International Swiss Talent Forum

For young people between 18- 23 years – Participation on invitation only!

Find novel and thought-provoking ideas around “rethinking surveillance”. It’s a chance for you to contribute to shaping the future of your generation. Develop new ideas with your group of international participants in our for you free event. Be part of the next International Swiss Talent Forum in Summer 2021 and join four exciting days with students from all over the world.

Four exciting days in a lavish camp – it’s your turn to find globally relevant solutions.

“The ISTF experience has been nothing short of amazing. The programme has well achieved a fine balance between the provision of information and the opportunity for creativity. It has been an intellectually stimulating and personally fulfilling experience.”

Cassandra, Singapore

International Swiss Talent Forum 2021

The International Swiss Talent Forum (ISTF) is one of the most prestigious research promotion events for young scientists in Switzerland. The Swiss Youth in Science Foundation has brought bright young minds from around the globe to this unique annual meeting for the tenth time this year. The ISTF is organised as a 4-day think-tank for motivated students aged between 18 and 23 years. Participation is limited to finalists of national and international youth competitions, including Scientific Contests, Science Olympiads, the Swiss Study Foundation, and the SwissSkills Professional Championships. This year for the first time, grantees of the Fulbright programme of the US Embassy as well as nominees of the Ambassador network of vocational schools were also able to participate.
The ISTF gives young people the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of an important global issue and to learn how to critically analyse an interdisciplinary problem as a team. Using innovative and creative approaches provided by methodological Coaches, participants develop ideas and solutions for their given Challenge while networking with like-minded peers and experts.
The advances in technology in the last decades has seen a very rapid evolution of the capacity for surveillance and – with it – numerous benefits for society. But the topic is highly debated as it touches the privacy of each individual as well as the capacity of the state – or private companies – to monitor, influence and control the behaviour of the population. The current health crisis puts us more than ever in front of the question: how much surveillance is acceptable, or even necessary to ensure the wellbeing of the community and the individual? Inspired by our Challengers – leading specialists from academia and the corporate world in Switzerland – participants were invited to address four complex topics around surveillance. These included the intellectual property of personal data, the impacts of digital trust and data sharing in healthcare, the ethics of public health surveillance, and the development of purpose-limited applications by design. Teams collaboratively developed visionary solutions for these real-world problems, which are documented in this brochure. The ISTF21 was a remarkable and invaluable experience for everyone involved and we trust that you will enjoy learning more about the results.

Flyer ISTF21
Julián Cancino
Project Leader ISTF

Topic Leader

Prof. Dr. Francisco Klauser
Prof. Dr. Francisco KlauserTopic Leader
Francisco Klauser is professor in political geography at the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland. His work explores the socio-spatial implications, power and surveillance issues arising from the digitisation of present-day life, thus bridging the fields of human geography, surveillance studies and risk research. Main research topics include video surveillance, mega-event security, smart cities, airport surveillance, civil drones, and big data in agricultre.

Challenges 2021

Challenge 1

Rethinking Surveillance – Privacy as Intellectual Property? 


Who owns and controls the huge amount of personal data collected continuously? The high value in combination with the virtual nature of personal data is strongly reminiscent of intellectual property (IP). However, personal data does not fit into any of the existing IP categories.

The challenge is to explore, whether or not it would make sense to integrate ownership of information into the IP system, with the objective to ensure a fair balance of interests between data providers and collectors.

Prof. Dr. Heinz Müller
Patent Expert at the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property

Heinz Müller is Patent Expert at the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property


Challenge 2

Evolving Healthcare Through Digital Trust and Data Sharing


Data continues to be a primordial asset and cyber resilience continues to be an elusive goal for society. Evolving healthcare through digital trust and data sharing, shaping the world’s recovery from and ability to anticipate global health events such as the COVID -19 pandemic requires society’s digital trust. The challenge is to determine the role digital trust, data sharing and analysis can play in evolving healthcare for the future.  

