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Empa is the ETH Domain’s interdisciplinary research institution and service provider for materials science and technology. It develops solutions for industry and society in the fields of nanostructured materials and surfaces, environmental, energy-oriented and sustainable building technologies, biotechnologies and medical technologies. Together with industrial partners and via spin-offs in the Empa technology centres glaTec and tebo, it implements its research results in marketable innovations, thus helping to increase the competitiveness of the Swiss economy. It also creates the scientific foundations for sustainable societal development. Empa has been providing public authorities with base data for political decisions and conducting studies on behalf of federal offices since 1880.
At the end of 2011, around 920 personnel were working at Empa, including 26 professors, around 150 doctoral students and 40 trainees. In addition, there are around 150 graduands and student apprentices each year. Alongside numerous projects with industrial researchers, around 200 projects financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation, the Commission for Technology and Innovation and the European Union’s (EU) Framework Programmes are continually under way.
In 2012, the focus is mainly on “clean- tech” (among other things, Empa is planning NEST, a modular research and demonstration building that enables the development and testing of sustainable building technologies), as well as on biotechnology and medical technology, in that cooperation with university hospitals, cantonal hospitals and industry is being intensified, for instance.