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A long-term sustainable use of resources and the environment will secure humanity’s basic needs. Energy, climate, food, future cities and the handling of complex risks are all topics of global importance in which ETH Zurich has established itself as an international centre of excellence and reference.

topic picture sustainability
A balance between the use of natural resources and environmental protection is of existential importance for humanity. (Image: iStock)

Most ETH departments and a growing number of competence centres are researching and creating solutions to ensure the sustainable development of our society.

In the field of energy, ETH Zurich has contributed significantly to implementation of the Federal Council’s Energy Strategy 2050. ETH is leading three of the eight Swiss Competence Center for Energy Research (SCCER) centres: power supply, energy efficiency in industry and mobility. Under the umbrella of the Energy Science Center, researchers from engineering, the natural sciences and social sciences are working together on renewable energies and their integration into the energy infrastructure, and on sustainable business models for the energy sector.

In climate research, ETH Zurich is working with partners to set up the Swiss Polar Institute; it also operates the National Centre for Climate Services (NCCS). Competencies relating to climate simulation and the modelling of its future development are combined in the Center for Climate System Modelling (C2SM). Climate scientists and researchers from various departments are also investigating how climate change affects ecology, the economy and society. ETH climate experts are involved as authors in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports.

Research at the World Food System Center (WFSC) contributes to long-term food security. Agricultural, environmental and nutritional scientists are working with industry partners to develop innovative approaches to the question of how the world’s growing population can be sustainably and consistently supplied with high quality, healthy food. This requires environmentally friendly and robust production systems.

In the field of high density urban area development, ETH Zurich researchers at the Singapore ETH Centre are investigating the progress of sustainable urban development under different cultural, climate and economic conditions. The Future Cities Laboratory brings researchers from different disciplines together with designers and architects.

ETH takes a systematic and interdisciplinary approach to addressing the potentially enormous impact of global risks. The ETH Risk Center combines competencies from eight departments. The Future Resilient Systems project at the Singapore ETH Center examines how critical infrastructures can be better protected in modern, innovation-driven companies. The expanded Zurich Information Security & Privacy Center (ZISC) researches information security.

News on sustainability


A love for the common species

The key instrument in the protection of species – the red list– is a register of particularly rare species. The principle is that the rarer a species, the more urgent are the measures to prevent its extinction. However, this distracts from the fact that Nature should be rich in common species. Read more 


Understanding changes in extreme precipitation

An ETH study explores why the increase in extreme precipitation is not the same across every region. This paves the way toward improved regional climate projections. Read more 


Swiss households could save energy

Efficient use of electricity is central to Energy Strategy 2050. But how much electricity-saving potential do Swiss households actually have? And which factors influence this efficiency? Read more 

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Fri May 26 13:44:29 CEST 2017
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