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The HES-SO strengthens life sciences education and research in the canton of Valais

Life sciences

22 April 2024

This initiative reflects a broader shift towards life sciences, driven by innovation and a commitment to health, wellness, and sustainability. This initiative reflects a broader shift towards life sciences, driven by innovation and a commitment to health, wellness, and sustainability. | © HES-SO Valais/Wallis

The HES-SO Valais-Wallis School of Engineering is expanding its training and research offering in the life sciences, marking an important step in its alignment with the rapid developments in the biopharmaceutical and food industries in Switzerland.

Responding to industry transformations and technological advancements, the Bachelor of Science HES-SO program in Life Sciences Technologies has undergone a comprehensive overhaul. It has been rebranded as the Bachelor of Science (BSc) HES-SO in Life Sciences Engineering to better represent its mission and objectives. Gaëtan Cherix, Director of the School of Engineering (HEI), emphasized the importance of a robust educational institution that produces top-tier engineers and drives innovation in this pivotal sector, closely connected with economic needs.

The newly named Life Sciences Engineering program stands out as the sole offering of its kind in French-speaking Switzerland, specializing in biotechnology, analytical chemistry, bioanalytics, and food technology and biotechnology. This change reflects HEI’s commitment to meeting the growing demands of the thriving life sciences sector.

Under the leadership of Birgit Sievert, the program has seen substantial growth and innovation, boasting a 40% increase in enrollment over three years, reaching 200 students. This program offers an industrially relevant curriculum combined with a state-of-the-art campus, providing a unique educational experience for future engineers.

A hub of excellence for life sciences in the canton of Valais

This renaming extends to the program’s research institute, which will now be known as the Institute for Life Sciences. This institute positions itself as a hub of excellence in the field, with ambitious projects in meat substitutes, bio-pharma innovations, bioplastics, decarbonization through biotechnology, and AI applications in life sciences.

Sergio Schmid, Head of the institute, highlighted the institute’s crucial role in regional development through driving innovation, generating knowledge, and enhancing the local economy. The institute’s strong ties with industry allow it to address current challenges and needs effectively.

With nearly 200 applied research projects conducted annually across various sectors, the next steps for the program and its research institute look promising. The new names for the academic tracks reflect the HEI’s aspiration to equip highly skilled professionals ready to tackle the complex challenges of life sciences, asserting its role in advancing the field and training the next generation of experts.