CROSS 2018

By artist unknown [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

CROSS 2018: Selected projects

NB: The projects are listed in alphabetical order of their principal investigators.

Call for proposals: IMITATION

The theme for the sixth edition of the Collaborative Research on Science and Society (CROSS) programme is imitation. The programme will fund cross-disciplinary projects between UNIL and EPFL for the year 2018.

Imitation has long been a part of science, art and human knowledge generally. Since antiquity, nature has served as an inexhaustible source of inspiration for researchers and engineers alike, offering endless examples to be imitated and imported into scientific and technical fields such as biology, materials science, architecture, communications and neuroscience. More recently, the term “biomimicry” has been coined to refer to imitations of the form, process or properties of living things. Explorations of art imitating nature, of course, go back millennia, spanning from Aristotle to Shakespeare to contemporary thinkers.

The ties between learning and imitation – in the sense of being able to recognize and reproduce actions – are no less longstanding and have been applied to a wide range of fields, including digital modelling, cognitive science, psychology, automatic text generation, literary study, robotics, economics and sociology.

Imitation is also central to the study of human society, particularly when seeking to shed light on practices aimed explicitly at reproducing specific behaviours within a given social or cultural field. The tools used to do so come from both the social and life sciences.

For this edition of the CROSS programme, priority will be given to projects that tackle the topic of imitation from an original and promising scientific perspective. The programme’s scientific committee nonetheless remains open to submissions on other topics.

The committee particularly wishes to encourage projects related to the digital humanities.

Please send your proposal as a single pdf file to

The submission deadline for this year’s call for proposals is: September 30th 2017.