From Bio-art to Synthetic Biology

by Lan YAO, Junior Project Manager for Interdisciplinary and Special Projects

Co-organized with Chronus Art Center, swissnex China presented a special Café des Sciences Lecture featuring synthetic biology with a guided tour of Bio-art Exhibition on 20th June.

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Famous Chinese artist – Mr. Liang Shaoji elaborated on his featured work with cocoons during the guided tour. Influenced by the philosophical thinking of Martin Heidegger and the Chinese ancient philosophers – Lao Zi and Zhuang Zi, Mr. Liang sees the sadness and the strife of human life in raw silk thread and turns the thoughts into contemporary art installations using unusual expertise and extraordinary techniques. After the guided tour, Prof. Mario Andrea Marchisio, Post – Doctor graduated from ETH Zurich gave a glance at his research on engineering microbes as living sensors. Prof. Marchisio currently works as an Associate Professor in Tianjin University where he has a research lab dedicated to synthetic biology. During his talk, he explained his research on realizing biosensors in the yeast S. cerevisiae and shared with us the outcome of the current research phase that anti-CRISPR proteins can work efficiently in S. cerevisiae cells. Audience from professional background had a good discussion with the speakers and enjoyed the evening.

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Café des Sciences is a new format at swissnex China offering a monthly platform for Swiss Spotlight Scientists and Startups to present their projects and engage with the local community. The lectures are followed by a networking reception and scheduled to take place every third Thursday each month at swissnex China or our partner spaces.

Please stay tuned for our next event on Architecture and save the date for 18th July.

SWISS ALUMNI CHINA 2019 – Adding value and Connecting in Shanghai

By Gabriel Bishop, Junior Project Manager for Academic Relations

More than 3000 Alumni from about 25 Swiss Universities are currently based in China. Every year, swissnex China – officially representing all Swiss Public Universities in China – holds a gathering and offers a platform for this large community to connect.

SWISS ALUMNI CHINA 2019 took place on May 24 on the roof of the Museum of Contemporary Art, in the heart of Shanghai. This year’s edition was the biggest so far: over 270 guests from 23 Universities registered for the event, some of them travelling all the way from Beijing, Hong Kong, Taipei, Chengdu, as well as other cities for the occasion!

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The night was once again the opportunity to share some fond memories from the times studying in Switzerland but also to engage with new members of the community. Indeed, the aim of the evening was to provide a quality setting for the Alumni to connect and strengthen the ties between them.


For this purpose, the networking reception was complemented with a job fair activity, offering a high-in-demand platform for exchanging job perspectives. swissnex China further gave the floor to the active Alumni Chapters in Shanghai. EHL, EPFL, ETH Zurich, HEC Lausanne and UZH shared the latest news and presented their activities. This was also a chance for the Alumni from the other universities to gather, thus paving the way for new chapters to be created. Our hope is that UniGE will set the pace and launch their chapter soon.

Dr. Felix Moesner, Science Consul & CEO at swissnex China, with the Chapters’ representatives.

Dr. Felix Moesner, Science Consul & CEO at swissnex China, with the Chapters’ representatives.

The success of SWISS ALUMNI CHINA reflects the excellence of Swiss Higher Education. It is always a pleasure to reunite with the exquisite group that the Swiss Alumni community is. The swissnex China Team would like to give a special thank to the chapters and to our generous sponsors, Lindt, Orange Garten, Ricola and swissmooh!

We look forward to seeing all of you again at SWISS ALUMNI CHINA 2020!!!

What the Alumni had to say:

"Great event, it brings me back to all the wonderful memories I have from when I studied in Switzerland"

"Brilliant event! Old connections met again through the night and I made new friends in the city"

"It is my first time attending the Swiss Alumni gathering and I am sure there will be many more in the future! Got to know nice people, which is the most valuable thing. Thanks a lot for the organization!"

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Fashion Design inspired by Architecture, Physics and Mathematics

by Lan YAO, Junior Project Manager for Interdisciplinary and Special Projects

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The “Café des Sciences” event series had a very cool talk as its 4th edition: Swiss fashion designer Stefanie Tschirky was invited by swissnex China and shared her fashion world with the audience. Stefanie presented a wealth of slides and movies demonstrating her creativity and talent. After an active Q&A session, the guests stayed late during the networking reception and continued discussions with the Swiss designer. The full house event has been held on April 18 and was a great success.

