Federal Institutes of Technology | ETH Zurich & EPFL
ETH Zurich is one of the leading technical and scientific universities. It has a reputation for excellent teaching, pioneering fundamental research and the direct transfer of new findings into practical applications. ETH Zurich provides an inspiring environment for researchers and a comprehensive education for students.
Established in 1855, ETH Zurich now has around 23,500 students and doctoral students from over 120 countries. More than 500 professors are currently engaged in teaching and research in the fields of natural science, engineering, architecture, mathematics, system-oriented sciences and in management studies and the social sciences.
ETH Zurich is regularly rated as one of the world’s best universities in international rankings. It is ranked 6th in the QS World ranking and 14th in the THE World ranking. In Europe ETH Zurich ranks even higher, at 2nd and 4th (QS Europe ranking and THE Europe ranking). Twenty-one Nobel laureates have studied, taught or done their research at ETH Zurich. The innovations of the university flow into the most forward-looking sectors, from computer science to micro- and nanotechnology, to high-tech medical equipment. A total of around 500 spin-off companies since 1996, up to 100 patent applications each year, and around 1,500 collaborations with businesses worldwide and in Switzerland all go to show how successful ETH Zurich is in imparting its knowledge to industry and society.
ETH Zurich contributes to the sustainable resolution of global challenges. It is focused on data science, specialising in cybersecurity; health, with a new Bachelor’s degree in medicine (since 2017); sustainability, with topics such as energy supply or world food systems; as well as innovative manufacturing technologies.
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EPFL is a young, world-leading technical university, which is committed to three important tasks: teaching, research and innovation. Around 12,000 students and doctoral students from 120 countries and more than 370 laboratories conduct leading research in areas such as renewable energy, medical technology, neurotechnologies, materials science and information technology at the campus in Lausanne, on the banks of Lake Geneva.
EPFL is made up of several teaching, research and innovation centres of national and international importance. The high quality of its fundamental and applied research is demonstrated particularly by the considerable quantity of ERC grants obtained by EPFL researchers. And also by its ambitious scientific projects and sustainable innovations such as transparent-dye solar cells, the solar- powered aircraft Solar Impulse or the ultra- fast yacht Hydroptère. EPFL is also exploring new routes in education as a pioneer in the provision of MOOCs, which have been accessed by around 2 million students to date. It has been running the new Master’s degree course in Data Science since September 2017 and is also doing ground-breaking work in terms of ”computational thinking“ with a foundation course for all first-year students.
EPFL has been growing continuously since it was founded in 1969. Various rankings under line the progress made and the high standards achieved. Since 2010, EPFL has risen 18 places in the QS World ranking and more than 10 places in the THE World ranking.
Another area of expertise for EPFL is partnerships and projects that ensure its scientific and social impact. The EPFL Innovation Park is one of the first innovation parks in Switzerland and is home to around 200 start-ups and research centres run by noted companies. In 2020, 25 spin-offs were founded at EPFL.
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Whether in sport or in science, ranking lists are a suitable means to gain an impression of the sporting performance of individuals and teams, or of academic institutions. Even if the results of inter national rankings often deviate from each other considerably, the overall picture does enable trends to be identified: while the USA’s famous leading universities dominate internationally, the two Federal Institutes of Technology hold leading positions in Europe and have been able to maintain (and, to a certain extent, improve) their good placings in recent years. Both Federal Institutes of Technology are particularly successful in rankings which attach considerable weight to scientific publishing activity or international networking, but they are not so well placed if the supervision ratio is given more weight. The 2020 Leiden Ranking, which is based on bibliometric analyses (PP(top 10%)), ranked the ETH Zurich in 3rd place among the European universities and in 15th place among the world’s 250 biggest universities on the strength of the worldwide impact of its research (crown indicator) and the EPFL on the 4th and the 16th place, respectively.