The ETH Domain comprises Switzerland’s two federal institutes of technology (FIT) – ETH Zurich and the EPFL in Lausanne – and four research institutes: the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL), the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag). The ETH Board is the strategic management and supervisory body for the ETH Domain.
ETH Zurich and the EPFL are federally run higher education institutions. The two FITs provide teaching and research to the highest international standard and enjoy a solid worldwide reputation. Moreover, they regularly feature at the top of international university ranking lists. Their study programmes are closely correlated with research and prepare graduates for international careers in the academic world, in business and industry, in the public sector or as entrepreneurs.
The four research institutes are mainly involved in fundamental and applied research. In addition, they render scientific and technical services and take part in the teaching and research activities of higher education institutions. Some of their unique, internationally important research infrastructures are also open to outside researchers. The entire ETH Domain therefore contributes to the efficient transfer of knowledge and technology as well as the development of practical applications for research findings.
In 2016, the ETH Domain accounted for a total of nearly 30,000 undergraduate, graduate and PhD students, over 800 professors and around 18,000 full-time equivalent jobs.
The origins of the ETH Domain date back to 7 February 1854 when the National Council adopted the ‘Federal Polytechnic School Act’. This laid the groundwork for the opening of ETH Zurich on 15 October 1855. The EPFL became a federal institute of technology in 1969 (previously it was a polytechnic school of the University of Lausanne).
The ETH Domain falls under the authority of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER). The relevant administrative units within the EAER are the General Secretariat and the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI). The Federal Act of 4 October 1991 on the Federal Institutes of Technology (SR 414.110) serves as the legal basis.