Meet the Partner: The University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Western Switzerland


The University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Western Switzerland is a group of higher-education institutions located in Western Switzerland. Founded in 1998 and recognised by the Confederation of Swiss universities, the university is divided into six faculties. One of them, the Institute of Life Technologies, at the HES-SO Valais in Sion, is active in applied R&D and provides continuing-education courses.

Our interdisciplinary teams have excellent skills and extensive experience in the life sciences. We work closely with our business and industry partners to meet society’s current and future challenges. Sustainability is always the focus of our activities and projects. Our 90-strong team works in an ultra-modern environment. We promote innovation and offer our partner network a wide range of professional and consultancy services.

We carry out around 200 projects a year in fields as diverse as pharmaceuticals, biopharmaceuticals, environmental engineering, biotechnology, diagnostics, food technology, and chemistry. The interdisciplinary approach of the Sustainable Food System team is driven by consumer needs, expectations, preferences, and the changes  in our food systems that are needed to mitigate climate change.

The HES-SO Valais-Wallis and the Smart Protein project

Scientist standing in a lab

Photo ©Olivier Maire

HES-SO Valais’ main task is to provide advice on food safety to the project partners and to analyze the microbiological components/contaminants and mycotoxins present in the protein matrices and primary food components. This will be achieved through sampling raw materials and products and challenge tests (that evaluate the stability and shelf life of a product) but may also extend to the evaluation of hygiene and cleaning of product lines, if requested by the producers.


The expertise that the HES-SO Valais-Wallis brings to the Smart Protein project

Photo ©Olivier Maire

In order to ensure reliable and accurate evaluation of the samples in the Smart Protein project, the Institute utilises its ISO-accredited food-microbiology and food-chemistry laboratories. These methods are part of the standard portfolio of tests offered by the microbiological laboratory and are backed by interlaboratory tests and government- and client-based audits. The laboratory performs about 6,000 such tests annually.

HES-SO Valais-Wallis’s work outside of the Smart Protein project

Our interdisciplinary team of experts work in various fields related to food technology, food microbiology, chemistry, physics, and consumer sciences in order to achieve sustainability goals and provide healthy and nutritious diets for all. The expertise outside the Smart Protein project is as follows:

Food-process development

  • Product design and formulation 
  • Pilot scale processing
  • Equipment design 
  • Process modeling
  • Processing of microbial, microalgal, and plant biomass (proteins) 
  • Valorisation of industrial by-products
  • Modulation of functional components 
    Food safety concepts

  • Food analytics
  • Advanced microbial technologies such as qPCR and next-generation sequencing  
  • Identification of bioavailability, bioactivity, and metabolism (Foodomics)
  • In-vitro modeling of digestion and gut microbiome
  • Systems biology 
  • Physical properties of food systems
  • Sensory analysis