Reducing poverty through essential technologies

The EssentialTech program aims to develop essential technologies that have the potential to reduce poverty and vulnerability. Its approach combines technology development with the elaboration of innovative business models for a sustainable and large-scale impact.

Contact: Dr. Klaus Schönenberger


In developing and emerging countries, the scarcity in quality infrastructure, in financial resources, in qualified personnel, together with extreme environmental conditions, create a challenging environment for technologies.


A methodology has been developed to meet these particular needs. It is based on five elements:

  • Identification and understanding of needs for essential technologies
  • Close collaboration with local partners
  • Technology innovations and value chain adapted to the context
  • Sustainable solutions through a viable business model
  • Large-scale impact via entrepreneurship


CHF 14 million of funding for all-terrain radiology

Pristem SA, a company spun off from EPFL’s EssentialTech program, has raised CHF 14 million of new capital in a first round. The funding will enable it to put its prototype of a robust digital radiology system, appropriate for both ind

The HelloMask project unmasks humans in hospitals

A collaborative effort between the EPFL's EssentialTech program and the Federal Laboratory for Materials Testing and Research (Empa) in St.Gallen, the HelloMask project is working to create a new type of material that could be used in th