ETH Week

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Are you waiting for an opportunity to tackle a real-world problem?

ETH Week is a new, innovative course designed to foster critical thinking and creativity. During ETH Week, you and other students from all ETH departments have the chance to address an important global challenge. Professors, CEOs, journalists, policy makers and NGO leaders help you to develop and verify your ideas. Be surprised and see what you can really do within one week.


ETH Week was held for the first time in 2015. It was so well received that there was a second edition, with a greater number of participants. Four more editions are planned for the years 2017–2020. The event is part of the Critical Thinking initiative, through which ETH Zurich promotes interdisciplinary and creative thinking.

This year, ETH Week will take place from 10–15 September 2017. The topic will be announced in March and registrations open simultaneously on this website. If you want to get an email when we are ready, follow the banner. 

Like in the previous years, textbooks stay at home: In 2015 and 2016, 120 respectively 180 students worked independently on a subject in small interdisciplinary groups, and presented their own ideas at the end. The title of the first edition in 2015 was The Story of Food. The second year was called Challenging Water. The demanding technical programme was complemented by team building activities, inspiring evening events and sports activities. In general, ETH Week topics affect us all and call for cooperation between people of different backgrounds.

Théophile-Messin Roizard, French bachelor's student in the 3rd semester of engineering.

‘I find it motivating to work with others on a project, and the mix of different degree courses is great. It's a completely different way of learning: We develop an idea, toss it out, and then come up with something new – and we're free to find our own solution.’

‘I registered because as an environmental engineer, I'm very much involved with the topic of water. While developing the concept in the team this week, I noticed that others from technical degree courses often think only about the technology when looking for a solution, not about the people.’

Carina Heuberger, Swiss master's student in the 1st year of environmental engineering.
Julian Helfenstein, Swiss doctoral student at the Institute of Agricultural Sciences.

‘I'm here as a tutor for the second time because I find ETH Week extremely inspiring. I would love to fill a bottle with the atmosphere and smell it over and over again to gain new inspiration.’

‘The interdisciplinary exchange offers so much. You learn to understand the vocabulary of other departments and also to translate yourself to some extent so that others can understand what you mean. I also like that we learn new things in a fun manner here.’

Gunther Klobe, German master's student in the final year of physics.
Xingong Xu, Chinese bachelor's student in the 1st semester of computer sciences.

‘I've never collaborated with such a large group in a workshop before, and I find it very productive. It's exciting to interact with different subject areas, and everyone works in a very purposeful manner. I also really enjoyed the lectures.’

‘ETH Week is a wonderful opportunity for students from all subject areas to tackle important societal issues and look for solutions together. They learn new approaches and, most importantly, critical thinking, which they will need later in the workplace.’

Sarah Springman, Rector of ETH Zurich.
Suzanne Thoma, CEO of BKW Group (all photographs: ETH Zurich/Alessandro Della Bella).

‘Interdisciplinary approaches are becoming more and more important as technologies increasingly grow together. We therefore need people who can bring these different technologies together. This is especially true of my industry, the energy sector.’

Get more information about ETH Week 2016 'Challenging Water'

Find out about ETH Week 2015 'The Story of Food'




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