ETH Zurich at AAAS in Boston

Each year, the AAAS community gathers to discuss recent developments in science and technology. This year, the conference takes place right at our doorstep, in Boston. ETH Zurich brings two symposia to AAAS in Boston: “Digital Fabrication in Architecture – The Challenge to Transform the Building Industry” and “Accelerating Low-Carbon Innovation through Policy”.

Researchers from ETH Zurich collaborate with their counterparts from universities in Asia, Australia and the United States to share their findings and engage in knowledge transfer via the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) 2017 Annual Meeting. This year’s meeting, hosted in Boston, focuses on the theme, “Serving Society Through Science Policy.” Visit each session below for further details, additional media resources, and to connect with researchers for press interviews.


Digital Fabrication in Architecture–The Challenge to Transform the Building Industry

Friday, February 17, 2017: 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM Room 206, Hynes Convention Center, Boston

Society faces enormous challenges in constructing a high-quality, future-oriented built environment. Construction sites today, still look much like building sites at the beginning of the 20th century. Current research on digital fabrication in architecture indicates that the development and integration of innovative digital technologies within architectural and construction processes could transform the building industry – on the verge of a building industry 4.0. Digital technologies in architecture and construction could increase productivity and create new jobs.

Snip20170201_3Many building processes still involve sub-standard working conditions and are not compellingly sustainable. Current research on the integration of digital technologies within construction processes promises substantial contributions to sustainability and productivity, while at the same time enabling completely new forms of architectural expression. The multidisciplinary nature of integrating digital processes remains a key challenge to establishing a digital building culture. In order to fully exploit the potential of digital fabrication, an institutional and funding environment that enables strong interdisciplinary research is required. Traditionally separated disciplines such as: architecture, structural design, computer science, materials science, control systems engineering, and robotics now need to form strong research connections.

During the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting in Boston, Jonas Buchli, ETH Zurich – The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland, Ronald Rael, University of California, Berkeley, U.S.A., and Jane Burry, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia reveal the latest developments in digital fabrication in architecture at 1:1 building scale. In their presentations, they show digital technologies can be successfully integrated in design, planning, and building processes in order to successfully transform the building industry. Learn more


Accelerating Low-Carbon Innovation through Policy

Saturday, February 18, 2017: 8:00 AM – 9:30 AM, Room 311 Hynes Convention Center, Boston

Will innovative technologies contribute to mitigating climate change? Learn about the successes and failures of low-carbon technology innovation and how policy instruments help and hinder technological progress. Professors from ETH Zurich, MIT, and City University of Hong Kong speak on photovoltaics, wind, and lithium-ion battery storage technologies and the interplay between technological innovation and policy formulation. They will make recommendations on how to design policy portfolios to accelerate innovation in clean energy and implement low-carbon energy technologies within the context of smart cities.

Snip20170201_2Global climate change is affecting our planet and mankind; climate science is thus instrumental in informing policy makers about its dangers, and in suggesting emission limits. Science also shows that staying within limits, while meeting the aspirations of a growing global population requires fundamental changes in energy conversion and storage. The majority of low-carbon technology innovation observed in the last decades, such as the 85% cost reduction in photovoltaic cell production since 2000, was driven by largely uncoordinated national policies. These included research incentives in Japan and the U.S., feed-in tariffs in Germany, and tax breaks in the U.S.

During the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting in Boston, Tobias Schmidt, ETH Zurich – The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland, Jessika Trancik, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, U.S.A., and Masaru Yarime, City University of Hong Kong, will review the successes and failures of policies for low-carbon technology innovation and show how characteristics of both the technologies and the policy instruments themselves helped and, in some ways, hindered technological progress. In addition, they will demonstrate how research by the innovative science community can inform policy decisions in the future to accelerate low-carbon innovation and affect the livelihood of our planet in the long-term, despite limited resources. Learn more




Information and Registration for the AAAS annual meeting is available here.