Inspired by the fields of architecture, physics and mathematics, her designs combine sharp lines with fluid contours and articulate a modern urban aesthetic, crafted through innovative material and textile manipulation. Using alternative mathematical theories as a starting point, Stefanie aims to counter the idea that we can organize the unpredictability of the natural world to create perfection.

Swiss-born Stefanie Tschirky is a womenswear designer based in Shanghai and currently working for the Chinese luxury brand Comme Moi. Having graduated from the Royal College of Art, Stefanie has received the British Fashion Council Graduate Sponsorship, and went on to work with the luxury brand Mary Katrantzou in London. Stefanie Tschirky was the recipient of the CFDA Award for both her Bachelor and Master’s collections and was represented at the prestigious ITS2016 in Italy, she has received much media attention in recent years and has been published in magazines such as Vogue, Marie Claire and Dazed. 

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𝗖𝗮𝗳𝗲 𝗱𝗲𝘀 𝗦𝗰𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲𝘀 is a format at swissnex China offering a monthly platform for Swiss Spotlight Scientists and Startups to present their projects and engage with the local community. The lectures are followed by a networking reception and scheduled to take place every third Thursday each month at swissnex China or our partner spaces. - Stay tuned for our next event on 𝗠𝗮𝘆 𝟭𝟲!

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Francophonie - A Call to Gather: Café des Sciences Special Edition

By Yao Lan, Junior Project Manager Interdisciplinary & Special Projects & Luca Mondada, Junior Project Manager Innovation & Entrepreneurship

To celebrate the Francophonie month of March, Café des Sciences Lecture series presented a special edition co-organized with other French speaking countries and regions on Thursday, 21st of March. 5 Scientists and startups from Belgium, Canada, France, Luxembourg and Switzerland were invited to present their research and pitch their projects. Creative design, sustainable energy, botanical science and various other topics are discovered and explored through the lecture. An audience of more than 70 French speakers in Shanghai gathered together in the swissnex China conference room to exchange with the speakers and enjoy the social networking Apéro.

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The first speaker — Arthur Limpens from Belgium - introduced the development and keys to success of the startup DesignNest, a consumer product design platform. He started DesignNest during his studies and the company is today present across the globe, with a valuation around USD 30M and 120 employees across 5 locations as well as its own factory. He focused on widely used products, but proposed innovative designs focused on what purpose the product really serves. A good example is a multi-plug that looks unexciting at first; but its thought-through functional design made it an extremely popular product. The startup now launched a platform where designers from around the world can collaborate with the company to realize their products using their expertise and experience.

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The second speaker is Prof. Gilles Vincent. He is a Canadian scientist now based at the Shanghai Chenshan Botanical Garden, where he can grow plants in a controlled environment on a real-life scale. This setup is unique in the world, as most botanic experiments are either on a very small scale or have external factors that cannot be controlled. His research focuses on two questions very relevant for urban Shanghai: waste water treatment and “phytoremediation”: the use of plants to clean polluted soil. His team has successfully recognized plants suited for both tasks and the results of his research is already being applied by the municipality of Shanghai.

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Our third speaker is Pierre Angot from France. He is Co-Founder of ProtectorChain, a startup that helps companies improve the security of their supply chains using blockchain. He shared the blockchain technology with the audience. The blockchain allows every actor in a supply chain to record and store information that will be accessible to everyone. What makes this special and particularly useful is the fact that no actor can modify the data once it is stored. It thus acts as a proof of everything that has happened.

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After developing a prototype for robot vision during his PhD at ETH, the fourth speaker — Prof. Laurent Kneip from Luxembourg worked on extending his research to self-driving cars. He is now Assistant Professor at Shanghai Tech university, where he is developing a tool to drive cars autonomously based on the sensors that are already present today in cars on the market. His team is hoping to achieve that by limiting autonomous driving to a controlled environment; in particular, they hope to enable cars to park autonomously in certain parking lots. This technology allows to track movement using only a limited number of sensors, which can have many attractive real-world applications.

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The last speaker Laurent Coulot is from Switzerland. He graduated from EPFL, where he started working on solar panels with the goal of increasing their efficiency. Using technology usually reserved for space equipment and smartly focusing the light to reduce the costs, Laurent and his growing team came up with a design of solar panel that is viable for large scale production and commercialization. They are therefore moving to the next step, where China will play a decisive role for them: finding partners for the production of their solar panels.

