Transfer of Knowledge from Research into Practice

For Schools and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

Next Evolution in Sustainable Building Technologies (NEST)

On its premises in Duebendorf, Zurich, EMPA (the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology and Institute of the ETH Domain) constructed a modular research and innovation building (NEST) to test innovative, resource-efficient building and energy technologies.

The test-building has three platforms representing a number of sustainable building and energy technologies, such as: :

  • resource-efficient lightweight construction
  • use of recycled materials
  • optimimized energy and water consumption
  • digital production of building components
  • new renovation technologies
  • intelligent building wiring
  • energy extraction technologies inside and outside the building
  • glass as construction material
  • Ways from Science into Society

    The building is an interesting demonstration object and serves as an illustrative example of transferring knowledge from research into practice..

    The Hirschmann Foundation has launched a project in cooperation with EMPA/EAWAG, the University of Education Lucerne, and Suissetec, the Swiss-Liechtensteinian association of building technology. The project aims at transferring knowledge from ETH research into society, especially into schools and small and medium-sized enterprises. The building allows for testing possible ways of knowledge transfer.

    How can interest in new technologies be aroused among pupils and employees of small and medium-sized enterprises?

    How can R&D findings be imparted best to these two groups?

    The project aims at raising the participants’ awareness, triggering contemplation, questions, discussions, as well as considerations for their own future.

    The partner organizations EMPA/EAWAG, the University of Education Lucerne, and Suisstec intend to promote the transfer of knowledge into society, since knowledge reduces prejudices, insecurities and fears for the future.

    Benefits for Professional Training and the Work Space

    Employees of small and medium-sized enterprises who work in the field of building technology will learn about the technologies that they are likely to encounter in the near future and will be informed about further training options.

    Pupils will look into their own future and learn about technical professions with great potentials.

    EMPA/EAWAG, the University of Education Lucerne, and Suissetec will develop three workshop modules that involve modern communication tools:

    1. Preparing a visit to the NEST platform
    2. Visiting the NEST platform
    3. Evaluating the visit to the NEST platform

    The modules will be tested and continuously adapted. As soon as they fulfill all the criteria, they are implemented into practice.


    The Hirschmann Foundation is partnering with EMPA/EAWAG, the University of Education Lucerne, and Suissetec. The Hirschmann Foundation funds the project with a total amount of CHF 296,000 between the years of 2018 to 2021.