Dr. Fred Mpala
Head of Diagnostics Product Cybersecurity at Roche Diagnostics

In this role, Fred leads the Product Cybersecurity Team at Roche Diagnostics, where the team provides strategies, concepts and security services across the Division. The team assumes a key role in the transfer of product security expertise within the Division.

Prior to Roche, Fred worked at Standard Chartered Bank as Global Head, Information and Cyber Security Assurance. He has held various information security roles including at, NYSE, Euronext, Goldman Sachs, SGCIB and Thomson Reuters. Fred is an Alumnus of the Cisco Networking Academy and has served as industry advisor to academia.

Fred has completed undergraduate studies in computer networking; postgraduate studies in information security, forensics, business strategy and law with focus on privacy. Fred holds professional designations including CISSP, CISM, CEH, ISO27001 LI, CIPP /E and CIPM.


Challenge 3

The Ethics of Public Health Surveillance for Preventing Future Pandemics 


In order to meet governments’ needs for detecting new pathogenic agents such as mutated viruses to protect citizens from respective threats, public health surveillance systems have to be developed. Besides being effective and economic, they need to be ethically sound. The challenge aims at working out the essential moral aspects which have to be taken into account and traded off against each other.  

Dr. Dr. Manuel Trachsel
Senior Research and Teaching Associate, Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine, University of Zurich,
Manuel Trachsel (MD, PhD) has been trained in medicine (MD), clinical psychology (PhD), and philosophy/ethics at the University of Bern, Switzerland. He is the head of the Clinical Ethics Unit at the University Hospital of Basel, and at the University Psychiatric Clinics Basel, Switzerland. He is a Research Associate at the Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine, University of Zurich, Switzerland. Dr. Trachsel has been a research fellow at the Bioethics Center of the University of Otago, New Zealand, in 2014, and at the Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, US, in 2016/2017. Dr. Trachsel was awarded with the 2020 Mark S. Ehrenreich Global Prize in Healthcare Ethics Research by the Pacific Center for Health Policy and Ethics, University of Southern California.

Challenge 4

Purpose-limited applications by design 


As data-driven approaches become the prevalent basis of applications and services, there is a need for solutions to mitigate the societal consequences that they bring. Regulatory frameworks typically mitigate the purposes for which data can be used at a contractual level, but still leave room for misuse. In this challenge, the goal is to design applications for a smart city in such a way that their purpose is technologically limited by design. 

Prof. Carmela Troncoso
Assistant Professor, EPFL - SPRING Lab

Carmela Troncoso is an Assistant Professor at EPFL (Switzerland) where she heads the SPRING Lab. She holds a Master's degree in Telecommunication Engineering from the University of Vigo (2006) and a Ph.D. in Engineering from the KU Leuven (2011). Before arriving to EPFL she was a Faculty member at the IMDEA Software Institute (Spain) for 2 years; the Security and Privacy Technical Lead at Gradiant working closely with industry to deliver secure and privacy friendly solutions to the market for 4 years; and a pos-doctoral researcher at the COSIC Group.

Carmela's research focuses on security and privacy. Her work on Privacy Engineering has received several awards, such as the CNIL-INRIA Privacy Protection Award 2017. She regularly publishes in the most prestigious Security and Privacy venues. In 2020 she leadled the design of privacy-preserving privacy contact apps, which led Fortune to include her in the list of 40 under 40 emerging leaders in Technology.



Christina Stent Wendler
Head Coach | Organisational Developer
Martin Gerber
Coach | Experienced facilitator
Daniel Böniger-Derron
Coach | Seasoned leader
Tara Welschinger
Coach | Entwicklungsberaterin mit Schwerpunkt Cultural Change Management
Florian Wieser
Coach | Possibilist

Our partners

Main partners

Fonds Verena Guggisberg-Lüthi

Scientific partners

Innovation process

Creative and innovative thinking is key to tackling the main topic at this event! Supported by experienced moderators, innovation-coaches and media professionals, participants follow a structured, yet open process based on the principle of co-creation.