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Top Stories from Western Switzerland (April-June 2023)

Business environment

3 July 2023

Top Stories Western Switzerland

From space exploration to medical breakthroughs and advancements in education and industry, discover Western Switzerland’s top stories from April-June 2023.

Le Wagon expands its offering in Switzerland with data analytics bootcamp

Lausanne-based coding bootcamp, Le Wagon, is expanding its services in Switzerland by launching a new Data Analytics program. This move addresses the growing demand for data analysts in the country, with over 7,500 positions currently open. The nine-week intensive program, approved by leading tech firms “Head of Data” professionals, offers practical, up-to-date tech skills for those looking to enhance their career prospects. With its practical approach and remarkable post-graduation employment rate, Le Wagon continues to shape the tech education landscape in Switzerland and beyond.

The University of Bern flies to Jupiter to uncover signs of life

The University of Bern is a major contributor to the European Space Agency’s (ESA) JUICE mission, launched in April 2023, to explore signs of life on Jupiter’s icy moons. The eight-year mission will use technology developed by the university to examine Jupiter’s moons Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa. The Bernese institution has provided the Neutral and Ion Mass Spectrometer (NIM) and is also involved with two other instruments – the Submillimeter Wave Instrument (SWI) and the Laser Altimeter GALA. This significant contribution to space exploration is part of the Swiss Federal Government’s PRODEX program, fostering knowledge and technology transfer between science and industry.

Siegfried breaks ground on new global R&D Center for Drug Substances in Evionnaz

Siegfried, a leading Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO), has started construction on a new global Research and Development (R&D) Center for Drug Substances in Evionnaz (canton of Valais). With an investment of CHF 25 million, the center aims to enhance Siegfried’s R&D capacity, drive growth, and create over 100 skilled jobs. The facility, set to begin operations in 2024, will feature advanced chemical and analytical facilities, state-of-the-art laboratories, and provide R&D and analytical development services. This milestone reinforces Siegfried’s commitment to becoming a leader in the CDMO industry.

Fribourg’s Venturi Lab takes on lunar exploration

Venturi Lab is part of an international collaboration aiming to send the FLEX rover, the largest and most powerful lunar vehicle ever built, to the Moon in 2026. Venturi Lab, a subsidiary of the renowned Venturi Group, specializes in high-performance electric vehicles. The project, in collaboration with SpaceX, will test the rover’s capabilities for scientific experiments and commercial activities on the lunar surface. The team’s expertise spans various fields, and the mission aims to demonstrate the rover’s viability in harsh lunar conditions. This venture marks a significant milestone in Swiss space exploration and the development of technologies for extreme environments.

Brain Computer Interface restores mobility to a paraplegic

Researchers from the EPFL, CHUV and UNIL ave developed a wireless Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) that enabled a paraplegic patient to regain mobility through thought control. The BCI, utilizing implants in the brain and spinal cord, translated movement intentions into physical actions. The brain device decoded electrical signals from the brain, while an electrode field on the spinal cord stimulated leg muscles. Artificial intelligence aided in real-time decoding and conversion of brain signals. With repeated use, the patient experienced neurological improvements even when the BCI was deactivated. Researchers are exploring expanding the technology to restore arm and hand functions and commercialize the BCI with the support of the European Innovation Council.

The Neuchâtel industrial ecosystem mapped through artificial intelligence

The canton of Neuchâtel has introduced an AI-powered interactive map to strengthen its industrial ecosystem. Developed through a public-private partnership, the tool initially focused on medtech companies but has expanded to other sectors. The map showcases companies based on four dimensions: markets, skills, products, and services, facilitating connections and highlighting unique skills. The AI technology involves intelligent robots collecting data, algorithms extracting structured information, and the system establishing links between different sources. The platform aims to promote collaboration, territorial marketing, and economic growth by showcasing the canton’s assets and encouraging innovation.

Revolutionary mRNA vaccine against melanoma to be tested in Geneva

Moderna’s mRNA vaccine for melanoma will undergo testing at Geneva University Hospitals in 2023. The vaccine, when combined with immunotherapy, has shown promise in reducing cancer recurrence. The mRNA technology is considered groundbreaking in cancer vaccinology as it targets specific mutations unique to each individual, potentially revolutionizing personalized medicine. The upcoming trial aims to offer the combined treatment to high-risk patients. Recent findings presented at a cancer conference revealed significant reductions in recurrences when the vaccine was used alongside the drug Keytruda. The trial holds great potential for advancing melanoma and cancer treatments in general, ushering in a new era in therapy.

BFH-TI: innovative education tailored to industry expectations

The School of Engineering and Computer Science at the Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH-TI) is a vital contributor to the education ecosystem in the canton of Bern. With innovative, interdisciplinary, and industry-oriented programs, BFH-TI prepares students for successful careers in various fields. Collaborating closely with industry partners and public institutions, BFH-TI fosters innovation, applied research, and skills development, contributing to the economic vitality and competitiveness of the region. The school offers bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, as well as continuing education opportunities. Nine institutes and three centers conduct applied research, transferring technology and expertise to industry.