Swiss Centre of Expertise in Life Course Research

Swiss Centre of Expertise in Life Course Research

Inaugurated in 2019, the LIVES Centre is an inter-institutional centre that studies the effects of the economy and post-industrial society on the evolution of situations of vulnerability through longitudinal and comparative studies. It aims to better understand the emergence and evolution of vulnerability and how to overcome it in order to foster the emergence of innovative socio-political measures.

The particularities of the LIVES Centre include interdisciplinarity, the entire life course and resource mobilization. These three fundamental aspects of the research conducted at the Centre aim to give a global picture of the trajectories of individuals, taking into account the interactions between the different fields of life, such as family, gender, work, health, age, etc. In addition, researchers are studying the influence of societal structures, which can facilitate or hinder the mobilization of individuals' resources.  

Three missions at the heart of the LIVES Centre's activities

Science, society and training are at the heart of the LIVES Centre's research, and make it a reference centre at national and international level.

  • Science: To be an international leader in interdisciplinary research on life courses and vulnerabilities.
  • Society: To be a recognized centre of expertise in Switzerland and internationally on issues related to vulnerability throughout life.
  • Training: To train and encourage the next generation of researchers with high skills in life course analysis.

Methods at the service of society

The LIVES Centre regularly collaborates with cantonal or communal authorities as well as other civil society actors in order to apply the methods developed by the research teams in the field. Among the many benefits of these collaborations is the direct impact on the life course of citizens, who benefit in a very concrete way from the academic work carried out by the Centre.

From a national research centre to an interdisciplinary centre

The LIVES Centre houses the national LIVES research centre (NCCR LIVES) "Overcoming vulnerability: Life-course perspectives", which started its activities in January 2011. It is made up of the Interdisciplinary Centre of Life Course Research LIVES-UNIL, based at the University of Lausanne (Faculty of Social and Political Sciences) and at the University of Geneva (Interfaculty Centre for Gerontology and Vulnerability Studies - CIGEV). In addition,  a structure which supports social innovation, LIVES Social Innovation, is the result of a partnership between the LIVES Centre and the University of Applied Sciences of Western Switzerland (HES-SO). The mission of LIVES Social Innovation is to carry out innovative actions in the field of social work and health. The LIVES Centre is the result of the national LIVES research centre (PRN LIVES) "Overcoming vulnerability: a life-course perspective", which started its activities in January 2011.

The NCCR LIVES was born from the initiative of the Centre de recherche sur les parcours de vie et les inégalités LINES, a research unit of the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences of the University of Lausanne, with which strong scientific collaborations are maintained.