Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)

Strategic partner

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Meet our partner

EPFL is Europe’s most cosmopolitan technical university. It receives students, professors and staff from over 120 nationalities. With both a Swiss and international calling, it is therefore guided by a constant wish to open up; its missions of teaching, research and partnership impact various circles: universities and engineering schools, developing and emerging countries, secondary schools and gymnasiums, industry and economy, political circles and the general public.

Why this partnership with the GHF?

EPFL is synonymous with excellence, innovation and technology. The teaching rooms and laboratories of this fine institution are buzzing with energy of students trying to find solutions to complex problems and their application in real life. It is hoped that EPFL will bring to the Geneva Health Forum a strong component of innovation in health technologies and establish this as one of the thematic pillars of the GHF.

Official web site of the partner

Representative on GHF Steering Committee

Dr. Gérard Escher, Senior Advisor to the President of EPFL


Dr. Escher obtained a Diploma in Biology at the University of Geneva in 1982 and a PhD in Neurosciences at the University of Lausanne in 1987. He started his career as a Postdoctoral fellow and research associate in the Department of Neurobiology at Stanford University. He has then worked as Maitre-assistant and group leader at IBCM, University of Lausanne.

From 1999 to 2005 he has been the Scientific advisor to secretary of state Charles Kleiber. He was Assistant director at the State Secretariat for Education and Research before becoming Advisor to President of EPFL Patrick Aebischer in 2008.

Representative on GHF Program Committee

Dr. Klaus Benedikt Schönenberger, Program Leader at the Cooperation and Development Center, EPFL and CEO of the EssentialMed Foundation

Dr. Klaus Benedikt Schönenberger, Program Leader & CEO EssentialMed Foundation

Dr. Klaus Schönenberger has been working on the creation of EssentialMed since 2009 and was appointed director of the foundation in 2010 when it has been formally founded.

Klaus Schönenberger obtained a PhD from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland, in 1996. After a post-doctoral research assignment at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (USA), he joined the medical devices industry. During 10 years, Dr. Schönenberger held various leading positions in medical devices companies, such as director of R&D and global vice-president of R&D. In his last position he was the global vice-president of Research and Technology at DJO Inc. (Vista, California) a Medical device company with annual revenue of $1bn. In 2009 he left the industry to create the EssentialMed foundation, with the goal to develop appropriate medical devices for developing countries. In 2011, he took the position of program leader at EPFL’s Cooperation and Development Center. He created and currently leads the Center’s EssentialTech programme, which aims to fight poverty through the development of appropriate technologies and implementation models.


Representative on GHF Communications Committee

Klaus Benedikt Schönenberger, Program Leader