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Welcome aboard the digital version of EPFL’s annual report. You are about to embark on a virtual visit of our School, where you will learn about our three very real missions: teaching, research and innovation. And you’ll see for yourself all that we achieved in 2020, despite the pandemic.

Of course, we had to rethink some things last year. But that’s exactly what science and innovation are all about – and we’re extremely strong in those areas. For starters, we were able to shift all of our classes online in just a few days. My sincerest thanks go to our teachers, who went to great lengths to ensure our students could continue their studies uninterrupted and take their exams without a hitch. Unfortunately, our students didn’t get the full university experience, since we had to close the Satellite – our campus bar – cancel the Balélec music festival and put so many other social happenings on hold.

Our researchers, very admirably, were as driven as ever and worked hard throughout the year. On these pages, we highlight just some of the many research projects they brought to fruition despite the challenging circumstances. Many of our scientists even focused their energy on fighting the pandemic, either through their research at EPFL or their work on the Swiss government’s science task force.

Turning to innovation, 2020 was another record year for entrepreneurship at EPFL in terms of startup creation and funding. Maybe the pandemic jolted investors a little, reminding them that EPFL is a market place of ideas where experts from many disciplines come together and forge the types of knowledge that can change the world.

2020 will be remembered for the pandemic, but also for some amazing achievements. I am very proud to report that EPFL not only fulfilled its missions last year but also helped address some of the pressing challenges faced by our society. I wish to thank all of our teams, as well as our governing bodies, for their unfailing support and trust.

Your journey of discovery now begins – and I wish you bon voyage!

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