In mountaineering, some routes are best avoided; yet knowing about them is as important as mastering the best and most promising. Researchers share with climbers the boldness to explore unknown worlds, and tenacity when faced with a reality that is not immediately evident but which constantly changes over time and according to conditions. Mistakes and tests contribute to a successful outcome, whose collective dimension does not prevent the emergence of individual talent suddenly crowned with glory.
The University seeks to attract such resourceful individuals, who will ask new, provocative and difficult questions. It has a duty to let them work free from outside pressures, in an environment respectful of the long maturation times research requires.
The Rectorate of UNIL is also particularly attentive to the careers of young researchers, whom it supports in the phase of preparing research portfolios and encourages when results are ready to be presented to the public.
In the natural world as in the social world, nothing is stable, everything is in constant flux. In an attempt to minimize the uncertainties that beset its future, mankind seeks to understand the complexity of natural and social ecosystems, the why and the wherefore of how they work, their consistencies but also their dysfunctions; such elements of inconsistency acting together do not however impede the development of complex systems. To analyse these phenomena and devise solutions, resources and time are required. The University is such a place favourable to research, whose lifeblood, it should not be forgotten, derives mainly from practical investigation.
Fundamental theories arise firstly from observation of what is real. For the University therefore it is a question of navigating between two extremes, in order to forge links between scientific exploration and the needs of society.
Behind the doors of UNIL institutes, laboratories and libraries, 2700 researchers, including 500 professors, work day after day on research projects of national and international significance. The UNIL is a human university, its wealth composed above all by its individual parts.
Research at UNIL is financed from multiple sources – public authorities, foundations, institutions and industries.
To assess the impact and quality of research, statisticians count the number of times a scientific article is cited in other publications. In accordance with this criterion, researchers at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands have developed a European classification of the most influential schools and universities. In 2013, UNIL ranked fifth in Europe.
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The missions of an academic institution are the acquisition of knowledge and the dissemination or transfer of knowledge. Knowledge is disseminated or transferred in particular through the transfer of technologies. The latter, beginning with the protection of intellectual property, is an integral part of the strategy of academic institutions.
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