From Left to Right:  Arthur Limpens  (Speaker), Co-Founder of DesignNest;  Marie-Adélaïde Matheï , Consul for economic affairs, Consulate General of the Kingdom of Belgium / Wallonie-Bruxelles International;  Gaétan Messin , Science & Technology Attaché, Consulate General of France;  Pierre Angot  (Speaker), Co-Founder of ProtectorChain;  Anneleen Van Landeghem , Consulate General in Shanghai, The Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg;  Prof. Laurent Kneip , Tenure-Track Assistant Professor at Shanghai Tech university, Shanghai Tech University;  François Dansereau , Head of Political and Public Affairs, Vice-Consul, Consulate General of Canada / Québec Government Office in Shanghai;  Prof. Gilles Vincent  (Speaker), Special advisor to the Executive President, Shanghai Chenshan Botanical Garden;  Laurent Coulot  (Speaker), Co-Founder and CEO, Insolight;  Dr. Felix Moesner , CEO & Science Consul, swissnex China;  Rahel Gruber , Operations Manager & Co-Deputy CEO, swissnex China.

From Left to Right: Arthur Limpens (Speaker), Co-Founder of DesignNest; Marie-Adélaïde Matheï, Consul for economic affairs, Consulate General of the Kingdom of Belgium / Wallonie-Bruxelles International; Gaétan Messin, Science & Technology Attaché, Consulate General of France; Pierre Angot (Speaker), Co-Founder of ProtectorChain; Anneleen Van Landeghem, Consulate General in Shanghai, The Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg; Prof. Laurent Kneip, Tenure-Track Assistant Professor at Shanghai Tech university, Shanghai Tech University; François Dansereau, Head of Political and Public Affairs, Vice-Consul, Consulate General of Canada / Québec Government Office in Shanghai; Prof. Gilles Vincent (Speaker), Special advisor to the Executive President, Shanghai Chenshan Botanical Garden; Laurent Coulot (Speaker), Co-Founder and CEO, Insolight; Dr. Felix Moesner, CEO & Science Consul, swissnex China; Rahel Gruber, Operations Manager & Co-Deputy CEO, swissnex China.

Café des Sciences - Francophonie special edition, was co-organized with the Consulate General of Belgium / Wallonie-Bruxelles International, the Consulate General of Canada / Québec Government Office in Shanghai, the Consulate General of France / French Tech Shanghai and the Consulate General of Luxembourg. We'd like to appreciate our thanks and appreciation to their great support in co-organizing this event!

Café des Sciences is a new format at swissnex China offering a monthly platform for Swiss Spotlight Scientists and Start-ups to present their projects and connect with the local community. The lectures will offer a casual setting in which speakers can present their work and engage with the attendees during a Q&A period. Audience are welcome to enjoy the networking reception with Swiss flavour after the talk. The lecture is scheduled to take place every third Thursday each month at swissnex China or our partner spaces.

Swiss Materials for a Better Future: Empa @ Design Shanghai

By Yao Lan, Junior Project Manager Interdisciplinary & Special Projects

The arrival of spring has brought forth a good variety of cultural events. At the top of the list comes Design Shanghai, one of the leading design events in Asia. This year swissnex China has been invited to represent Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, at the New Material and Application Exhibition area curated by Neuni.

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On March 8, Dr. Felix Moesner, Science Consul and CEO of swissnex China, represented Empa as a guest speaker to share the latest Swiss development and achievements in science, technology, ecology and materials with the audience at the New Material Workshops. The fresh topic attracted a large audience who were eager to learn about cutting-edge Swiss contributions in the field.

Throughout the 4-day exhibition from 6-9 March, innovative materials and applications from Switzerland were placed in the spotlight. New materials created with leading-edge Swiss technologies and products were prominently featured as part of Material Trends on “Future Craft,” “Residual Impact,” and “Bio-Digitalization”. Materials and products from all over the world have been presented in this 1,000㎡ exhibition area. It was the first time for many of these designers and material manufacturers to be introduced to the Chinese market.

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As an interdisciplinary research institute of the ETH Domain, Empa conducts cutting-edge materials and technology research and showcased at Design Shanghai innovative product such as Sonowood, Gold Coated Fiber, Optical Fiber Sensors and Smart Textiles etc. In addition to the exhibits from Empa, the world’s most advanced anti-counterfeiting technology as seen on Swiss Bank notes were also on display while Swiss brands such as Egli studio and Schoenstaub also brought their products to the show, which was supported by the Consulate General of Switzerland in Shanghai.

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