EPFL and the RTS broadcasting company sign a public-service agreement

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© 2023 EPFL
© 2023 EPFL
EPFL and Radio Télévision Suisse (RTS) entered into an agreement on 24 April that sets out a roadmap and defines priorities for their joint efforts now and in the future. One cornerstone of the agreement is a desire by both organizations to forge closer ties with the public and help establish French-speaking Switzerland as a hub for digital innovation.

Nearly half of RTS’s employees will move into new offices near EPFL’s Lausanne campus starting in 2025, in a building that’s currently under construction. This move, which will bring the two public-service organizations closer together, reflects the many opportunities they have for collaboration. "Both EPFL and RTS aim to share knowledge and discoveries and to promote the adoption of digital technology," says Pascal Crittin, the chief executive of RTS. EPFL President Martin Vetterli adds: "What unites our two organizations is our drive to serve Switzerland and its people. There’s major potential for us to work together in each of EPFL’s three strategic missions: education, research and innovation."

A new building for the public and the EPFL community

The new RTS building will be open to the EPFL community and to the public more broadly. It will house a reception area, exhibition spaces, a restaurant and open studios. One studio will be dedicated to online education; EPFL and RTS will use it for their online training programs and for celebratory and cultural events, including concerts.

Open access to information

Also in the area of education, the two organizations plan to collaborate on video recording and media literacy. They’ll pool their knowledge to promote the responsible, fit-for-purpose use of both artificial intelligence - in order to produce content and inform the public - and digital archives.

Experts in digital innovation and public service

EPFL and RTS will team up to develop innovative systems for improving public service and the user experience (UX) in terms of media platforms, content distribution (e.g., interfaces and connected objects), content personalization, digitalization, automatic data processing, and exploiting our audiovisual heritage through systems designed to use digital resources (e.g., data, and face and voice recognition). When it comes to digital archives, several joint projects between EPFL and RTS have won international awards in recent years.

This agreement is another step in a longstanding collaboration between EPFL and RTS. For instance, EPFL hosts the Initiative for Media Innovation (IMI)1, which was introduced in 2018 by a consortium of universities and media organizations to develop systems and technology for generating content and broadcasting information. IMI staff will also move into the new RTS building in 2025.

A committee of representatives from both EPFL and RTS will oversee implementation of the agreement, which gives both organizations freedom in editorial and academic decisions and contains clauses on non-exclusivity and open science.

1. IMI was founded jointly by SSR, EPFL, Ringier and Triangle Azur (an association among the Universities of Geneva, Lausanne and Neuchâtel). HES SO Valais is affiliated with the Initiative.