ETH Zurich plans German campus with donations from foundation

Swiss university will also establish 20 new professorships, funded by the Dieter Schwarz Foundation

December 8, 2023
ETH Zurich

ETH Zurich will open a teaching and research centre in Heilbronn, Germany following a major donation from the Dieter Schwarz Foundation, the Swiss university has announced.

The centre will be ETH’s second overseas branch, following the establishment of the Singapore-ETH Centre for Global Environmental Sustainability in 2010. Focusing on “responsible digital transformation with a global reach”, the German partnership will see the creation of about 20 new professorships over the next 30 years.

Two new professorships in computer and data science will be introduced in Zurich as a “concrete first step”, ETH said, while investment will also be directed towards the Zurich Information Security and Privacy Center, established in 2003. The collaboration will centre on subjects including artificial intelligence, bioinformatics and the circular economy, the university said.

“This partnership with the Dieter Schwarz Foundation allows ETH Zurich to further develop its research and teaching, particularly in the field of artificial intelligence, to an extent that would not be possible with regular ETH funding and structures,” Joël Mesot, the university’s president, said.

“Joint research and jointly generated knowledge will benefit Switzerland, Germany, Europe and, ultimately, the whole world.”

The new campus will be located at the foundation’s teaching campus in Heilbronn, where the Technical University of Munich already has a presence.

Reinhold Geilsdörfer, managing director of the Dieter Schwarz Foundation, said: “We’re delighted that, following the renowned Technical University of Munich, ETH Zurich will now be strengthening the ecosystem in Heilbronn as another top international university.

“We need an alliance of the best scientific forces,” Professor Geilsdörfer added.

At 11th position in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for the past two years, ETH Zurich, a public research university, is among the world’s most prestigious science and technology institutions, associated with more than 20 Nobel laureates – among them Albert Einstein.

Dieter Schwarz, a German entrepreneur, established his charitable foundation in 1999. Alongside its work in Heilbronn, where it is based, the foundation has also funded projects at the University of Oxford and Stanford University, among others.

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