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Missions of the LIVES Centre

The goal of the LIVES Centre is to develop theories, methods and innovative empirical studies to understand the different forms and dynamics that vulnerability can take along the life course

The LIVES Centre promotes an interdisciplinary approach and is concerned with specific life stages or lifelong processes. The Centre aims to provide a picture of individuals' trajectories, taking into account the interactions between different life domains, such as family, work, health, etc. In addition, LIVES researchers investigate the influence of societal structures such as gender and age norms that can facilitate or hinder the mobilization of individuals' resources in their navigation of life course events and transitions.  

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

Science, training and society are at the heart of the LIVES Centre's mission.

How do people adapt to a changing world? The development of post-industrial society, while synonymous with increased longevity and material comfort, is also a source of new challenges. Faced with changes in family structures and cultural identities, made insecure by globalisation, heightened migration and mobility and climate change, many people are exposed to vulnerability, either because they lack essential resources or because their living conditions deteriorate. These processes can cause suffering and social exclusion.

Consequently, the study of the mechanisms that allow individuals to adapt to the evolution of society is a priority for understanding the dynamics that vulnerability can take along the life course.

The LIVES Centre is composed of an interdisciplinary network of researchers in sociology, demography, psychology, social policy and political science, economics, epidemiology, health sciences and statistics. Hosted jointly by the Universities of Lausanne and Geneva, the LIVES Centre has strong links with other institutions, notably the Swiss Centre of Expertise in the Social Sciences (FORS), the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Western Switzerland (HES-SO), the Society for Longitudinal and Life Course Studies (SLLS), the Leading House for Governance in Vocational and Professional Education and Training (GOVPET), the National Centre of Competence in Research on Migration and Mobility (NCCR On the Move).

To promote collaboration between researchers, the LIVES Centre organizes research seminars, international conferences and networking events. It also supports working groups and offers visiting grants to international researchers.

Mission: Science

The LIVES Centre proposes a Doctoral Programme aimed primarily at doctoral students in sociology, demography, psychology, health sciences or related disciplines who include a life course perspective in their work. The objective of the Doctoral Programme is to provide strong theoretical and methodological skills in the field of life course research and vulnerability, and to facilitate the professional integration of doctoral students into academic and other careers.

It is organized over a period of two years, with three to four modules each year.

The LIVES Centre’s commitment to the career development of talented researchers is also reflected in our grants to doctoral and postdoctoral candidates, and in our efforts to develop a supportive research environment (through seminars, conferences, networking events, winter schools, a writing retreat, etc.).

Mission: Formation

The LIVES Centre tries to put scientific methods at the service of society. LIVES researchers regularly collaborate with national, cantonal and communal authorities: LIVES sees itself as a laboratory for generating exchanges with civil society, developing partnerships with professionals, and building bridges between arts and science.

The expertise and empirical studies of LIVES researchers are particularly relevant to issues related to social policies, labour market integration, ageing, gender equality and social cohesion.

The LIVES Centre regularly publishes policy briefs (LIVES Impact), as well as Social Change in Switzerland, a series that documents the evolution of Switzerland’s social structure for the general public. It produced in 2022-23 the LIVES Human Library with 16 podcasts on life course research and facilitates workshops in schools to discuss the potential of a life course approach with the younger generation.

Mission: Société