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Empa Technology Transfer Day

Empa, St. Gallen
Best Practice Meeting

Wednesday, 10 May 2023

4.00pm - 8.00pm, St. Gallen

Transferring Empa research findings into entrepreneurial implementation

Empa – The Place where Innovation Starts

As the ETH Domain's interdisciplinary research institute for materials science and technology, Empa acts as a bridge between research and practical application; our researchers develop innovative solutions for the priority challenges facing industry and society in the fields of nanostructured, "smart" materials and surfaces, energy, construction and environmental technologies, resource efficiency as well as medical technologies and personalised medicine. As part of the Switzerland Innovation initiative, Switzerland Innovation Park Ost AG, which was launched in St. Gallen in 2022, promotes cooperation between companies, start-ups and our research partners in the focus areas of health, sensor technology and digitalisation with the aim of enabling and accelerating innovations. To this end, it operates a network with partners throughout Switzerland and internationally.




Tanja Zimmermann, Director, Empa. Tanja Zimmermann has been Director of Empa since June 2022. From 2017 until the end of May 2022, she was a member of the Directorate and head of the "Functional Materials" department with around 200 employees. At the same time, she took over the co-leadership of the research focus "Sustainable Construction", which deals, among other things, with the successful implementation of the Swiss energy strategy. Zimmermann received her doctorate from the University of Hamburg in 2007 and is a full professor at ETH Zurich and EPFL. She is the author of over 100 scientific publications, "proceedings" and book chapters, and co-owner of several patents.



Hans Ebinger, CEO, Switzerland Innovation Park East. Switzerland Innovation accelerates the transformation of research results into marketable products and services. Hans Ebinger has been CEO of the newly created Switzerland Innovation Park Ost AG in St. Gallen since 2022. After studying and obtaining a doctorate in physics at the University of Marburg and the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Hans Ebinger progressed through the career path from developer to CEO. His path led him from the engineering groups Singulus and Oerlikon to the up-and-coming photonics companies SwissOptic, Espros and Z-Laser. He knows both the world of cutting-edge research and that of internationally successful medium-sized companies.



Milena Čukić Radenković, Scientist and Project Leader, Empa. Milena Čukić Radenković is a biomedical electronics engineer and neuroscientist. She conducts research on nonlinear analysis of electrophysiological signals, dynamics of complex systems and fractal approaches to modelling transport processes in the human body. Building on her expertise in physiology, biophysics and neuroscience, she has worked as a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer at several European universities and founded international collaborations and her own start-up. At Empa, she leads a project on modelling transdermal drug delivery in cancer therapy.


Lars Sommerhäuser, Head Surface Science & Coating Technologies, Empa. Lars Sommerhäuser has been working at Empa since 2016. He heads a research department there. At the same time, he is the manager of a research funding programme of the ETH Domain in the field of modern production technologies. Since 2018, he has also been building up a network of centres in Switzerland in order to be able to transfer new manufacturing technologies to industry more quickly. Lars Sommerhäuser studied mechanical engineering at RWTH Aachen University, where he completed his doctorate at the Machine Tool Laboratory. He then worked for more than 15 years as a department head, CTO, COO and CEO in German and Swiss production companies of the Japanese Oji Paper Group and at a Swiss machine and plant manufacturer.


Christian Leinenbach, Head Advanced Processing & Additive Manufacturing of Metals, Empa. Christian Leinenbach is head of the research group "Advanced Processing & Additive Manufacturing of Metals" and deputy head of the department "Advanced Materials Processing" at Empa. He is also a lecturer in metal technology at EPF Lausanne and a member of various specialist groups and committees in the field of additive manufacturing in Switzerland and abroad. Christian Leinenbach studied materials science at the Universities of Saarbrücken (DE) and Luleå (SE) and completed his doctorate at the University of Kaiserslautern (DE). He has been working at Empa since 2005, where he has been involved in materials technology research issues relating to the topic of "3D printing of metals" for more than 10 years.


Philipp Heer, Deputy Head Urban Energy Systems Lab, Empa. Philipp Heer is Deputy Head of the Urban Energy Systems Research Laboratory and is responsible for the design, integration and operation of the flexible and research-oriented energy systems of the Empa demonstrators NEST, move and ehub. He received a BSc from HSLU T&A (2010) and MSc from ETH Zurich (2013) respectively in Electrical Engineering and Communication Systems and a MAS from ETH Zurich (2018) in Management, Technology, and Economics. His research interests are in the area of data-driven and self-learning control of energy systems and building services for a sustainable energy system.


