Every year at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), the School of Life Sciences offers 25 high-potential international undergraduate students full access to its top researchers and labs through its Summer Research Program (SRP). The selection is tough; 25 selected out of nearly 600 applications makes the programme’s acceptance rate even more rigorous than the Ivy League schools in the United States. The reward, however, is full immersion in a unique scientific environment for two months, with access to faculty, research facilities, ideas, seminars and projects that will have an impact on the lives of future generations.
The SRP allows these 25 students to become full members of an EPFL lab team and experience first-hand the excitement and challenges of research within the four institutes of the School of Life Sciences: the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC), the Brain & Mind Institute (BMI), the Global Health Institute (GHI) and the Institute of Bioengineering (IBI). In these labs, the students work on projects aimed at dissecting the intricacies of the cell to better understand and fight cancer, developing new drugs and diagnostic tools to conquer infectious disease, enhancing imaging technics and untangling the elaborate communication between neurons and the onset of neurological disease.
Started in 2006, the Summer Research Program is still going strong thanks to the support of EPFL, the School of Life Sciences and generous external partners. “The vast majority of the 200 students who have participated in our programme report that the SRP was a life-changing experience that helped shape their career goals and world perspectives,” notes Alice Goodman, the SRP administrator. “These high-potential students from all over the world are being nurtured and challenged at one of Europe’s best research technology institutes.”