Cutting-edge research in the heart of Europe

Nature 535 (28 July 2016)
Published online 27 July 2016

The University of Zurich enjoys global renown as a top-ranked research university and a leader in innovative, research-based teaching.

The University of Zurich (UZH) is a higher education institute that attracts the brightest minds and unites scholars from a wide range of disciplines, thus offering them unique opportunities to build global networks. The outstanding research priority programmes and centres of competence at UZH enhance the university’s visibility and contribute to its leading position among international research institutions. UZH is a world leader in fields ranging from the natural and medical sciences to the social sciences and humanities.

In the field of medicine, Zurich is a global pioneer. As part of this network, UZH works closely with its four hospitals to conduct cutting-edge research and offer an outstanding medical education to its students. Neuroscience, for instance, has a long tradition at UZH and is a major research focus. Other research priorities include movement sciences, infectious diseases and immunology, molecular medicine, oncology, metabolism and caloric balance, and transplantation medicine.

Knowledge transfer and joint projects

UZH promotes a series of clinical research priority programmes that unite basic biomedical research, applied research and clinical care. The proximity and excellent partnerships between UZH, ETH Zurich and the university’s hospitals give rise to unique opportunities to develop new therapies.

UZH benefits from its location in Switzerland, which has long held first place in the Global Innovation Index. It boasts the highest per-capita rate of inventions in the world and is where the most inventions are used in the real world. Pioneering companies in areas such as biotech, medtech, and information and communication technology benefit from the wealth of knowledge at UZH. And UZH researchers can rely on technology transfer specialist Unitectra for valuable assistance and advice regarding applying for patents, obtaining license agreements and starting spin-offs.

As a member of the prestigious League of European Research Universities, UZH maintains partnerships in research, teaching and student exchange with over 500 institutions in 100 countries. It is Switzerland’s largest university, with 25,500 students, including 5,000 PhD students. 55% of its professors, 42% of PhD students, 39% of teaching staff and 19% of students are from abroad.

Ranked among the world’s best

UZH’s reputation as one of the world’s foremost research universities is mirrored in international rankings. In the 2015 Shanghai Rankings, UZH is placed 54th in the world and 9th in continental Europe. In continental Europe, UZH is first in the life sciences and third in medicine. In economics and business administration, it is the top university in the German-speaking world. Veterinary medicine at UZH is placed 25th worldwide in the 2016 QS Ranking. Finally, in the Thomson Reuters ranking of Europe’s most innovative universities, UZH achieved an excellent 10th place ranking.

Fostering intellectual curiosity

Scholarship has long thrived in Zurich’s open-minded environment. Since its foundation in 1833, UZH has attracted pioneers in the world of research from Switzerland and abroad. To date, 12 Nobel Prize laureates have taught and conducted research at UZH. The university enjoys a privileged location in the heart of Europe, where the German, French and Italian-speaking worlds intersect. Its role as an international economic and financial hub as well as its reputation as a city of scholarship, technology and state-of-the-art medicine imparts global significance to Zurich. With over three million residents in its greater area, Zurich is one of Europe’s most innovative and flourishing economic regions.

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