About Us

An association of creative scientists

Established in 2012 in Lausanne, Switzerland, The Catalyst is a group of scientific researchers and professionals that use entertainment as a means of engagement with the public. Using skills grounded in improvisation, theater, and film, we have created a variety of formats that showcase leading scientific ideas.

The Catalyst is an officially recognized (art. 56 LIFD, art. 90 LI) Swiss non-profit association governed by Articles 60 et seq. of the Swiss Civil Code according to our Association Statutes.

The Catalyst is a member of Association cine-clap and Science et cité.

What we do

See our Mission section for our aims and our Projects section for an extensive list of projects we have done.

Performance and media

The Catalyst has produced a variety of original and adapted media including theatrical plays, live improv shows (CatCave9, a monthly science-improv show has been entertaining and educating audiences since January 2016), film (co-organizer and incubator of Exposure Hackathon, a Swiss-wide science short-film hackathon), interactive debates, immersive games, and podcasts.

Improv for scientists

Our English-language weekly improv sessions in Geneva and Lausanne have become a popular gathering place for scientists and non-scientists, interested in learning theater skills and meeting like-minded creatives. First time improviser or improv ace? We don’t care, as long as you visit our weekly drop-in to meet us!

Trainings & Workshops

We use improvisation and storytelling techniques to help scientists (and non-scientists) be better communicators. This is taught in workshops, by request or invitation, in which we teach public-speaking skills and scientific communication strategies. Check out the Workshops section to learn more.

Meet the crew

The elected committee currently managing The Catalyst consists of:

  • President: Alex Seeholzer
  • Treasurer: Yuliy Schwarzburg
  • Communications: [not taken]
  • Training coordinator: Patrick Burch
  • Social & Opportunities Lead (“SocialOps”): Ann-Kristin Hov
  • Strategic Director, Founder & Advisor: Adria LeBoeuf

Funding & Support

CatCave9 is self-sustaining thanks to our lovely audiences.
Exposure Science Film Hackathon was jointly supported by UNIL, EPFL, CUSO, the Dudley Wright Foundation and Nikon. For 2018-2019 Exposure is supported by a Swiss National Science Foundation AGORA grant.
The Blue Butterfly Project 2014-2015 was supported principally by a Swiss National Science Foundation AGORA grant for science engagement with the public – “The Catalyst: Science on Stage.”
The Pôle d’Expression Théâtrale at EPFL and all of its component sponsors (Agepoly, FAE, EPFL) backed the initial launch of our group and continued to back us with financial aid, technical support, and advising for both Puppet Theories (2013) and An Enemy of the People (2014). They kindly helped support Blue Butterfly.
We thank the Center for Integrative Genomics and the UNIL for housing our weekly meetings and for providing administrative services.

Postal address

The Catalyst
c/o Pôle d’Expression Théâtrale
Case postale 42
1015 Lausanne

More about the association