When even research has to reinvent itself

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2020 was a year full of challenges, including for our researchers. Imagine that from one day to the next, on that ill-fated 15 March, all our researchers were sent home, sometimes in the middle of experiments they’d been running for months. They had to find work-arounds – whether by relocating equipment at the last minute, adapting their procedures, making exceptions, or postponing certain tasks – so that they could continue their work as well as possible under the exceptional circumstances caused by the partial lockdown. Some of our scientists and engineers returned to their labs ahead of their colleagues, rearranging their research schedules in order to put their skills to work to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

We tip our hat to all our researchers. They have demonstrated uncommon resilience throughout the pandemic. Some of them even joined the Swiss government’s COVID-19 task force to contribute their expert advice to our policymakers. We’re sure that their efforts will eventually result in science being taken into greater consideration in political decisions.

But what’s really outstanding is that neither our researchers’ drive, nor the quality of the work they produced, was dampened by all the obstacles thrown up last year. That’s reflected in the number of journal articles they published, which was nearly unchanged from prior years.

On the following pages, we are pleased to give you just a small sample of their remarkable achievements in 2020. You’ll see that, as ever, they spanned a wide range of fields – one of the hallmarks of our School. You’ll also see that many of them were, unavoidably, related to the pandemic, either directly or indirectly.

2021 is shaping up to be just as challenging and just as ripe with opportunity. Between the pandemic, climate change and declining biodiversity, the future of our planet is being built on shakier ground. Scientific discovery can help shore up that foundation.

Ambrogio Fasoli, Associate Vice President for Research
Anna Fontcuberta i Morral, Associate Vice President for Centers and Platforms


34 available articles

Research | 35 articles