Philips Healthcare donates 10 million Swiss francs to ETH Zurich for research developments


ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) is receiving a 10 million Swiss franc donation from Philips Healthcare via the ETH Foundation for the further advancement of health research in the fields of imaging techniques and image based simulation.

The donation is intended to strengthen the cooperation of ETH and Philips. The funding from Philips will be utilised for research projects, the promotion of talent, the development of new research groups and additional professorships in health research. It will be used to finance new research instruments at the Institute for Biomedical Engineering (IBT), the institute of ETH Zurich and University of Zurich.

As a mutual research institute of ETH and University of Zurich, the IBT contributes important research towards the improvement of cancer diagnostics and the diagnosis of cardiovascular diseases and also research into  locomotor systems diseases and neurological and psychiatric conditions, such as Alzheimer’s, depression and schizophrenia.

According to Phillips, the partnership between the IBT and Philips has prospered for a quarter of a century. In 1971, when the IBT was established as the first mutual institute of ETH and University of Zurich, imaging technologies were still in their infancy. In its early days importance was placed on finding an industry partner to advance emergent technologies of which Philips was found suitable.

Technology has developed immensely since the beginnings of the partnership with visual representations of the organs of the human body improving and enabling more precise diagnostics of certain diseases. Inventions that emerged from research at the IBT were industrially utilised in Philips’ systems. An ETH doctoral thesis, for example, led to the development of parallel imaging, where the deployment of multiple detectors accelerates image coding and sets new standards in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Today, heart and vascular examinations cannot be implemented without parallel imaging procedures being part of clinical routines.

The partnership with Philips in this field enjoys worldwide recognition for its innovative contributions, and has resulted in approximately 40 MRI inventions being patented over these years. Almost 100 experts, educated at the IBT helped to bring new ideas from physical and technical fundamentals to their medical utilisation.

The Philips donation to ETH Zurich is confirmation of a successful and enduring partnership between industry and university. Peter Kamm, chairman of the board and CEO at Philips Switzerland says it is meant to bring in a new phase of interactions between the partners.