Only a few activities at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Material Science and Technology (Empa) still include quality testing. According to its director Gian-Luca Bona, Empa has since developed into a research institute whose focus is on materials research and technology development. 

For instance, Empa develops flexible solar cells or 3D-printed medical implants, and its aim is to develop research results into market-ready products. “We get innovations going,” Bona said in an article in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung.

Empa cooperates with various companies to transform research into implementation – and the planned Innovation Park Zurich will make it easier to establish such contacts as it will be located just a few hundred metres away from Empa on the airfield site in Dübendorf. Empa will concentrate there on forward-looking areas such as robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), medtech and biotech, with the aim of establishing contacts to major international companies. 

Zurich is well positioned thanks to its outstanding universities, strong financial sector and high degree of legal certainty, said Bona. Empa’s role is thus to water the seeds and plants in this “biotope”. For example, a building on its campus is now used exclusively for the incubator Glatec, which supports startups for three years in developing their ideas into market-ready products.

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