CROSS program funds six new projects for 2020

Each project addresses mobility, whether from a social, cultural, computational, or technological perspective © iStock

Each project addresses mobility, whether from a social, cultural, computational, or technological perspective © iStock

The Collaborative Research on Science and Society (CROSS) program in the College of Humanities (CDH) is pleased to announce six projects funded for the year 2020, all on the theme of “mobility”.

The CROSS program has awarded funding to six interdisciplinary projects at EPFL and the University of Lausanne (UNIL) as part of the 2020 program. Researchers in each of the successful projects will study the impacts and implications of mobility, whether from a social, cultural, computational, or technological perspective.

EPFL and UNIL have also renewed their agreement to continue the unique program through the year 2025.

“With this agreement, interdisciplinary research involving both institutions will benefit even more in the coming years. I am excited to see what further excellent ideas for addressing contemporary social and technological issues are funded,” says CDH academic deputy Gabriela Tejada.

Through its annual call, the CROSS program provides competitive seed-funding grants of up to CHF 60,000 per project. Projects must be proposed by an interdisciplinary group composed of at least one researcher from each of the institutions (EPFL and UNIL); one a specialist in the human and social sciences, and the other a specialist in the life, natural or engineering sciences.

In late April, the program will open its 2021 funding call.

CROSS 2020: Selected projects

Swiss architects in Saint Petersburg: technology transfer and culture shift

Nicola Braghieri, IA LAPIS ENAC (EPFL)
Filippo Cattapan, IA LAPIS ENAC (EPFL)
Elena Simonato, SLAS FL (UNIL)
Natalia Bichurina, SLAS FL (UNIL)

During the first half of the 18th century, Russia underwent radical transformations in all spheres of life, science and culture, under the rule of the tsar Peter I. The construction ex nihilo of the city of Saint Petersburg, which became the capital of the future Russian Empire, aimed at providing a new, ‘European’, model of cultural life in Russia. Drawing on the data to be collected in the archives of Saint Petersburg and Mendrisio, the project will explore the Swiss Ticinese architects’ contribution to the construction of Saint Petersburg and to shaping the Russian culture at the beginning of the 18th century. The project studies the migration of architects and the knowledge transfer and circulation of ideas, and brings together architecture and historical epistemology of culture.

Swiss in motion: analyzing and visualizing daily rhythms

Frédéric Kaplan, DHLAB DHI CDH (EPFL)
Patrick Rerat, IGD FGSE (UNIL)
Emmanuel Ravelet, IGD FGSE (UNIL)

Over the past 50 years, technological developments in the field of transports and telecommunications have contributed to the reconfiguration of mobility practices which have become more complex involving daily rhythms acceleration. An abundant critical literature has described the harmful effects of acceleration on: individuals, social structures, equalities, modal practices and territories. Beyond an acceleration considered as linear, recent research developed on the case of Switzerland suggests that daily rhythms present a significant diversity in terms of spatial-temporal configuration and activity density. As the literature shows, the analysis of daily rhythms is becoming a central issue. The project aims to develop new analytical devices at the meeting between social and computational sciences to improve daily rhythms understanding.

Digital trail blazing: understanding and remaking intellectual mobility on online research platforms

Jérôme Baudry, LHST DHI CDH (EPFL)
Simon Dumas Primbault, LHST DHI CDH (EPFL)
Jean-François Bert, IHAR FTSR (UNIL)

In an effort to understand our contemporary digital culture, recent studies have shown the importance and limits of online mobility: on the one hand, search engines never fully satisfy users who tend to rely more on step-by-step contextual navigation, while, on the other hand, existing recommendation algorithms do not foster navigability. Users therefore favor personal navigation over search algorithms, steering their own personal course through an ever-growing cloud of data. Bringing anthropological queries and concepts into the picture, and drawing on recent efforts in digital humanities to model different types of navigation practices, this project aims at better understanding online intellectual mobilities, and at empowering users by providing them with tools to generate their own personal mobilities.

From “route cantonale” to “passage paysage”: threading zero impact mobilities in Swiss metropolitan areas through landscape infrastructure

Dieter Dietz, ALICE IA ENAC (EPFL)
Lucía Garcia de Jalon, ALICE IA ENAC (EPFL)
Patrick Rerat, IGD FGSE (UNIL)

As we address climate change as well as the various air pollutions from the point of view of mobility and infrastructure research, we are faced with the challenge of assuring a transition towards a low carbon mobility – walking, cycling, etc.–, that goes beyond purely technological solutions and toward a holistic approach. This project will develop the analysis and methods necessary to conceive multimodal landscape infrastructures that foster active mobility strategies not only as effective transportation modes but also as enjoyable and healthy embodied experiences that benefit from rich and resilient urban and regional ecologies, while also contributing to their enhancement. A catalogue of new infrastructural types called ‘passages paysage’ will be elaborated.

Framing analysis of online discourse of returning foreign fighters and their families

Karl Aberer LSIR IC (EPFL)
Tugrulcan Elmas, LSIR IC (EPFL)
Daniela Anke Tresch, GREC ISS (UNIL)
Maud Reveilhac, LINES ISS (UNIL)

With news of fighters and their families returning being reported on regularly in many European countries, relation public discussions are occurring internationally, both in traditional and social media. By combining expertise in data science and social science, we aim to identify important actors spreading and contesting main frames and argumentative lines, related to returning foreign fighters in Europe.

Models of musician mobility and migrating musical patterns

Markus Neuwirth, DCML DHI CDH (EPFL)
Johannes Hentschel, DCML DHI CDH (EPFL)
Michael Piotrowski, SLI FL (UNIL)
Davide Picca, SLI FL (UNIL)

Drawing on a sample of composers from the period 1600–2000 from the Digital and Cognitive Musicology Laboratory (DCML) corpus initiative, the project aims to develop formal metamodels of the multifaceted phenomenon of human mobility and the mobility of ideas such as musical patterns. Unlike previous approaches, we seek to model mobility in ways that reflect its geopolitical complexity, take uncertainty and conflicting interpretations into account, and are computationally realizable using Semantic Web technologies. The insights will be transferable to other historical and contemporary phenomena that involve similar factors.