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ETH Domain at WEF 2022 – Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin visits the SLF

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Visitors to SLF Davos, including Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin and around 60 other distinguished guests from the worlds of politics, research and business, had the chance to discover 'innovations from the ETH Domain: insights into research serving Switzerland'.


On the fringes of the Davos World Economic Forum (WEF), the ETH Domain's higher education and research institutions presented their work to stakeholders in Swiss politics, research and business. Guests included Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin as well as various members of the National Council and the Council of States; Martina Hirayama, the State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation; several members of the government of the Canton of Grisons; the presidents of both federal institutes of technology and the ETH Board; and the directors of the research institutions PSI, Empa, Eawag and WSL.


Six stations were set up for researchers to showcase their projects and innovative research results.

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ETH Zurich: The institute has been teaching and conducting research into agricultural sciences for 150 years, and its work is still very relevant today. For example, the fodder given to cows influences how much (or little) methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, they produce. Photo: Luzia Schär
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However, Nina Buchmann also outlined the challenge facing agricultural policy, namely striking the right balance between production, regulation and environmental impact. Photo: Luzia Schär
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EPFL: Wendy Lee Queen is researching a species of tiny sponge, a single gram of which could have an internal surface area greater than an entire football pitch. Her research will lay the foundations for the cost-effective and efficient recycling of gold from electronic scrap or the filtration of heavy metals from water, for instance. Photo: Luzia Schär
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PSI: The Swiss Light Source (SLS) allows Marco Stampanoni to take very special X-ray images, involving up to a thousand massively magnified 3D measurements per second. Such images have made it possible, for example, to develop drones modelled on flies and to improve the early detection of breast cancer. PSI will also be able to further cement its world-leading role thanks to the new SLS 2.0, which will be launched in 2025. (Photo: Luzia Schär)
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Empa: Advanced manufacturing technologies like 3D printing offer considerable potential for Swiss industry to boost its innovation and competitiveness. As Jakob Heier explained, Empa develops such technologies for a wide range of applications, from valves and damping elements to customised hip implants, in close collaboration with its industrial partners, who have access to Empa's infrastructure. Photo: Luzia Schär
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Eawag: Almost all of Switzerland's watercourses have been straightened or culverted to protect against flooding, combat malaria and reclaim land. However, this means that such bodies of water are less suitable as habitats for fish, for example. The law now stipulates that four thousand kilometres of rivers in Switzerland must be revitalised. Eawag's Christine Weber showed how this can benefit nature and how the success of such measures is verified in a standardised way. Photo: Luzia Schär
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WSL: Snow can provide more clean energy in winter. If Switzerland wants to transition to 100% renewable power generation, as envisaged by the Energy Strategy 2050, it runs the risk of supply shortfalls in winter in the medium term. Using a model with real snow in the cold laboratory, WSL's Michael Lehning and Annelen Kahl showed how photovoltaic facilities at high altitudes could significantly bridge such shortfalls, as they both generate electricity at the right time and are also highly efficient. Photo: Luzia Schär