Nature (May 2022)

by Polykum Redaktion

Entrepreneurship is valued greatly at ETH – but did you know how ETH supports the projects of its students? Our author visited the new Student Project House on central campus and shares what he found.  

Everyone knows that the best place to get a brilliant idea is under the shower. Few, however, are aware of the mystery involved in turning that idea into reality. In this field, the ETH can help. One of the most interesting services available on campus is the Student Project House (SPH), a project with the mission of helping students experiment and get started with their own ideas.

What does the Student Project House have to offer?

Inside the SPH there are two “spaces”. The makerspace, is a space where you will be able to build and experiment using available machinery. Getting started is just as easy as following a general introduction course followed by specific machinery introductions. The second space is called Ideaspace. There, you will be able participate to networking as well as funding opportunities. A great deal for curiosity-driven people.

At the moment, approximately 100 projects are part of the SPH, which has recently opened a new facility covering 1200 m2 in Zentrum campus, completing the already running Hönggerberg centre.

What projects does the SPH supports? Let’s hear from one!

Telling us about her project will be Nora Diethelm, head of the communication team for the non-profit organisation “SEET” (Support Education, Empower Together).

“The SEET association offers a study support program for refugee women and aims to support them on their way to (re)start their studies in Switzerland. SEET’s mission is to fight the systematic obstacles impairing refugee’s chance to follow their ambitions and we stand up for equality of opportunity and the right for education.”

Coaching, networks and cooperation

To help realise this impressive project, the Student Project House supports SEET with coaching on topics going from financing to communication strategies. Moreover, being included into the SPH network, SEET can benefit from the interaction with a high number of start-ups, partners and promoters, making valuable connections to learn from each other or start cooperations.

“A concrete example of how this has helped us is our participation at the Social Impact Accelerator (SIA) programme. Through the SPH the organisers of the SIA got to know our association and invited us to apply for the programme. After we were admitted, we received resources and support to professionalise our impact and business model”, says Nora. 

A space for all creative ideas

No matter if your project is about a great application of machine learning or a humanitarian non-profit, at the Student Project House you have the possibility to experiment with your creativity in a safe environment.

If this introduction didn’t convince you enough, have a look at or get to know the people by visiting the SPH. Oh, did I mention that they have free beer, yoga mats and pizza?

Additional info:


Massimo Brivio, 25, is a former Mechanical Engineering master student at ETH Zurich. He is now working as a mechanical and AI engineer in a Zurich based start-up.

Info about Nora Diethelm:

Nora Diethelm is head of communication team at SEET. She has a bachelor degree in Communication and Political Science at the University of Zurich and is now working as an intern at the Federal Chancellery in Bern.

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