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The institutions of the ETH Domain perform numerous national tasks on behalf of the Swiss Confederation.
In parallel with its core tasks, the ETH Domain also performs numerous national tasks. Many of these are either based on requirements set by legislation, or they are activities which the institutions have come to perform throughout the years. Other federal tasks have been integrated into the ETH Domain in the past and these contribute to the fulfilment of international obligations. Some of these tasks are mentioned here by way of example.
The Swiss Seismological Service (SED) at ETH Zurich is a federal agency and a partner for industry and authorities in the field of seismic monitoring. In 2010, SED was concerned with drawing up the Global Earthquake Model (GEM) and was selected as the location of the GEM Facility. ETH Zurich‘s other national tasks include, among others, the Swiss Economic Institute and the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre, as well as the ETH Library and the collections and archives that are associated with it.
EPFL‘s Center of Plasma Physics Research performs research tasks as part of Switzerland‘s involvement in the project ITER/Broader Approach and was evaluated in 2010 in view of the reformulation of the Swiss strategy for fusion research. As a user laboratory, PSI performs tasks for the Swiss research landscape. It operates large-scale research facilities such as the synchrotron light source, the neutron source and the muon source.
The national forest inventory realised by WSL is the most important tool used for the evaluation of sustainability in forest management at the national level; WSL implements the inventory in cooperation with the Federal Office for the Environment. In 2010, WSL published its third report covering data obtained between 2004 and 2006.
Together with the Federal Office for the Environment, Empa oversees the National Air Pollution Monitoring Network. The measurements taken at 16 sites all across Switzerland will serve to aid in the early detection of problematic air pollutants and for the evaluation of the effectiveness of Swiss environmental policy.
Eawag operates the Swiss Centre for Applied Ecotoxicology as a research and service centre, with the involvement of EPFL. Eawag is responsible for the aquatic aspects and EPFL for the terrestrial aspects.