Big Data for Smart Ideas

December 15, 2015

University of Fribourg, Site Perolles II, Salle Joseph Deiss

As witnesses to the digital revolution, every year we produce the equivalent amount of data as that produced over the course of the entire human history. While some consider Big Data to be akin to the discovery of oil, its value is in its ability to extract meaning from raw data and transform it into knowledge and innovation. Against this backdrop, governments and businesses around the world are investing heavily in this new field to remain competitive. Where does Switzerland stand in this regard? Are we seizing all available opportunities? Beyond the question of how Big Data fuels innovation and impacts our society, new data technology also challenges the traditional scientific method. Does “data-driven science” equate to a scientific method void of theoretical models and hypothesis?

Hosted by the University of Fribourg and inaugurated by State Secretary Mauro Dell’Ambrogio, the first half of the swissnex Day’15 will be devoted to exploring such questions through a discussion led by a panel of distinguished experts.

The second part of the day will offer five interactive breakout sessions covering a variety of topics, from hands-on Big Data projects to learning about innovation strategies in Asia. Two networking breaks will give participants the opportunity to connect with the swissnex representatives and the Swiss Science and Technology Counselors (STC), as well as with 250 representatives from Switzerland’s education, research and innovation community.

Registration is complete!

Download our event program

Directons to the venue
For any questions, please contact: swissnex-day@nullsbfi.admin.ch

Read the blog!

Interested in learning more about Big Data in science and innovation around the world? Find here a series of blog posts by the swissnex and Swiss Science and Technology Counselor (STC) network, offering global insights on this topic.


12h: Networking Luncheon and Registration

13.30h: Welcome Words

Moderated by


Honouring of Prof. Urs Hochstrasser

14h: Keynote Speech

by Marianne Janik, CEO Microsoft Switzerland

14.15h: Input Speech

by Urs Obrist, Science and Technology Counselor in Ottawa

14.20h: Panel Discussion

Moderated by


15h: Conclusive remarks

15.15h: Networking

16h – 17.30h: Breakout sessions

See info below.

Breakout Sessions

  1. Sensing the city

    Our cities are giant collectors and emitters of data, which often goes unused and unnoticed— and it’s not understood by citizens. To better comprehend how data influences our lives, we launched the citizen sensing project ‘Data Canvas’. Please meet the winning team from the swissnexes Boston and San Francisco, the Swiss Embassy in Ottawa as well as from ETH Zurich’s Future Cities Lab, and join our discussion about smart cities, city sensing, open data, data literacy, and citizen engagement. This event will also be an opportunity to connect with the North America swissnex-Team.

    Organized by

    • Jonas Brunschwig, swissnex Boston
    • Sophie Lamparter, swissnex San Francisco
    • Urs Obrist, STC Ottawa
    • Johann Recordon, Lift Conference


    • Matthias Standfest, Information Architecture, ETH Zurich
    • Lanke Frank Tarimo Fu, Mechanical Engineering, ETH Zürich
    • Danielle Griego, Department of Architecture, ETH Zürich
    • Nikola Marinčić, Computer Aided Architectural Design, ETH Zürich


  2. Innovation in APAC & opportunities for Swiss companies and universities (no more places available)

    What are some of the major trends in the fast moving cities in China, Japan and Korea? How do companies and governments develop innovation? Our speakers will cover some of these points and the swissnex team in Asia will offer is expertise to help you understand the opportunities of closer collaboration with that part of the world.

    Organized by

    • Pascal Marmier, swissnex China
    • Christian Schneider, STC Seoul


    • Hai Zhang, Global Business Development, Biomarker, Roche Diagnostics
    • Prof. Philippe Régnier, HES-SO Fribourg
  3. DapLab – Where Swiss companies meet Big Data

    DapLab is an open platform aiming at facilitating the entry of Swiss companies and universities into the realm of Big Data. This session will present the DapLab concept and will go through a concrete Big Data use-case leveraging the DapLab software and infrastructures. No advanced IT expertise required.

    Organized by

    • Prof. Philippe Cudre-Mauroux, University of Fribourg
    • Prof. Jean Hennebert, HES-SO Fribourg
    • Benoit Perroud, VERISIGN


  4. Discovery and visiting Tour of the Adolph Merkle Institut and the NCCR Bio-inspired Materials

    Learn about and visit the University of Fribourg’s NCCR for bio-inspired Materials and the Adolph Merkle Institut, which focuses on research and education in the domain of soft nanomaterials.

    Organized by

    • Marc Pauchard, Associate Director, Head of Knowledge & Technology Transfer, AMI
    • Scott Capper, Communication and Marketing, AMI


  5. Experience the Swiss Integrative Center for Human Health

    Our workshop focuses on the expertise and the technologies available at the Health, Materials and Ergonomics Facilities of SICHH and their interactions. We will start our workshop with a hands-on session in the Ergonomics Facility. We will build a robust system to monitor the participants’ displacements within our premises at blueFACTORY. This requires the use of a combination of technologies, i.e. radar technology, wireless communication, data mining and image processing in an everyday life situation. This workshop will conclude with concrete examples showing how through the integration of competencies the Health, Materials and Ergonomics Facilities work in synergy.

    Organized by

    • Jean-Marc Brunner, CEO
    • Alessandra Apicella, Materials specialist
    • Frédéric Guerry, Head of Health Facility
    • Geneviève Dardier, Head of Ergonomics Facility
    • Mark Ambühl, Materials specialist
    • Muriel Jaquet, Head of Tech Facility
    • Jan Kerschgens, Senior Project Manager


  6. Future Energy with “swissnex mobile” at the EXPO 2017 in Astana

    On the occasion of the EXPO 2017 in Astana, Kazakhstan, the pilot project “swissnex mobile” will explore new ways of connecting the dots. The EXPO’s theme on the future of energy will offer an opportunity to showcase Switzerland’s innovative solutions for future energy challenges and to connect with potential partners in Central Asia in the field of education, research and innovation (ERI).

    Join us for an interactive session to learn more about the EXPO 2017 and the pilot project “swissnex mobile”. Share with us your ideas on how to present the future of energy in Switzerland in a creative way and how to build sustainable ERI-bridges with Central Asia.

    Organized by

    • Nicolas Bideau, Presence Switzerland
    • Felix Moesner, swissnex Boston and Lead “swissnex mobile” EXPO Astana 2017


    • Philippe Mueller, Swiss Federal Office of Energy
    • Oliver Haugen, New York Outpost of swissnex Boston
    • Adrian Ionescu, Nanolab, EPFL
    • Christian Schaffner, ETH Energy Science Center
    • Adrian Altenburger, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts / Swiss Society of Engineers and Architects (SIA)
    • Other speakers TBD

Registration is complete!

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You want to know more about previous editions of the swissnexDay? Find all the information here.