NCCR Robotics has partnered with Fondation Pacte to produce “La robotique en tous genres”, a video series that aims to attract young students, and female students in particular, towards scientific and technical subjects.
The series tells the story of Ada, a young scientist who, as she begins her work day in a robotics laboratory where she develops exoskeletons, recalls the path that brought her to science, and in particular how a visit to a research laboratory when she was 10 years old started her fascination with robots. The series comprises two episodes, called “Voyage au pays des robots” and “Le nouveau langage d’Ada”. The episodes were partly shot at EPFL, and 68 students from primary and secondary schools in Aigle (VD) were involved in the development of the script (during writing workshops in the classrooms) and in the shootings.
The main goals of the projects are to awaken curiosity for science from an early age, to deconstruct gender stereotypes that present some fields of science and technology as primarily for males, and to create bridges between industry and school. Increasing the number of female students in engineering and science is indeed urgent: for example, the percentage of females at EPFL – although growing is below 30%, and even lower in the School of Engineering, where women in 2019 made up 18 % of bachelor students, 17% at the Master level and 27% of PhD students. The percentages are similar, but even lower, for Computer Science.
The videos were shot in French, but will be dubbed in German, English and Italian during 2022. They can be viewed online and are available for schools to build activities around them, such as collective projections followed by discussions with the students, roundtable involving scientists and engineers, workshops where technical professions are presented to students, and visits to laboratories.