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Featured by Science AAAS

The Daylight Academy wants to promote international and interdisciplinary cooperation among scientists, architects and other professionals involved in daylight research or with a strong interest in daylight related topics.

By providing a platform for connection and exchange among the different disciplines and fields of expertise working on daylight the Academy wants to initiate cooperation, innovation and new knowledge. Such interdisciplinary exchange has the potential to be a catalyst for creativity, novelty and development.

The aim is to strengthen daylight research and its applications for the benefit of humanity and nature.

The Daylight Academy was officially inaugurated in  November 2016.


Mission Statement

“The international Daylight Academy (“Academy”) aims to promote international and interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary cooperation among scientists, architects and other professionals within daylight research or with a strong interest in daylight related topics to impact daylight research and its application for the benefit of humanity and nature.

The impact shall be achieved by:

  • Connecting scientists, architects and other professionals, linking disciplines and promoting interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary thinking to initiate cooperation, new knowledge and innovation.
  • Being a catalyzer for creativity, novelty and development within all involved disciplines in daylight research and its application.
  • Disseminating the knowledge to specialists and the public.”
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The Daylight Academy was started as a bottom-up initiative. Since 2013 the Velux Stiftung has organised several scientific workshops to identify hotspots of daylight research. Scientists participating in these workshops showed a strong interest to have a permanent opportunity for exchange and collaboration. The board of the Velux Stiftung supported this and the foundation facilitated the development of the idea.

From the beginning, it was clear that the Academy should be independent and allow its members to define the shape of the Academy as well as its topics, dedicated to daylight. Therefore, the Daylight Academy has become an entirely independent initiative of scientists, facilitated by the Velux Stiftung.

The Daylight Academy also evolved in the context of many initiatives and programs that go back to the founder of the Velux Stiftung, Mr. Villum Kann Rasmussen and his dedication to daylight: Together with its sister foundations in Denmark the Velux Stiftung organises the Daylight Award for science and architecture. Finally, the VELUX company organises the Daylight Symposium that focuses on the more applied aspects of daylight in building technology.


The Daylight Academy consists of:

Its members, who are committed to the purpose of the Academy and are willing to actively participate in and contribute to the Academy’s activities;

A steering committee, which coordinates, supervises and develops the activities of the Academy;

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BAG White MIA White BAG Handbag BAG White MIA MIA Handbag Handbag Members are outstanding representatives and opinion leaders from all countries and disciplines, conducting research or implementing applications related to daylight. They agree to actively participate in and contribute to the annual activities, conferences and the general assembly.

Members can be nominated by two existing members and shall be elected during the general assembly.

Steering Committee

White MIA White BAG Handbag MIA White BAG Handbag Handbag BAG MIA The steering committee consists of five to seven members, representing the different disciplines and geographical areas that are active in the Academy.

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From left to right: Burkhard König, Arthur Gessler, Jean-Louis Scartezzini, Anna Wirz-Justice, Bernhard Wehrli, Brian Norton (Albert Gjedde is missing).

“Daylight is an ubiquitous and renewable resource on Earth that allows us to foster human centric building technologies in favour of a sustainable development.“

Prof. Jean-Louis Scartezzini, Spokesperson
Solar Energy and Building Physics Laboratory, EPFL Lausanne, Switzerland
Expertise: Daylighting Technology, Passive & Active Solar, Sustainable Building Technology

“As a plant ecophysiologist and an ecosystem ecologist, my interest in daylight research is obvious. Plants and (almost) the whole ecosphere gain their energy from sunlight. Moreover, we understand more and more how daylight and the day-night cycle convey information and allow plants and ecosystem to use photoperiod as surrogate for other less reliable cues. Light acts as source of both, energy and information, for the ecosphere - that is what I find exiting.“

Prof. Arthur Gessler
Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Birmensdorf, Switzerland
Expertise: Plant Ecophysiologist, Ecosytem Ecologist, Botany, Agricultural Plant Science

Albert Gjedde is a Danish-Canadian neuroscientist who explores the effect of light on the activity and functions of the cerebral cortex of humans. In this work, Albert Gjedde uses light in the form of 511 keV photon radiation to map the locations of the cerebral cortex where activity and functions change in relation to exogenous light exposure. The activity and functions mapped in this way include energy metabolism and neurotransmitter synthesis, release, and binding to monoamine receptors in the mammalian brain.

Prof. Albert Gjedde
Center of Neuroscience, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Expertise: Neuroscience, Physiology, Neurology

“Daylight is energy. I am interested to use visible light in chemical synthesis. Artificial photosynthesis extends the toolbox of chemistry by energy efficient and selective reactions that are useful for the synthesis of drugs and chemicals.“

Prof. Burkhard König
Institute of Organic Chemistry University of Regensburg, Germany
Expertise: Organic Chemistry, Chemical

Brian Norton is an engineer and physicist undertaking research into solar energy conversion and energy in buildings. He has made contributions to the understanding of daylight transmission through advanced adaptive glazing materials particularly for low-heat-loss windows and for luminescent and suspended particle devices storage of daylight in novel photonic systems and the optimisation of solar energy uses in buildings for heat and electricity.