Benjamin Huber, CTO & Co-founder, viboo. Benjamin Huber is co-founder and CTO of the Empa spin-off viboo. Since completing his studies in mechanical engineering at ETH Zurich, he has been conducting research in various (industrial) projects on the topic of efficient building automation at Empa in Dübendorf. His focus here is on data-driven, predictive building automation. Since 2022, he has been bringing energy-efficient control technology from research into practice via the Predictive Control as a Service (PCaaS) platform with viboo.


Harald Desing, Scientist. Harald Desing studied mechanical engineering at the Technical University of Munich and tested his skills in industry and development cooperation. In his doctorate in environmental engineering at Empa and ETH, he explored possibilities for a circular economy within planetary boundaries. Since then, at Empa's Technology and Society department, he has dedicated himself to accelerating the transformation to a fossil-free and circular society in terms of energy and materials.


Monika Bütler, SMG board member, self-employed economist, honorary professor HSG, St. Gallen. Monika Bütler is an self-employed economist and honorary professor at the University of St. Gallen. Her research focuses on social insurance, the labour market, political economy and information economics. In addition to her international research activities, she regularly contributes to a wider audience. She is co-founder and editor of the blog, a forum for Swiss economic policy. Monika Bütler is a member of the Board of Directors of Schindler Holding AG and Huber & Suhner AG, a member of the Bank Council of the Swiss National Bank and Vice-President of the Gebert Rüf Foundation.



Arrival of the participants for the Best Practice Meeting at Empa in St.Gallen


Welcome by Prof. Dr. Monika Bütler, Member of the Board SMG

Prof. Dr Tanja Zimmermann, Director Empa, Dr Hans Ebinger, CEO Switzerland Innovation Park Ost


Latest research results:

Med-Tech / Digital Twins: Dr. Milena Čukić Radenković, Scientist and Project Leader, Empa: «Solving and Optimizing Complex Problems by Modeling: Transdermal Fentanyl Delivery»

Additive Manufacturing: Dr. Lars Sommerhäuser, Head Surface Science & Coating Technologies, uand Dr. Christian Leinenbach, Head Advanced Processing & Additive Manufacturing of Metals: «Additive Fertigung – Recognise and use potentials»

Energie: Philipp Heer, Deputy Head Urban Energy Systems Lab, Empa, und Benjamin Huber, CTO & Co-founder, viboo: «A look into the future: How do we bring predictive building control from research to industry?»

Sustainable circular economy: Dr. Harald Desing, Scientist: «Development of products and services for a sustainable circular economy»


Workshops: «Potential transfer to the economy»


Presentation of the workshop results


Review by Prof. Dr. Monika Bütler and Prof. Dr. Tanja Zimmermann

SMG invites you to the aperitif.


End of the event

Registration and fee

The number of participants in the Best Practice Meeting is limited. Registrations will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis. Fee per person CHF 265. Confirmation and invoice will follow.

We ask for your understanding that registrations are binding. In the event of being unable to attend at short notice before the event, a substitute from the management is possible. Cancellations without a substitute and no-shows will be charged.

Please note that pictures taken by our photographer may be used in SMG publications and on the SMG website.


How to get there

Event location
Lerchenfeldstrasse 5
9014 St. Gallen

Arrival by public transport
From the main railway station in St. Gallen, take bus lines 1 and 2 to the "Lerchenfeld" stop or bus lines 3 and 4 to the "Moos" stop. From there you can reach Empa and Innovation Park Ost on foot in 5 to 8 minutes.

Arriving by car from Zurich
Take exit 80-SG-Winkeln in the direction of SG-Winkeln/Herisau. Keep right at the fork and turn half left onto Hauptstrasse 7/Route 7. Drive 2.7 km to Lerchenfeldstrasse and turn right.

Arriving by car from St. Margrethen
Take exit 81-St. Gallen-Kreuzbleiche in the direction of Appenzell/St. Gallen-Kreuzbleiche. Keep to the right at the fork, follow the signs to Engelburg/St. Gallen-West and continue on Hauptstrasse 7/Route 7 to Lerchenfeldstrasse.

Parking options
A limited number of free parking spaces are available in front of Empa. Paid parking is available at the "Parkplatz Lerchenfeld" near the swimming pool/ice rink and at the Tagblatt building right next to Empa (these are paid via TWINT or Parkingpay).

Routen-Planer: So finden Sie uns.

Host and event organiser

Lerchenfeldstrasse 5
9014 St. Gallen

Event organiser
Schweizerische Management Gesellschaft
Zeltweg 48, 8032 Zürich
office [at],
Telephone + 41 44 202 23 25


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