Axe 7: Sports & Surpassing oneself

Long duration sports, which involve numerous mental and psychological functions, allow for short term studies on mental projections of surpassing oneself.

This research is fully in line with objectives 3 (Good Health and Well Being) of the 17 sustainable development goals of UNESCO.




A pilot project launched in collaboration with the FondaMental Swiss Foundation, the COMETE research unit. Several ultra-trail runners are followed and monitored via several systems similar to those of the “Mission-Solo 4×30 days,” such as the SENSE sensors from the Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology, the e-clesuis sensors from BodyCap and others.

This pilot is the first part of the EMPHASE (Endurance Monitoring PHysiology Adaptation SEnsors) project. It involves analyzing the data from trail runners, who before, during and after the race will be covered with sensors, will have to answer questionnaires, do tests on a computer and dynamometer and will give blood samples, with the help of nurses and operators, who will manage the portable devices and retrieve data from these tools, embedded on the runners’ vests. The measurements will take place in situ, using the connected sensors, followed by on-site lab-type experimental evaluations (device with laptop and dynamometer) and blood samples.

The interest of the study is the superimposition of this data with the precise GPS tracking of the subjects and therefore of their performance, considering variations over alternating day and night periods (study of chronobiological rhythms).



1) The medical monitoring of athletes and the improvement of their performance

2) Understanding the physiology of adaptation to harsh environments

3) The development of connected biotechnological tools and in-situ tests to measure physiological variables and brain functions in natural environments (e-health).

4) Research on the physiological components of motivation and their disturbances in mood disorders (mental health)

There are clinical similarities between the states of trail racers while competing, and severe infectious states of some patients. A better understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms involved in prolonged physical aggression on the body, during a long intensive effort, should allow us to investigate new avenues of therapeutic exploration. The analysis of trail runner data therefore boosts the discovery of new treatments for sick patients.

Textes © Fondation FondaMental Suisse