A new initiative to foster innovation in the media sector

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Mounir Krichane is the director of the Media Centre. ©Alain Herzog/EPFL

Mounir Krichane is the director of the Media Centre. ©Alain Herzog/EPFL

Academic, public and private partners are teaming up to to support and develop media innovation. The first projects will be launched this year.

EPFL, SRG, Ringier and Triangle Azur--a cooperation network between the Universities of Geneva, Lausanne and Neuchâtel--are joining forces to create the Initiative for Media Innovation (IMI), a consortium of public and private partners. This alliance aims to foster innovation in the media and IT sector. The Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM) will also support projects under this initiative. The IMI is open to all private and public organizations, in Switzerland or abroad, who wish to join and are active in the relevant fields.

Switzerland has a very dense print, audiovisual and digital media sector, as well as a network of top-level universities. The IMI’s founding members wish to create an interface between these two worlds in order to support and develop media innovation. The partners have made a financial commitment by creating an innovation support fund with an annual budget of CHF 650,000. This will allow research projects to be funded, in particular by drawing on the skills of researchers and students from partner universities. The first calls for proposals will be published this fall.

Topics could cover fake news, data journalism, content discoverability and personalization, artificial intelligence, IoT, immersive experiences, and also new business models, monetization or even the cultural and social aspects of media. The partners’ goal behind this initiative is to build a bridge between creativity and technology, between the world of media and that of academic research, on the basis that an interdisciplinary approach is one of the keys to innovation.

This initiative will implement projects under the governance of the various partners. Mounir Krichane has been in charge of the Media Centre--the operational arm of the Initiative--since March. EPFL is hosting this centre within the EPFL Innovation Park. Mounir Krichane is an engineer who graduated from EPFL and has worked for several years in the media industry. He is a member of various Swiss and European innovation communities.

Born in 1979, Mounir Krichane received his Master of Science from École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in 2005. He then went on to work as a scientific collaborator in the National Centres of Competence in Research of the Swiss National Science Foundation, where he was granted a seed funding to develop a start-up in 2008 under the NCCR MICS (Mobile Information and Communication Systems) program. Following his experience as an entrepreneur, Mounir Krichane joined Radio Télévision Suisse (RTS) in 2009, where he participated in the merger of the rsr.ch and tsr.ch websites and in the development of the maRTS community offering. In 2014, he took part in the inception of the Digital Lab at RTS, where he managed a wide range of innovative projects involving technology and content. Proficient in project management, he collaborated with internal and external partners, agencies, start-ups and labs, bringing them together in order to push his ideas forward.