First Edition of The Sense’s Retreat


In January, The Sense Innovation and Research Center organized its first edition of its retreat. Approximately seventy participants gathered for the occasion at the l’Hôtel Nendaz 4 Vallées & Spa. In addition to the representatives of our founding institutions – HES-SO Valais-Wallis, CHUV and UNIL – members of various advisory boards and other external partners actively partook in this event marked by collaboration, science and friendship.

Honouring Science – Keynotes and poster session

During the two-day retreat, The Sense was honoured to welcome two exceptional keynote speakers : Professor Mark Wallace (Vanderbilt University) presented  “The (Multi)sensory World,” and Emeritus Professor Philippe Moreillon (University of Lausanne) presented “A Roadmap for Research and Innovation with Social Impact”. These two lectures clearly aroused the participants’ attention as they firstly highlighted the impact of combining the senses and secondly the impact of research and innovation on society.

A poster session was also organized to promote the work conducted by trainees, both PhD and post-doctoral fellows, who are affiliated to The Sense. A total of approximately twenty posters thus took over the walls. A jury of experts comprising Mark Wallace (Vanderbilt Brain Institute), Sebastien Mabillard (The Ark) and Frédéric Reymond (Innovaud) was given the great responsibility of ranking the different posters according to the following criteria: scientific quality, innovation potential, and societal impact. The Sense awards 3 poster prizes.

Ranking in 3rd place was Maria Antoniou, who is affiliated with Prof. Paul Matusz’s Real-World Neuroscience unit, with her poster entitled “Serious games embedded in virtual reality environment as a visual rehabilitation tool for individuals with paediatric amblyopia: A protocol for a crossover randomized controlled trial.” This study focuses on establishing the methodology of a randomized controlled trial assessing the impact of serious games (based on virtual reality) on attention and motor skills through the identification of changes in relation to the brain.

In 2nd place was MD-PhD student Katia Steinfeld, affiliated with Prof. Micah Murray’s Multisensory Processes unit, with her poster “Impact of mild myopia and blur on visual completion”, which covers the interactions between myopia and optical blur in cortical processes.

The 1st place prize was awarded to PhD student Killian Cosendey, who works within Prof. Julian Favre’s Human Movement Biomechanics unit, with his poster called “The Attentive Slippers Project”. Financed by The Sense, this project aims to develop a prototype of wearable devices that would provide reliable estimates with respect to the relative positioning between a person’s shoes or slippers in order to measure their walk with accuracy. “I was surprised with this first position, as in fact there were several great projects. I am truly happy I won first place and to be given the opportunity to go to South Africa to meet with other scientists, whose research field is different than mine,” declared the Vevey-born prize-winner.

Co-creation workshops in collaboration with the societal commitment committee

As part of The Sense’s retreat, we’d also organized 4 co-creation workshops in collaboration with public interest and patient advocacy groups that belong to the Sense’s Societal Impact Advisory Board – Action Innocence / Fédération suisse des aveugles et malvoyants FSA / Schweizerischer Gehörlosenbund SGB-FSS / MaRaVal – maladies rares valais – seltene krankheiten wallis. These activities specifically allowed us to identify various societal challenges while also framing some of the concrete solutions that could be proposed to address these challenges as part of innovative projects.

The Sense would like to once again thank its founding institutions:
HES-SO Valais-WallisCHUV / Centre hospitalier universitaire vaudoisUniversité de Lausanne as well as the partners who were present Fondation The ArkCimArkInnovaudPACTT Technology Transfer OfficeMaRaVal – maladies rares valais – seltene krankheiten wallisFédération suisse des aveugles et malvoyants FSAFédération suisse des sourds et malentendantsIPStudies SàrlStrategos SAAction Innocence.