Empa, pioneering materials science and technology research in Switzerland
From advanced research to sustainable solutions, Empa pioneers materials science and technology innovation in Switzerland.
Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, stands at the forefront of advanced materials and technology research. Embedded within the bustling activity of Switzerland’s vibrant research landscape, Empa dedicates itself to bridging the gap between cutting-edge scientific research and practical implementation.
In 2022, Empa’s researchers and engineers published over 860 scientific papers and patented 18 developments, while managing over 100 SNSF-funded projects, nearly 90 Innosuisse projects, and about 70 EU projects. These efforts, supported by almost CHF 60 million in third-party funding, have been pivotal in maintaining Empa’s status as a leader in materials science and technology. Additionally, Empa’s 34 spin-offs and start-ups housed in its two business incubators employ approximately 1,100 people, showcasing its significant impact on the innovation ecosystem.
From a testing institute to a research powerhouse
Empa’s journey began in 1880 in the cellars of Zurich’s Federal Polytechnical School, initially focusing on quality tests for construction materials. Under Ludwig von Tetmajer’s direction, it evolved into a comprehensive testing institute, expanding into fuel testing and textile testing, and later into a wide array of scientific disciplines. Relocating to Dübendorf in 1962 and subsequently expanding to St. Gallen and Thun, Empa has consistently adapted its focus, culminating in its current status as a world-renowned institute in materials science and technology.
Today, Empa’s motto, “Materials and Technologies for a Sustainable Future,” serves as a guiding light towards developing sustainable solutions through science and technology. With a focus on creating a circular economy and preserving natural resources, the institution’s mission is to forge paths for future generations. This commitment is further evidenced by their comprehensive mission statement, which outlines their goals, values, and culture, driving towards a sustainable and prosperous tomorrow.
Leading in climate and energy goals
Empa actively works to minimize its ecological footprint, adhering to sustainability principles defined in the Brundtland Report. Its environmental goals align with Swiss federal initiatives, aiming for ‘Net Zero’ emissions by 2030. Empa’s commitment to environmental stewardship extends beyond its own operations, as it seeks to lead in sustainable practices and solutions. As part of the VBE initiative, Empa reports on environment, energy, and mobility, contributing to Switzerland’s energy targets for 2050.
Through its research, collaborations and environmental initiatives, Empa continues to be an invaluable asset in Switzerland’s pursuit of innovation and sustainability.