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Since 2006, the ETH Board has supported four themed competence centers for interdisciplinary research, within which the institutions involved in the respective fields work closely together. The competence centers cover four areas: Energy and Mobility (CCEM), Environment and Sustainability (CCES), Materials Science and Technology (CCMX) and Biomedical Imaging (NCCBI). Together, they form a platform for linking fundamental and applied research in order to give innovative stimuli to industry and society and provide a point of contact for external queries.
In 2011, it provided 15.0m CHF of financial support for these centres. The ETH Board also intends to continue supporting the competence centres. Accordingly, in its strategic planning for 2012–2016, it established their role as important elements in the implementation of five focal topics. It is envisaged that the ETH Board will gradually phase out its start-up financing as of 2013.