EPFL: 'Quality data and a systemic approach are needed to address innovation in sports'
Since its onset, the pandemic wreaked havoc on all forms of sport and physical activity, while also serving as a wake-up call on the importance of exercise on health and well-being.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) nearly a quarter of adults and 81 per cent of adolescents do not meet its recommendations on the levels of regular physical activity needed to stay healthy. Beyond the health issue, sports also bring social and economic benefits and can contribute to achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Technological innovations in sports - many happening here in the Geneva region - are playing an important role in improving not only the performance but also the wellbeing of athletes and the public. To understand the challenges around sports, technology and innovation, Microsoft, the Graduate Institute and UNESCO have invited experts to share their experience in the upcoming 2030 Digital Fasttrack Studio. Among the guests, EPFL’s Sport Tech Initiative co-managers, Emilie Michel and Pascal Vuilliomenet.
The Sport Tech Initiative brings together the 40-plus laboratories at the EPFL working on sport-related innovations, with the aim of showcasing them to the outside world and increasing links with sports federations and institutions in the region.
Vuilliomenet and Michel want to help to build a stronger regional ecosystem, and insist on the importance of federating efforts for better results.
“When you think about sports, you usually think about it in different silos, with the athlete performance, the general public wellness , and economic activities on different sides. And what we really want to do is to build bridges between them. Imagine a world where we could use the sport infrastructures, to test the latest developments. Imagine if we could use the stadiums to bring together the researchers, the startups, established companies, athletes, and the federation, so that they could all work together, not just for one week, but the whole year long. They would have the opportunity to meet, test their developments and get feedback from the field.”
Michel and Vuilliomenet discuss the path to transform a field and a region considered as the Washington DC of sports to a true Silicon Valley in this new episode of the Geneva Solutions Podcast.