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EPFL-Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, one of the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology has launched with ECAL, Ecole Cantonale d’art de Lausanne a unique programme called Design Research for Digital Innovation. Inspired by the PhD studies, but focused on a two-year intense program, it combines advanced education with a research project, yet with a focus on innovation, pragmatic impact and professional prospects.

“Innovation needs design research to bring the end-user more than just technical performance. Designers must be able to perform as researchers for the industry and organizations, and turn disruptive technologies into convincing user experiences”, says Nicolas Henchoz, the instigator of the program.
The two-year full-time programme is run by the EPFL+ECAL Lab, a design lab of EPFL based in the ECAL building. It combines a Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) at 30% and a research assistant position at 70%. Advanced academic courses including workshops and case studies give access to extensive knowledge of the digital sector in terms of interaction design, research strategies, innovation and collaborations. But the greatest focus is on creating knowledge and having an actual impact. Each student is assigned to one of the research projects going on at the Lab. Based on a transdisciplinary approach, these projects involve the EPFL+ECAL Lab team (senior designers, software and hardware engineers, psychologist) at large. Current research topics include how to bring digital heritage back to life, new inclusive social networks, narrative principles for augmented reality, and big data visualization.

For 2017, EPFL+ECAL Lab will recruit 3-4 candidates, who will be able to attend the MAS program and have a research assistant position. Income from the position ensure the candidate a financial autonomy, including the tuition fees.

Application deadline April 15, 2017
Start September 1, 2017
Duration 2 years
Occupation 100% (30% MAS / 70% research assistant)
Location EPFL+ECAL Lab, 11, av du 24-janvier, 1020 Renens, Switzerland
Affiliation EPFL


Master in the following disciplines

• Design (media & interaction design, visual communication, product design) with basic skills in coding.
• Engineering, with design skills
• Architecture, with basic skills in coding


English (Students can write their report in English or in French)

Application documents

• Motivation Letter
• CV
• Portfolio
• Diplomas and transcripts
• Copy of ID