very promising track to  ght cancers. Prof. Coukos’ lab develops a therapy based on the patients’ T-cells, multiplied in the lab and then re-injected, showing a high anti-tumoral response.

UNIL-EPFL CASA, center for Advanced Surface Analysis (Prof. Lukas Baumgartner)
UNIL’s School of Geosciences and Environment hosts two ion probe facilities that allow for ana- lyzing in much details the chemical formula of a compound. They can be used e.g. do detect and describe precisely any atmospheric pollutant.

EPFL/UNIGE’s genetics and evolution laboratory (Prof. Denis Duboule)
What are the genetic regulatory mechanisms that underpin the formation of vertebrates? Over the last few years, this lab has focused on the Hox family of genes, that guide these processes. Pr Duboule is one of the best-known researchers in the field of developmental genomics.

UNIL’s Sport and Health Center (Prof. Bengt Kayser)
Visit of the facilities and demo on real-time effort analysis on actual “patients” (or volunteer journalists).



EPFL Innovation Park
Hundred and start-ups as well as R&D teams from large companies have settled at EPFL Innovation Park. They include Logitech, MotionPilot, MindMaze, PeugeotCitroën, Nestlé Research Center. They work in close relationship with the researchers and the labs, pushing further the boundaries of their innovative capacity.

Montreux Jazz Heritage Lab
EPFL has the mission to digitize, archive and enhance the recordings of the world-famous Montreux Jazz Festival, created in 1967. More than 5000 concerts in the highest possible quality can now be browsed through in an immersion facility developed by the EPFL+ECAL Lab.

Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences
Based on the EPFL Campus, the NIHS does fundamental research for the understanding of health and disease. Its objectives: to build the scientific platforms to elevate and expand the role of nutrition; to create knowledge to better define and target appropriate nutrition interventions; to apply these insights to the future of targeted nutrition for the maintenance of health.

Aquatis, the largest freshwater Aquarium in Europe
Aquarium-Vivarium Lausanne presents the animals through a totally immersive and interactive scenography using innovative digital technologies. It will take position as the largest freshwater Aquarium in Europe. More than an Aquarium or Vivarium, Aquatis is an exceptional trip through our planet’s most fascinating freshwater environments. Discover the aquatic fauna and flora of the five conti- nents with close to 2 million litres of water for some 46 aquariums/vivariums/ terrariums.

Proposed live partners’ presentations (to be confirmed and enlarged)

UNIGE’s Artificial and natural evolution laboratory (Prof. Michel Milinkovitch)

This lab investigates the developmental and evolutionary mechanisms that generate life’s diversity. It studies rare species of reptiles and other exotic animals, analysing the interactions between the physical and biological aspects behind the evolution of species. The research encompasses a number of disciplines, such as genomics, molecular development, mathematical modelling and numerical simulation.

UNIGE’s Applied physics group (Prof. Nicolas Gisin)

The groupe is playing a key role in the emerging field of quantum communication and related quantum technologies. Prof. Gisin’s team is working on theory and practice, as well as tackling subjects ranging from the basic to the applied.

UNIGE’s Neuroscience Laboratory (Prof. Christian Lüscher)

Professor Lüscher’s laboratory analyses the cellular mechanisms that underlie drug addiction and dependence. The lab examines the impact various drugs have on neuronal transmissions and how they cause irrepressible cravings. The team is identifying the neurons responsible for these dependencies using a genetic approach.

UNIGE’s Applied Physics Group (Prof. Jean-Pierre Wolf)

The Applied Physics Group led by Professor Jean-Pierre Wolf is actively working on ultrafast spectroscopy applications for use in biology, medicine and the environment. Prof. Wolf’s team has been developing new experimental schemes for understanding and controlling the molecular dynamics of biological systems since January 2005.