“Zurich is our strongest innovation center by a long way”

Prof. Dr. Stefan Launer is in charge of the science and technology programs at Sonova, the world’s leading provider of hearing care solutions.
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You have been working in Switzerland at the Sonova Group for over 20 years. Evidently the working environment by Lake Zurich appeals to you?

Yes, the region is fantastic. I feel very much at home here, at both a professional and a personal level. There is a lot of innovation and research going on around Lake Zurich in various technological fields – including medical technology.

How do you assess the technological developments relating to hearing care solutions since you started at Sonova?

Huge advances have been made in the sphere of hearing care solutions over the last 20 years. They have developed to become intelligent micro systems, which are now available in an elegant design. We can expect further significant improvements in future. The integration of sensors and the networking of hearing aids with the Internet open up many new possibilities. We will also be seeing major progress in the design and the materials used.

Professor Stefan Launer is an expert in hearing research. His career path has taken him from Oldenburg University in Germany to Switzerland, where he has been driving forward research at the Sonova Group since 1995.

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Sonova operates six innovation centers worldwide. How does the innovative strength at the Zurich hub rate compared to the other centers?

Zurich is our largest and strongest innovation center by a long way. Thanks to our links with many excellent universities, its high quality of living, but also its “Swissness”, the Zurich region is fantastic for developing innovations.

As a professor, you also lecture at various universities. What motivates you to do this?

I am a visiting professor at the Universities of Queensland (Brisbane) and Manchester, and serve on various Advisory Boards, including at the ETH Zurich and the EPFL in Lausanne. My motivation mainly stems from the fact that my work with students and scientists requires me to continually develop – that is, ourselves and our projects. When you discuss research in an academic environment, you inspire other people, but you are also greatly inspired yourself.

Where else in Zurich and surrounding region do you find inspiration for your work?

In the nature – by the lake, in the woods and forests, and in the nearby mountains.

Which life sciences events or conventions do you think should definitely be held in Zurich – if they aren’t already?

“m-Health: The future of health care in the age of connectivity” or “A holistic perspective on health care – healthy aging”.