In the early 2000s, on the shores of Lake Geneva, Patrick Aebischer took the reins of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL). During his presidency, the number of students rocketed from 4,900 in the year 2000 to 11,000 in 2016. The Campus and its buildings soon became cramped, leading to the idea of expanding outside of the canton. This is how EPFL campuses arrived in Geneva, Neuchâtel, Fribourg and Sion.
The story of Sion’s Energypolis Campus begins in 2012 with the signing of an agreement between the Canton of Valais and EPFL on the establishment of the EPFL Valais Wallis campus. The agreement stipulates the importance of collaborations between EPFL and HES-SO Valais-Wallis. In one ecosystem, the Energypolis Campus brings together a variety of skills and know-how in order to create a complete value chain from fundamental research to its technical application and industrial development.
The first ground-breaking ceremony takes place in 2013 with the renovation of the Industrie 17 building. It becomes home to EPFL Valais Wallis’s first chairs. At the same time, the Clinique romande de réadaptation SuvaCare (a rehabilitation clinic) welcomes researchers from EPFL Valais Wallis active in the domain of neuroprosthetics and motor rehabilitation.
More than 150 researchers from EPFL Valais Wallis active in the key domains of green chemistry and new energy technologies take up residence in the freshly renovated building. They are divided into eight chairs and three research groups. The Ark Foundation also opens a space to host the Campus’s start-ups.
While construction begins on the buildings at Rue de l’Industrie 19, 21 and 23 – the future Campus – the Defitech Chair of Clinical Neuroengineering at EPFL Valais Wallis establishes itself on the premises of the Clinique romande de réadaptation SuvaCare.
The Canton of Valais purchases the Centre d’Impression des Ronquoz building (a former printworks) to house the next stage of the EPFL Valais Wallis project – ALPOLE, a unit dedicated to researching Alpine and polar environments.
EPFL Valais Wallis has now created 226 jobs since the project’s launch.
Supported by The Ark Foundation, the start-up DynaBlue is created – EPFL Valais Wallis and HES-SO Valais/Wallis’s first joint spin-off.
HES-SO Valais-Wallis’s School of Engineering and The Ark Foundation move to the Campus in the autumn of 2020. At the same time, at Sion Hospital, preparatory work begins for the construction of the health campus. This building will host the teaching and research infrastructures of HES-SO Valais-Wallis’s School of Health Sciences (HEdS), the child education and socio-professional branches of the School of Social Work, EPFL Valais Wallis’s research laboratories, and spaces destined for businesses supported by The Ark Foundation.
Construction begins on the health campus. In autumn, researchers from EPFL’s research centre on Alpine and polar environments (ALPOLE) will move into their new premises.
Planned opening of the health campus.