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UZH Innovation Hub

Breaking communication barriers for better social inclusion

Breaking communication barriers
Photorealistic avatar developed by University of Surrey in collaboration with SWISS TXT


The Swiss Innovation Agency (Innosuisse) has granted funding for a large four-year project (overall budget: CHF 12.4 mio.) entitled “Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies” (IICT), under its new flagship scheme. The goal of this flagship is to develop information and communication technologies (ICT) for persons with disabilities. In particular, the flagship targets five applications: text simplification, sign language translation, sign language assessment, audio description, and spoken subtitles. Within the flagship, each application constitutes its own subproject, while tight connections between the sub-projects exist through shared technologies, such as artificial intelligence techniques. The user-centered approach of the flagship will lead to innovations that will support persons with hearing impairments, visual impairments, and cognitive impairments but also hearing sign language learners, thereby emphasizing the notion of accessibility as a bidirectional concept. The flagship subscribes to a participatory approach by including persons with disabilities in all phases of the research and development cycle.


The flagship is led by the Department of Computational Linguistics of the University of Zurich (PI: Dr. Sarah Ebling) and consists of four research partners overall, with subcontracting of an additional foreign research partner, and six implementation partners. Together, the flagship partners are among the primary stakeholders in the field of inclusive ICTs in Switzerland. 


In 2022 the flagship will start together with the following research and implementation partners:

University of Zurich, Department of Computational Linguistics

ICARE Research Institute

Idiap Research Institute

Interkantonale Hochschule für Heilpädagogik, HfH

University of Surrey, UK



Swiss Federation of the Deaf (SGB-FSS)

Zürich Versicherungs-Gesellschaft AG

Federal Department of Home Affairs (FDHA)

Federal Office for Civil Protection (FOCP)


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