Students and researchers at ETH Zurich achieve outstanding results – particularly when they enjoy wide-ranging support from donors. Read about the projects and individuals you have helped take flight over the past year with donations totalling CHF 62 million.
More first-class specialists thanks to philanthropy
Thanks to the support of donors and partners, 49 new Excellence Scholars from 17 countries were able to begin studying for a Master’s degree in September. The funding allows the students to focus entirely on their studies. Donors also enabled ETH to provide 460 young people from financially disadvantaged backgrounds with an ETH scholarship, opening up access to higher education.
Talented teams work on catalysis innovation and sustainable chemistry
Groups led by Javier Pérez-Ramírez, ETH Professor of Catalysis Engineering, and Christophe Copéret, ETH Professor of Surface and Interface Chemistry, are working with speciality chemicals company Clariant to drive innovation in catalysis. The aim of the new partnership is to improve understanding of the properties of catalysts and their performance. Clariant is also collaborating with ETH on projects in fundamental chemical research, supporting talented researchers and students, who benefit from Clariant’s extensive expertise in the industrial application of new technology.Read more
Important milestone for Master’s programme in Ghana
In 2021, applications opened for the Master’s programme in Mechatronic Engineering offered by Ashesi University in Accra, Ghana, and ETH Zurich, bringing the training of highly qualified future leaders in Africa a significant step closer. The students will gain expertise and acquire a broad range of skills, and collaboration with industry partners will ensure that the programme is relevant to industrial development. The Master’s programme was made possible by donors and partners, in particular the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the Tarbaca Indigo Foundation, Adrian Weiss, the First Advisory Group, the Georg und Bertha Schwyzer-Winiker Stiftung, the Arthur Waser Foundation and the Louis Dreyfus Foundation.Read more
Shaping the future of robotics together
As part of the RobotX strategic initiative, electro-technology and engineering pioneer ABB and ETH have expanded their long-term interdisciplinary collaboration into robotic research. The aim of the initiative, which is also supported by the Hilti Group and the Hilti Family Foundation Liechtenstein, is to reinforce the leading research hub for robotics. Experts from around the globe are being recruited to develop future technology, such as mobile robots at the Center for Robotics.Read more
Award for top-class research in machine learning
How can machines be trained to learn autonomously and to support humans? Andreas Krause is one of the world’s leading researchers in the rapidly evolving field of machine learning. His approach combines the solid mathematical principles of machine learning with a reflective view of the potential impact of this technology on business and society. His pioneering work earned him the Rössler Prize, ETH’s research award, which is worth CHF 200,000. The prize was facilitated by a donation from ETH alumnus Dr Max Rössler and presented at the ETH Foundation’s Thanks Giving event.Read more
Fast-tracking highly innovative projects to benefit society
In 2021, 9 individual researchers and research pairs were able to press ahead with an entrepreneurial idea based on their ETH research thanks to Pioneer Fellow funding. They included Tino Matter and Sebastian Loy, whose start-up anavo uses cutting-edge nanotechnology for wound healing and skin transplants, and Paul Baade, who hopes to bring low-cost, high-performance batteries to market. The funding programme for ambitious young entrepreneurs is financed by donors. Its previous success stories have included Planted, a company that is causing a stir with its pea-based meat substitute, and ANYbotics, whose ANYmal is deployed by customers worldwide to carry out autonomous inspections, for example in power stations and industrial plants.
