Mission & Strategy

Following an integrative and transdisciplinary approach, we have established a Center of Excellence covering the complete net-zero topical scope. This center builds on the tremendous expertise of the four research institutes of the ETH Domain (PSI, Empa, WSL & Eawag) and includes experts from ETH Zurich and EPFL.

The Center of Excellence offers an inter-institutional collaboration framework. It combines bottom-up organization with top-down strategic guidance, shared goals, and targeted communication with stakeholders for maximal impact.

To pursue holistic research in six action areas:

Biomass carbon cycle

We demonstrate optimization pathways of forest and landscape management, the utilization of woody biomass, and substitution effects to mitigate climate change.

Technical carbon capture, utilization and sequestration

We establish a sustainable energy supply chain with negative CO2 emissions, enabling global transport, large-scale seasonal storage, and carbon sequestration in Switzerland using existing infrastructure.

Efficient technical cycles

We support the decarbonization of the construction sector (30% of Swiss emissions) by providing decision-making tools and strategies, including design for disassembly and materials/component reuse, to building authorities and designers, enabling a carbon-neutral, circular infrastructure by 2050.

Flexible low-carbon energy systems

We unlock the flexibility potentials of the Swiss energy system to ensure supply security and social acceptance in a renewable-based future, supporting decision makers with energy investments.

Greenhouse gases & climate

We create a publicly-accessible interactive platform with information about integrated greenhouse gas mitigation scenarios towards net-zero, overarching sustainability implications, and related air quality evolution.

Net-zero institute roadmap

We define a science-based net-zero roadmap for the 4 research institutions as a lighthouse project and blueprint for other institutions, public entities, and companies.

A joint initiative driven by the ETH board

Joint initiatives are large, limited-time, strategic collaborations between ETH Domain institutions, aimed at making significant impacts in the areas of Human Health; Energy, Climate and Environmental Sustainability; Responsible Digital Transformation; Advanced Materials and Key Technologies; Engagement and Dialogue with Society.

The Swiss Federal Council has formulated the ambitious goal of reducing nationwide net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050. Since the systemic and societal changes required to achieve this goal will take decades, the current Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report calls for swift action.

Despite the clearly defined target, many questions remain unanswered regarding the optimal approach, social acceptance, and the necessary technological developments, legal frameworks, and concrete business models. This is where the joint initiative comes in – our Center of Excellence covers a wide range of research areas related to the topic of net-zero emissions and provides a network for cross-institutional collaboration.

To achieve the goal of net-zero emissions, six action areas have been identified. These include aspects such as the prevention, elimination, monitoring and analysis of greenhouse gas emissions. Our Expert Hub strengthens the ETH Domain network and pools the necessary expertise to answer questions on all net-zero relevant topics.

An ETH Domain network that pools the necessary net-zero expertise

A SCENE Expert Hub has been established to strengthen the area-wide network and pool the necessary net-zero expertise. In addition, all activities and experts are collected in a shared database, which is also regularly updated. The Expert Hub proactively publishes technical papers, project results, and white papers, and responds to requests from stakeholders in a timely manner to provide a strong, direct publicity effect. The Expert Hub will continue beyond the initial three years for which the ETH Board has approved the project funding.

The long-term goal of this joint initiative is to create a platform to support science-based decision-making, both at the national level and for stakeholders, so that the technologies, tools and methodologies developed at the Center of Excellence can be put into practice in a timely manner.

Participating institutions

Backed by the six institutions of the ETH Domain.

ETH Zürich
PSI Paul Scherrer Institut

Latest News / Events

SCENE Annual Meeting

We are thrilled to announce the success of the SCENE Annual Meeting, which took place on 15 January, 2024 at ETH Hönggerberg — an event aligned with our shared commitment to achieve the Swiss Federal Council’s ambitious goal of net-zero…

SCENE @ Empa RFA Built Environment “Mining the Atmosphere” Seminar

SCENE was featured in a presentation at the Empa RFA Built Environment “Mining the Atmosphere” Seminar! https://events.empa.ch/Veranstaltungsarchiv/2023/event.php?vnr=35e-110

Interview with the SCENE Expert Hub

The SCENE Expert Hub is featured on the Energie Experten Blog with answers to questions about how Switzerland will reach the net-zero goal (in German):

Summer School PROMOWOOD

Promotion of wood as key element for achieving net zero The PROMOWOOD Summer School took place from 19.08.2023 – 26.08.2023 in Davos, Switzerland. SCENE was one of the organisers of this program, along with the JI MainWood, the SwissForestLab and…