Established in 1855 as the Federal Polytechnic School, ETH Zurich has, from the outset, been a national centre for education with international appeal, attracting talent from all over the world.
The successful combination of a cosmopolitan outlook with national roots made the young educational institution one of the driving forces behind industrialisation in Switzerland: it brought the necessary expertise into the country, trained technical specialists and helped set up groundbreaking national infrastructures.
ETH Zurich was given its present name, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule), in 1911. Over the decades that followed, it entered into solid partnerships with the state and with industry and invested increasingly in both applied and fundamental research, which were gaining in importance in relation to education. The university grew steadily and in 1961 it embarked on the first stage of constructing its second site on the Hönggerberg, on the outskirts of Zurich.
In more recent times, global developments such as computer-assisted data processing and the far-reaching consequences of globalisation have placed ever-increasing demands on universities.
ETH Zurich reacts to these new challenges by creating flexible organisational structures: new research units and programmes have emerged and the research itself is becoming more and more integrated and interdisciplinary.
The long-standing tradition of ETH Zurich, combined with its ability constantly to adapt to new requirements, have brought great success to the university. Today, it ranks among the world’s leading universities of science and technology.