Outstanding talents, bright ideas

Pioneers & Innovators: bringing together benefactors and beneficiaries

President tries out wheelchair

21.03.2019 – The Pioneer Fellowship programme is proving effective: over the past eight years, young scientists at ETH Zurich have established over 50 spin-offs, successfully transforming themselves from researchers into entrepreneurs.

“There’s a close link between the Pioneer Fellowship programme and the gratifying spin-off figures we’ve seen in recent years,” said ETH President Joël Mesot, speaking at the Pioneers & Innovators event.

This event, bringing together supporters and beneficiaries of the Pioneer Fellowship programme, was held at ETH Zurich on 19 March 2019. The annual gathering provides an opportunity to meet the Pioneer Fellows in person and find out more about their companies and inventions.

The ETH President was eager to try out one of the innovative products himself: he tested the step-climbing function of the Scewo electric wheelchair, operating in Track Mode – an invention which has attracted a lot of attention. The founders and developers of Scewo are the ETH‑trained mechanical engineers Pascal Buholzer and Bernhard Winter, together with Thomas Gemperle of Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK). Their wheelchair has undergone extensive testing and development and is to be launched on the market at the end of 2019.

Pioneer Fellowships are largely funded by donations. Supporters of this programme can be part of a success story – from initial idea to commercial application.


We are happy to contact you.

Do you have questions about donations and legacy gifts to ETH or other topics around ETH Foundation? We look forward to getting in touch with you.