EPFL College of Humanities
Social sciences and design can greatly enrich the development of user-centric solutions
”Marc LaperrouzaLecturer & Researcher
What is the College of Humanities?
The College of Humanities (CDH) in EPFL promotes the development of research in fields in which social and human sciences (SHS) interact with engineering and other sciences studied at the EPFL.
The CDH has a compelling vision for encouraging and developing education, research and public engagement based on the concept of POLY-perspective: interdisciplinarity, global awareness, active citizenship and creativity. As part of the CDH, the Institute for Area and Global Studies (IAGS) aims to prepare students to professionally engage with non-Western societies by providing tools and context.
Why did the EPFL's College of Humanities co-created this program?
INSSINC is part of a broader portfolio of innovative learning experiences developed by IAGS that share a common learning and teaching philosophy:
- cross-boundary collaboration of students with backgrounds in engineering, design and social sciences
- development of transversal skills related to team work, project management and interculural awareness
- open-ended and project-based learning applied to “real life” contexts
- centrality of fieldwork in the pedagogical scenario
India’s long and rich tradition in social entrepreneurship provide a fantastic place to explore existing and potential social innovations. It made it possible to extend the current offer of learning experiences by addressing specific questions related to impact, meaning and social responsibility.
What have you learnt?
Collaboration with swissnex India facilitated identifying the right partners. Co-creating the program with Selco Foundation, a leader in social entrepreneurship, accelerated development and implementation of the initiative. Selco’s size and professionalism helped provide the right level of support for students and essential contextualization of the issues at stake. The short and intensive format – 10 days in the field with a limited/focused number of preparation workshops – shows great potential to streamline resources while maintaining significant student learning. An important effort is nonetheless required to accompany students in non-traditional learning environments. Social sciences and design can greatly enrich the development of user-centric solutions.