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Student voice 24 Nov 2022

Countering biodiversity loss, CIS alumna Miya F. and team launch Synature

By CIS Communications
Photograph by Miya F.

The wild wolf population has recently been growing rapidly in Switzerland. Seen as a predatory threat against livestock, they are often lost to culling. This harrowing fact caught the attention of CIS alumna Miya F. (Class of 2018) and her teammates, who wanted to find a way that would enable the peaceful coexistence between humans and wildlife.

Their solution? They created Synature, an acoustic monitoring technology that can map the location of animals without interfering with their natural habitat. Biologists and rangers can now better identify wolf howls and movements without going into the field.

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This meaningful project was made possible through Miya’s current university Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). She met one of her teammates during her Masters programme, and through a shared passion for wildlife conservation, started on this venture to prevent biodiversity loss together.

Miya had an interest in life science engineering since her CIS days when she took physics and biology as an IB Diploma student. She chose to pursue the field for her Bachelor’s degree, which she thought had the right balance of mathematics, physics and computer science with applications to the human body.

Her time at CIS not only shaped her path today, but also left her with some fond memories. Her favourite moments were made on the volleyball court when she was part of the competitive sports team, “Our team had great chemistry, and it made getting Bronze in our first year playing in division 1 all the more fun!”

She also loved how accessible her teachers were whenever she had a question, and how they remained approachable and supportive even after classes ended. All of this helped prepare her for her university studies at EPFL.

As she advanced to her Masters programme, she wanted to go beyond research. She decided to major in Management, Technology and Entrepreneurship, while still minoring in life sciences. This was when she became actively involved in EPFL’s start-up ecosystem and was even part of a student-led venture capital that shortlisted start-ups for funding.

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When the idea for Synature was born, she was ready for the inevitable challenges, “I believe that we are never 100% ready to start building a company. We have made some mistakes, but being prepared to fix them and learn from them is the only way to go forward. Nothing is going to be perfect at first.”

Miya and her team are well on the way to success, having reached their crowdfunding goal in just three weeks. Now, they are looking forward to enhancing their new prototype’s design and usability through extensive tests and research.

“I am most excited for the journey that this early-stage startup will be taking,” she shares. “It will be very rewarding to reach some big milestones as a team!”

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