The NCCR Microbiomes aims to share its results with society and to increase microbiome literacy in the population. It will build liaisons to public science centres in order to facilitate communication with the general public and schools. The NCCR Microbiomes will team up with UNIL and ETHZ outreach activities such as L’éprouvette (UNIL) and Treffpunkt Science City (ETHZ). Together with these popular platforms, the NCCR will provide insight into the world of research through lectures, science talks, demonstrations, exhibitions, laboratory tours, and educational games. This will give the public a chance to discover how new knowledge is generated and how it affects our world.

Taking this contact with the public as inspiration, the project will develop exhibition materials for display in NCCR member universities, and seek partners in science museums such as the ‘Musée de la main’ (UNIL-CHUV) or science fairs such as Scientifica (ETHZ-University of Zurich) to present a touring exhibition to inform the public about microbiome concepts and implications. This activity will persist after the lifetime of the project at the Centre for Microbiome Studies.

NCCR Microbiomes Outreach activities 2020-2024

Science fairs:

  • Mystères de l’UNIL 2021 (online), 2022, 2023 in Lausanne. Overall ca. 350 visitors, including school classes. Feedback from visitors and the central organisation at UNIL was extremely positive for both live editions
  • Scientifica 2021 and 2023 in Zurich: exhibition booth and workshop at Stocker lab. In 2021, ca. 200 visitors, very good feedback.


  • Discover the Microverse: outreach event organised during ISME18 in August 2022. With ca. 250 visitors, the event featured a scientific image and film competition, the launch of the Microbiomes video game, ‘ask a scientist’ booths and a panel discussion on science communication.
  • World Microbiome Day at the Alimentarium museum in Vevey (June 2023): public conferences about microbiomes and food (including NCCR speakers Vonaesch and Jordan Vacheron (UNIL)), and scientific image exhibition.
  • Exhibition ‘Microbiomes’ at the Musée de la Main (Lausanne), to open in May 2024. The exhibition aims to educate the general public on the importance and ubiquitousness of microbiomes, beyond the negative perceptions often associated with microbes. Visitors will become acquainted with basic concepts in microbiology and microbiomes, as well as methods used to study them, including computational simulations. They will then explore diverse microbial ecosystems: water, air, soil, plants, animals and humans. The exhibition will be interactive and playful, and will be complemented with satellite activities such as public conferences, guided tours, evening events at the museum. All research groups in the NCCR, as well as some other scientists, are contributing to the exhibition. We expect over 30’000 visitors throughout the ca. 18 months of its duration, and it will provide large visibility in the media and among schools.
  • Collaboration with Zoo Zurich (under development)

Science games:

  • Support of the development of the game Bactaille: PhD student Tania Miguel Trabajo (UNIL) created a card game for the 2022 edition of the Mystères de l’UNIL. Following its success, she developed the game further, turning into a chapter of her doctoral The NCCR has supported the later development stages (graphic design, testing, financial support)
  • Microbiomes video game , developped in collaboration with Koboldgames

Public presentations:

  • Talk about gut microbiota at the Gymnase de Renens by Philipp Engel (March 2023)
  • Pint of Science (Lausanne and Zurich, June 2023): NCCR members P. Engel, P. Vonaesch and Swapan Preet (PhD student, ETHZ) participated in the festival this year
  • Co-organisation of the screenings of ‘The Invisible Extinction’ at the Global Science Film Festival (Basel and Zurich, Mar-Apr 2023), including round table discussions
  • Échos du Vivant, May 2022: newsletter for secondary and high school teachers published by UNIL, addressed at more than 300 May 2022 edition about microbiomes, featuring the research of the NCCR, and coupled to an event with lab visits and public conferences for teachers organised by the Engel lab
  • Journée Osez Tous les Métiers (November 2021 and 2022)

Science communication courses:

  • Doctoral course on Lay Communication in Microbiology
  • Science and art co-creationship project with Sanja Saftic (Zurich University of the Arts, ZHdK)
  • Ma Thèse en 180 secondes: Estelle Pignon (PhD student, UNIL) was a finalist in the 2022 competition
  • FameLab: Tania Miguel Trabajo (PhD student, van der Meer lab) is a finalist in the 2023 competition
  • Figure 1.A. exhibition in Martigny: E. Pignon presented an artistic representation of a microbial community to a general public (March 2023)

NCCR Researchers in the media

  • Article about the NCCR in Le Matin Dimanche (13 Mar 2022), following interviews with R. van der Meer, J. Vorholt, P. Engel and Gilbert Greub
  • Article about the NCCR co-written by all WP1 PIs (G. Greub, Benoit Guery, P. Vonaesch, C. Bertelli and Greg Resch) in the Pipette journal (27 June 2022)
  • NCCR mentioned in an article in the NZZ am Sonntag (18 Jul 2021) about the microbiome atlases of several large cities in the world
  • Interview with Pascale Vonaesch on RTS (4 March 2022)
  • Interview Emma Slack in the Drogistenstern / Tribune du Droguiste (February 2023).
  • P. Vonaesch and B. Guery interviewed in an article about Microbiomes in Horizons, the outreach magazine of the SNSF
  • G. Resch interviewed in an article on phage therapy in l’Illustré (15 February 2023).
  • B. Guery interviewed in a programme about fecal transplantation on RTS (1 February 2022).
  • P. Vonaesch interviewed about the Microbiota Vault project on RTS (15 February 2023) and in the NZZ am Sonntag (6 Nov 20221).
  • G. Greub: several interventions on RTS (10 May 2023 antibiotic resistance, 8 April 2022 ticks, 19 June 2021 bacterial contamination in Lake Neuchâtel) and SRF (28 July 2022, Covid). Several interviews and contacts with newspapers 24 heures (about ticks, Covid, mononucleosis, etc), Le Matin, La Tribune de Genève et heidi news (Covid)
  • Roman Stocker interviewed on SRF about Covid (28 Sep 2021)