Empa is a materials science and technology research institution. It belongs to the ETH domain and as such is an important element in science, technology and education in Switzerland. It specializes in applications, focused research and development, and provides high-level services in the field of sustainable materials science and technology. Its core tasks are innovative collaboration with industry and public institutions, ensuring the safety of people and the environment, knowledge propagation and university-level teaching.
Empa engages in interdisciplinary work in a large number of specialized disciplines. Its key areas of research are grouped in five programs entitled Nanotechnology, Adaptive Materials Systems, the Healthy Human, Materials for Energy Technologies and Technosphere – Atmosphere. Over 800 people work at its three sites in Dübendorf, St. Gallen and Thun. There are one hundred PhD candidates and one hundred undergraduates. Empa also offers training to 80 interns and 40 trainees.
Empa's increasingly good showing in the various scientific indicators testifies to its high standard of scientific activity and achievement. Empa employees published over 200 times in peer-reviewed journals in 2004 (SCI and SCIE) and made hundreds of scientific contributions (more than 200 as key note speakers and invited guests) to national and international conferences and scientific symposia. Empa organized or coorganized 42 conferences. Members of Empa's staff received 21 prizes and awards in recognition of their outstanding achievements.
The Empa Academy provides a forum for lively information sharing. Congresses, lecture series, seminars and teaching events cater to scientists seeking a dialogue, specialists looking to improve their knowledge and non-specialists who want to find out about current technological developments.