Private individuals and foundations support the success of the ETH AI Center
ETH launched its AI Center in autumn 2020. Researchers are investigating the responsible use of artificial intelligence (AI). The aim is for the Center to become a gateway to business, both nationally and internationally. In this rapidly growing field, which is attracting huge investment worldwide, next generation researchers are a crucial success factor. The ETH AI Center has therefore introduced a scholarship programme that attracts talent from all over the world. Funded by philanthropically engaged individuals, the Heidi Ras Stiftung, the Asuera Stiftung and Google, 17 doctoral candidates and eight postdocs began research at the Center in autumn 2021.Read more
Appointed Honorary Councillors
On ETH Day, ETH Zurich appointed alumnae Dr Germaine J. F. Seewer, Commander of the Armed Forces College and Deputy Chief of Training and Education Command, and Dr Suzanne Thoma, former CEO of BKW AG, Honorary Councillors. Seewer was recognised for her commitment to supporting young students at ETH and for her position as a role model for women striving for a career in traditionally male-dominated professions. Thoma was recognised for her huge commitment to teaching and research at ETH, particularly in the fields of energy and physics, and for promoting talent.
For an up-to-date education system
Support from the Jacobs Foundation enabled ETH and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne EPFL to launch a new joint doctoral programme in learning sciences. The aim is to train professionals who will be able to use their knowledge of technology and natural sciences to promote research, teaching and learning. The programme is conceptualised and designed by Manu Kapur, who holds the Chair of Learning Sciences and Higher Education at ETH Zurich and heads up its Future Learning Initiative, and Pierre Dillenbourg, Associate Vice President for Education and head of EPFL’s Computer-Human Interaction in Learning & Instruction (CHILI) lab.Read more
Funded ideas lab opens
Last year, following the pilot project on the Hönggerberg campus, ETH opened the Student Project House, a space that gives students the freedom to explore and test ideas. With its 24 3D printers, four laser cutters and many other tools, the Student Project House provides the perfect infrastructure for building prototypes. Students can also benefit from a range of coaching opportunities and workshops. As a result, lightbulb moments get transformed into business ideas, as was the case for the young entrepreneurs at Digit Soil. The Student Project House was made possible by donors Franke, Ernst Göhner Stiftung, Baugarten Stiftung, Georg und Bertha Schwyzer-Winiker Stiftung, Plastic Omnium and Georg Wacker.Read more
Major commitment to the climate
ETH alumnus Eric Winkler has taken a stance in the fight against climate change by supporting research into the ecology of ecosystems. The physicist and entrepreneur is supporting the research group led by ETH professor Tom Crowther. Comprising ecologists, restoration experts and data scientists, the group studies global ecosystems and generates knowledge to protect biodiversity and address climate change. Already since 2019 Eric Winkler has been supporting Excellence Scholars who study climate related issues.
Further boost for Rehab Initiative
The Rehab Initiative’s new partner Suva supports research projects in the field of accident and occupational health rehabilitation. The findings will benefit Suva’s policyholders and patients, and its involvement will support the translation of research into clinical practice. The aim of the Rehab Initiative, which was launched in 2019, is to allow ETH researchers to partner with clinics, foundations and authorities in order to improve the quality of life and participation of people with physical disabilities. In 2021, ETH and the Swiss Paraplegic Foundation also entered into a partnership. The aim is to establish an ETH research group on data science in spinal cord injuries, based in Nottwil.Read more
More productive, better, greener construction
Hexagon, a global leader in sensor, software and autonomous solutions, is supporting ETH’s new Center for Augmented Computational Design in Architecture, Engineering and Construction. The aim of the centre, which is more commonly referred to as Design++, is to develop digitally augmented design tools and computational processes that will increase construction productivity, improve the quality of the built environment and significantly reduce its ecological footprint. Hexagon’s donation, along with that made last year by Basler & Hofmann, has enabled the establishment of a new professorship in Augmented Computational Design and the launch of outstanding research ideas.Read more
Strong commitment to future-oriented infrastructure
Last year, the Albert Lück-Stiftung funded flagship projects in the field of future-oriented infrastructure in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering (D-BAUG). The aim is to develop innovative approaches that will ensure the functionality of civil engineering infrastructure. In order to further reflect the will of its founder, the department’s long-term funding partner created the new Albert Lück Grant to support interdisciplinary projects by doctoral researchers at D-BAUG.Read more