HEC Lausanne launches its research center to respond to our society’s major challenges

The Faculty of Business and Economics (UNIL) pursues and strengthens its commitment to sustainability with its new “HEC Research Center for Grand Challenges” (RCGC). Relying on the multitude of expertise available within the faculty, this center aims to bring to a wide audience answers to global societal problems such as climate change and social inequalities. A blog featuring experts and influential sustainability actors complements the launch of the center.

Which priorities should be set to ensure the transition to a decarbonized economy? How to fight against poverty and inequality, and which actions to take to limit the emergence of precarious working conditions following the digitalization and artificial intelligence evolution?

Organized around the UN 17 sustainable development goals, the research activities that will be led by the Center aim to contribute to meeting these challenges.

A center for interdisciplinary research

As the central point of the faculty for research and teaching on these topics, the new center enables its different experts to collaborate and interact in a transversal and innovative way. For this purpose, an online marketplace has been created, where anyone interested in doing research on these topics can publish their ideas and interact with potential correspondents.

Director of the new center and professor at HEC Lausanne, Patrick Haack explains: “We are thus responding to a growing demand for the development of research focused on today’s major challenges. In the long term, our ambition is to become an international center of excellence for research on these issues and to foster exchanges with citizens.”

Platforms and tools to serve the community, media, organizations, government and other institutions

To present the results of new research on major challenges and encourage an enlightened public debate, the Center is also launching its blog, a gateway to content of scientific value and a platform for exchange and discussion.

As for its website, it will simplify the work of the media and other stakeholders who are looking for experts on these hot topics, with an online database of researchers active at HEC Lausanne on these issues.

Marianne Schmid Mast, Dean at HEC Lausanne, comments on this initiative of the Dean’s Office: “Organizations, citizens, the private and public sector, politicians – we all have a decisive role to play in addressing the challenges facing our society. Universities and high schools therefore have an undeniable role to play in teaching and research. The creation of this Center is in line with the strategy of the Faculty (Sustainability, Diversity and Digitalization) as well as the one of the University of Lausanne which places the sustainability at the heart of its priorities.” She adds, “The Center is also complementary to the Enterprise for Society (E4S) initiative and the UNIL Center of Competence in Sustainability (CCD). Synergies are obvious, for example in terms of joint events and workshops.”