Under the title “An insight in the future of architecture” the second Equality Networking Event of the NCCR Digital Fabrication was jointly organised with Empa and Eawag at their modular research and innovation building NEST in Dübendorf. The evening event focused on gender parity in the disciplines of architecture and engineering and was an opportunity to hear leading women researchers present their work on several of the NEST innovation units.

Participants were officially welcomed by Tanja Zimmermann, Member of Empa’s Board of Directors and Head of the Department of Functional Materials. After her brief introduction about NEST she passed the stage on to Tove Larson, Member of Eawag’s Directorate, who gave an overview about the equal opportunity principles and activities of Empa and Eawag. Giulia Adagazza, communication specialist at the NCCR, continued the welcome on the part of the organisers by briefly presenting the NCCR and its equal opportunities programme.

The introductory session concluded with a set of short presentations by representatives of the events partner organisations: the Swiss Association of Women Engineers (SVIN), the network for women of the Swiss engineering and architecture association, and ETH Equal! – the Office of Equal Opportunities at ETH Zurich. All speakers gave an overview of their associations activities and emphasised the importance of establishing strong and inspirational female role-models within the fields of architecture and engineering.

Exploration tour through NEST
The main event of the evening was a guided tour through the NEST building with visits to the units Urban Mining and Recycling, Vision Wood, Waterhub and the construction sites of the DFAB HOUSE and HiLo. At each station a short presentation was given by the leading researchers of each team, providing insight into the units and showing their personal involvement in the construction process. The evening concluded with a networking apéro for all participants in the NEST building.

Ongoing commitment for gender equality
As part of its equality programme, the NCCR Digital Fabrication has committed itself to hosting such a networking event annually in order to promote equal opportunities within its disciplines and to provide a platform for exchange and networking between leading women in industry and academia. Following the success of this second networking event, the NCCR is looking forward to further exchange in 2019.

For more information about the participating associations, please consult their websites listed below:
Eawag Equal Opportunities
Empa Equal Opportunities
ETH Equal!
netzwerk frau + sia

Image credits: NCCR Digital Fabrication / Russell Loveridge
Image caption: Monika Keller, member of ETH Equal!, talks about how and why ETH Zurich strives towards gender equality.