ETH Zurich and Empa are setting up more joint professorships to promote the combination of teaching and training with applied research and technology transfer.

Airflow around a building, modelled in a wind tunnel: the colours are proportional to the wind speed.

A proven concept: teaching and student training at ETH Zurich, research at Empa. There is also discussion of joint professorships emerging between Empa and ETH Zurich. Edoardo Mazza (mechanics) and Jan Carmeliet (building physics), both professors at ETH Zurich and simultaneously heads of Empa research laboratories, now have company: in May 2010, Jing Wang from the University of Minnesota was appointed ETH professor of industrial ecology and air quality control. Jing Wang‘s research focuses on the development of instruments which make it possible to study the behaviour of nanoparticles in flowing media such as air, as well as engineering and efficient cleansing techniques for these tiny particles. Although the jointly financed professorships do entail organisational and logistical expenses, they also offer significant advantages – for Jan Carmeliet no less than the “best of both worlds”. On the one hand, Empa contributes a strong focus to applied research and technology transfer, as well as first-class research facilities that include the new wind tunnel commissioned in September 2010, which enables simulation of the climate in cities (see p. 8). On the other hand, ETH Zurich provides access to motivated students and to young researchers who in turn benefit from the practical element which Empa contributes to their teaching and training. The appointment procedure for a jointly financed professorship in the field of wood is already under way (see p. 57); another professorship in the field of advanced inorganic materials (batteries) is being advertised.