EPFL, HEIG-VD and UNIL form a strategic alliance to strengthen digital trust
5 February 2024
In an effort to bolster the digital trust and cybersecurity landscape, EPFL, HEIG-VD, and UNIL have joined forces under the aegis of the State of Vaud, unveiling the [seal] Program.
As digitization becomes increasingly central to innovation and, by extension, to the economy, the imperative for trust and security within this digital transformation cannot be overstated. The [seal] Program, deriving its name from the notion of a seal certifying the legality or authenticity of a document, embodies the ideals of security and trust.
This strategic alliance between EPFL, the School of Engineering and Management (HEIG-VD), and the University of Lausanne (UNIL) represents a collaborative endeavor to address the myriad challenges associated with digital trust and cybersecurity. “There is a clear, yet underexploited, complementarity between the specialty areas of the three institutions – deep tech at EPFL, applied cybersecurity at HEIG-VD, and cybercrime at UNIL. The [seal] Program will provide concrete opportunities for collaboration, thus opening new avenues for innovation,” explained Sylvain Pasini, Professor at HEIG-VD, who played a pivotal role in shaping and launching the program.
With a yearly budget of CHF 600,000 for the next five years, the [seal] Program will focus on three main pillars: funding collaborative innovation projects, offering continuing education programs, and organizing joint events. The initial phase will prioritize the funding of collaborative innovation projects, with a thematic call for projects already underway.
Projects eligible for funding must involve at least two academic partners (EPFL, HEIG-VD, UNIL) and one implementation partner (a business, non-profit organization, or public administration) and demonstrate direct benefits for the socio-economic fabric of the canton of Vaud. Each project may receive up to CHF 100,000 in financial support, covering up to 90% of the costs for the various partners. Pre-financing incentives are also available to spur idea generation and project development.
“The main challenge lies in facilitating collaboration among the three higher education institutions, each with its distinct culture. Thus, we aimed to offer particularly enticing terms compared to the usual public policy standards for innovation support. There’s no doubt that industrial partners will seize these funding opportunities, thereby encouraging academic partners,” noted Sandy Wetzel, Program Manager with 15 years of experience in economic promotion and innovation support.