“If we want to continue to be a driving force for Switzerland and its innovative capacity, and to keep pace with the world’s best, we must invest in more top talent,” says ETH President Lino Guzzella. This is why, together with the Executive Board, he launched the ETH+ initiative at the end of 2017. The goal is to develop greater capacity, and in particular to open up new fields of knowledge at the intersections between disciplines. The “+” of ETH+ not only refers to more professorships, but also to an increase in quality.
The Executive Board launched an ETH-wide tender based on the conviction that the ETH community itself – with its enormous breadth of expertise – best knows in which areas the greatest potential lies. In total, 68 idea sketches were submitted by May 2018, involving all 16 academic departments. Administrative units, the Association of Students (VSETH) and the Academic Association of Scientific Staff (AVETH) also submitted proposals.
“ETH+ has developed an unbelievably positive dynamic. Employees have joined forces beyond subject boundaries and generated outstanding ideas. This shows the enormous potential that ETH has to offer,” said Guzzella, paying tribute to the process at today’s town hall meeting. Uwe Sauer, Professor of Systems Biology and President of the ETH Research Commission, explained on behalf of the jury how they conducted their evaluation: from the 68 suggestions, the 10 that best fulfilled the criteria of originality, interdisciplinarity and complementary interfaces were invited to present a full proposal in August. On the recommendation of the jury, the Executive Board has now approved the following nine for implementation:
Security and Privacy in the Digital Society
, Lead: Professor David Basin, D-INFK
Digital Transformation & Society
, Lead: Professor Stefan Bechtold, D-GESS
ETH for Development
, Lead: Professor Isabel Günther, D-GESS
Future Learning Initiative
, Lead: Professor Manu Kapur, D-GESS
: Laboratory for Multiscale Materials Synthesis, Lead: Professor Maksym Kovalenko, D-CHAB
: New Therapies for Cardiovascular Diseases, Lead: Professor Edoardo Mazza, D-MAVT
Professorship for Robotics Materials
, Lead: Professor Ralph Spolenak, D-MATL
RobotX: Centre for Intelligent Machines
, Lead: Professor Marco Hutter, D-MAVT
ETH Centre for the Fundamentals of Data Science
, Lead: Peter Bühlmann, D-MATH
Launch of a second round
To finance the project, ETH is using reserves that it has accrued on all levels over the years. The professorships and departments involved will contribute one part of the funding, and the Executive Board another part. Substantial contributions from third-party resources will also now be sought.
While implementation of the nine initiatives gets underway, a second call to submit idea sketches will begin in October. The President is calling on everyone to actively take part and utilise the opportunities offered by ETH+.