The beginning of the Department of Biology
The Department of Biology was founded with the fusion of a number of institutes and single professorships in 1989. The association between several institutes, professorships and the Department of Natural Sciences who were all conducting molecular based research triggered the initial development of the Department of Biology. In 1988 the institutes and professorships separated from the Department of Natural Sciences. This new entity was entrusted with the planning and management of research. The newly formed unit proved to be a highly beneficial structure as it provided a valuable forum allowing for the exchange of information and contact to flow easily between the members of the Department of Biology.
D-BIOL Symposium and ETH Biology Lecture
This fertile exchange was further intensified with the introduction of the D-BIOL Symposium in the Davos Congress Centre in 1997. In the same year, the ETH Biology Lecture was also introduced. The three day symposium is carried out bi-annually and draws great interest amongst the research scientists within the department. The annual ETH Biology Lecture also has an excellent reputation. Each year top international researchers are invited to speak at this popular event.
In 1999 another milestone was reached through the reorganization of the Department of Biology. D-BIOL was redefined as a teaching and research unit, introducing the new course of study ‘Biology’. This new structure reflected a comprehensive and basic education offering targeted and focused training in the field of Biology. The 200 new admissions to the program in 2001 mirrored the great need and popularity of this concept.
In a continued effort to improve the academic program, the new Bachelor / Master system was introduced to the public in the winter semester of 2003/04 by the Department of Biology. In this sliding system, the Bachelor’s degree could be earned within three years and the master’s degree after subsequent 1 ½ years. This system replaced the outdated ‘biology diploma’ course.
Financial autononomy and institute dynamics
On January 1, 2005 the department was granted financial autonomy regarding the distribution of resources received from the ETH Board. During the same year, the Institute of Biotechnology was closed and the Institute of Molecular Systems Biology was founded. Further strategic development occurred in 2011/12. Several D-BIOL professorships were transferred to the Department of Health Sciences and Technology which encompassed the areas of Neurosciences, Movement Science and Sport. In 2011 The Institute for Cell Biology was dissolved and the Institute of Molecular Health Sciences was founded.