Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

"We owe our strength not least to our diversity: At Empa, people from a wide variety of backgrounds, cultures and tasks do research and work together. Outstanding results can only be achieved on the basis of respectful interactions with each other." Tanja Zimmermann, CEO Empa

Empa has been working on the subject of equal opportunities since the 1990s, and for more than ten years, it has set out measures and actions in plans to support equal opportunities. One of the main concerns in the action plans is to increase the proportion of women in leading positions. This is necessary because the proportion of women in the STEM professions, which dominate at Empa, is generally rather low, and is even declining significantly in leading positions.

The action plan 2021-2024 describes measures and projects intended to strengthen the institutional anchoring of equal opportunities and diversity. The objectives are to achieve a broad awareness of the issue among the employees, a balanced gender ratio in strategic committees and in management positions, attractive working conditions that enable all employees to combine work and family life with other areas of interest, and an appreciation of the great cultural diversity.

Empa attaches great importance to its multifaceted character as a federal, but also international re-search institution. Empa expressly takes a stand against any discrimination. Disrespect, discrimination, bullying, threats, harassment in any form or even violence have no place at Empa (Link for staff only).

The ETH Domain has defined the measures concerning equal opportunity in his own Gender Strategy 2021-2024. It aims to improve the gender balance among its members by increasing the share of women in education and in research, as well as in management positions. Ensuring equal opportunities for women and men within the ETH Domain is a prerequisite for achieving this objective. An excerpt on the topic of personnel of the target agreement between the ETH Board and Empa 2021-2024 can be found here (German only).

In 2021, an overarching Center of Competence for Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) PSI - Empa - Eawag was created under the leadership of Natalie Lerch-Pieper (Head of Diversity & Inclusion PSI). The aim is to exploit synergies and ensure regular exchange between the three research institutions.

If you have any problems, questions or feedback, please get in touch with our Expert for Diversity & Inclusion. In addition to the internal consulting on the topic of gender equality, there is also a commission within the ETH Domain. The Conciliation Commission under the Equal Opportunities Act for the ETH Domain () provides information and advice in disputes that fall within the scope of the Equal Opportunities Act and are related to employment relationships within the ETH Domain.

Some Highlights / Further Information
  • In 2021 the Competence Center for Diversity & Inclusion PSI - Empa - Eawag was formed to profit from synergies and foster mutual exchange.
  • In 2015 the UND office  awarded Empa with the “Family AND Career” label for another three years.
  • In 2014 Empa was awarded the Prix Balance  by the Canton of Zurich. According to the expert panel, Empa enables its staff to reconcile their careers and private lives in an laudable fashion.
  • A joint daycare facility  for Eawag and Empa was set up in 1994. For employees in St.Gallen Empa works together with the "Chinderhus Florino" and in Thun with "KiTa Aare". For more detailed information you can contact your HR partner. 
  • The program “fix the leaky pipeline!”, which promotes academic careers for young female scientists, has a permanent program of courses and coaching.
    In 2017, a brochure with contributions from former participants and course instructors was published to mark the 10th anniversary.
  • The SNF offers a program for the promotion of women as professorts (PRIMA grants). Swiss and foreign women who are seeking a professorship at a Swiss university can aply.
  • The Swiss Association of Women Engineers (SVIN ) is a nationwide association of women in scientific and technical professions and companies.
  • Every year Empa organizes a Summer Camp (contact person: ) and, in the fall, the National Future Day (contact person: ) for the children of Empa staff.


Newsletter for Equity: Have you checked out our latest Newsletter?

You can read the news and subscribe here:  /web/equal-opportunities/newsletter



General Information