Supporting Entrepreneurship & Innovation at ETH Zürich

Preparing Young Researchers’ Talents for the World

ETH Zürich is paving the way to prepare young minds for international careers in science and industry. In March 2016, ETH will launch a career-focused funding mechanism titled, “ETH Career Seed Grant” which will allow young researchers to conduct their own research project early on and improve their competitiveness.


Promotion of young talent is not about quick successes, says Detlef Günther, Vice President Research and Corporate Relations. It has to be built up over many years. (Photo: ETH Zürich/Markus Bertschi)

ETH Career Seed Grant is aimed at postdoctoral researchers and senior assistants at ETH Zürich. Selected researchers will be given the support of CHF 50,000 to conduct research project idea from basic research to applied research. By enabling the young researchers to conduct their own project, they will be given the opportuity to develop a step further towards a career in science and/or industry.

Besides ETH Career Seed Grant for researchers, there are various other specific targeted support by ETH Zürich. Specifically for “energy” or “world food,” Partnership Councils is available to financially support project and programs through ETH Foundation. And for a specific target on developing business ideas or innovative products, Pioneer Fellowships (read below) is the most suitable.

Record Number of Spin-of Founded in ETH Zürich

ETH Zürich founded 25 spin-offs in the ICT field just in 2015. This new record highlights the benefits of supporting young talent early on and illustrates that ETH Zürich’s Pioneer Fellowship Programme is paying off.


Some of these creative spin-offs include new methods to measure muscle fatigue or to optimise liposomes for patient detoxification, improved batteries and smart light bulbs programmed for greater protection against burglaries. A full list of ETH spin-offs can be found here.

Pioneer Fellowship Programme enabled a great amount of support and contribution to the success of ETH Zürich. The Fellowships awards individuals or groups planning to independently develop a highly innovative product or service to be exploited commercially and/or for the benefit of society.


The “Chairless Chair” by Noonee during testing at the car manufacturer Audi. The Swiss company Noonee was founded in 2014 by ETH-Fellows Keith Gunura and Olga Motovilova. The company’s vision is to become a world leader in wearable ergonomics and mechatronic assistive devices.

Since 2010, 52 Pioneer Fellows have been funded through numerous generous donations from third parties, culminating in 27 spin-offs to date – and many Fellowships are still ongoing. Of the 33 completed programmes, 23 Pioneer Fellows (around 70%) have founded a spin-off.

ETH Zürich spin-offs, Pioneer Fellows and ETH Zürich students received over CHF 1 million from Venture Kick. At the Heuberger Young Entrepreneur Awards, ETH Zürich spin-offs attracted CHF 500,000 in funding.

Read more about ETH Zürich‘s innovation, pioneer fellowship and spin-offs here.