Empa is an interdisciplinary research institute for materials science and technology. It finds solutions for industry and society in the fields of nanostructured materials and surfaces, environmental technologies, energy and sustainable technologies, as well as bio- and medical technologies. Working with industry partners and via spin-offs, it converts its research results in the Empa technology centres to marketable innovations, and contributes to the strengthening of the competitiveness of the Swiss economy. Moreover, it creates a scientific basis for the sustainable development of society.

Since 1880 the Empa has provided public offices with data resources for their political decisions, and it also carries out studies on behalf of federal government offices. About 1000 staff incl. 29 professors as well as some 200 doctoral students and 40 trainees are working at Empa. There are also about 200 Bachelor’s and Master’s degree students and trainees here. Added to this, numerous projects with researchers from industry are always underway, as well as some 300 projects financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), the Technology and Innovation Commission (CTI) and the EU framework programmes.

In May 2016 the modular research and innovation building NEST, of Empa and Eawag, was opened in Dübendorf. In the NEST building new technologies, materials and systems will be tested and developed under realistic conditions. It is intended that the close cooperation with partners from research, business and the public sector will speed up the process of innovation in buildings.