Prof. Brian Norton
Dublin Energy Lab
Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland
Expertise: Architectural, Electrical & Environmental Engineering

“My research group is looking at the cycles of carbon and nutrients in natural waters.
Daylight drives the growth of green algae which initiate complex food chains in lakes. We are specifically interested in the twilight zone in deep waters where daylight fades away. In this transition zone, the green world of algae and photosynthesis reaches its limits and the dark power of respiration takes control of the biological processes.”

Prof. Bernhard Wehrli
Surface Waters Research & Managment Eawag Dübendorf, Switzerland
Expertise: Biogeochemistry, Water, Sediment, Nutrients, Carbon

“The 24-hour day-night cycle and its changes in day length throughout the year are the most important signals for our biological clock. As a researcher who has studied light effects on human behaviour and physiology as well as its therapeutic applications, I am curious how we can refocus on natural daylight to improve our well-being, performance, and quality of life, as well as implementing advances in chronobiology into improving the built environment.“

Prof. em. Anna Wirz-Justice
Centre for Chronobiology, Psychiatric Clinics, University of Basel, Switzerland
Expertise: circadian rhythms and sleep, light therapy, psychiatry
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21 August 2018

Winter School on daylight

The next ETH Sustainability Winter School will be organised in partnership with the Daylight Academy on the topic “Daylight in the context of ecosystems, human health and architecture”. The lectures and workshops will take place from 13 to 19 January 2019 on the beautiful mountain Rigi in Switzerland. The call for applications will open in autumn 2018.

More information
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9 July 2018

BAG Handbag MIA MIA White White MIA White BAG Handbag Handbag BAG “Clocks & Sleep” – New Open Access Journal

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The journal Clocks & Sleep (C & S) is a multidisciplinary, peer-reviewed, open access journal. Clocks & Sleep offers peer-reviewed original research covering all aspects of biological rhythms and sleep, assessed in all organisms, cell cultures as well as in clinical human studies. Emphasis is on genetic, biochemical, physiological, neurobehavioral, imaging, epidemiological, modeling and clinical approaches. The journal welcomes original articles, reviews, short communications and case reports from basic research, clinical research and applied science.

More information

7 June 2018

DLA member Olafur Eliasson exhibits in Zurich

Artist Olafur Eliasson, member of the Daylight Academy, has been invited to contribute to the Zurich Art Weekend, which takes place from 8 to 10 June 2018. During this weekend, museums, art centres, foundations, international galleries and offspaces will open their doors to propose a rich program of more than 50 events. Eliasson’s contribution is being exhibited from 9 June to 2 September 2018 together with other artists’ works as “Art in Public Space (KiöR)” in “Neuer Norden Zürich” (Zurich Oerlikon).

More information
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This is the first publication of the Daylight Academy and gives a non-exhaustive overview of the variety of topics that unite scientist and professionals working on daylight. The publication highlights the state of the art as well as future perspectives ahead of us.

The booklet is published as a special feature with the Science/AAAS Custom Publishing Office.

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Upcoming events

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More information: licht2018.ch

Date: 27 September 2018
Event: Daylight Award 2018
Location: Rolex Learning Center in Lausanne, Switzerland
More information: thedaylightaward.com

Date: 25 October 2018 - 26 October 2018
Event: DLA Annual Conference & General Assembly
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Open to: DLA Members & Guests

Past events

Date: 21 Jun 2018 - 24 Jun 2018
Annual Meeting of the Society for Light Treatment & Biological Rhythms
Location: Groningen, The Netherlands
Info: sltbr.org
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Date: 12 May 2018 - 16 May 2018
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2018 Society for Research on Biological Rhythms Meeting
Location: Amelia Island, Florida, USA
More information
Date: 3 May 2018
Daylight: sleep, health and myopia; with Steven Lockley and Richard Hobday
Location: National Gallery, London, England
Registration and more information
Date: Call for Nominations for The Daylight Awards 2018 is open until 31 December 2017.
The Daylight Award 2018
Open to: all people
Info: thedaylightaward.com
Date: 17 Nov 2017
Annual Conference & General Assembly
Location: Lausanne, Switzerland
Open to: Members & Steering committee
Photo gallery
Date: 7 Nov 2017 - 8 Nov 2017
The Daylight Award, open lectures
Open to: all people
Info: thedaylightaward.com
Date: 6 Nov 2017
From Daylight to Lighting 4.0
Open to: all people
Workshop: Swissphotonics.net
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Date: 14 Aug 2017 - 19 Aug 2017
Science Xplore, ART LAP Zürich, Living Daylight
Open to: scientists, artists and young students between ages 12-16
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Info: Sciencexplore.org
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