Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI)

Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI)

Working at Switzerland’s largest research institute

The Paul Scherrer Institute PSI is the largest research institute for natural and engineering sciences within Switzerland. We perform cutting-edge research in the fields of future technologies, energy and climate, health innovation and fundamentals of nature. By performing fundamental and applied research, we work on sustainable solutions for major challenges facing society, science and economy. PSI is committed to the training of future generations. Therefore, about one quarter of our staff are post-docs, postgraduates or apprentices. Altogether, PSI employs 2200 people.

PSI has an annual budget of approximately CHF 400 million, and is primarily financed by the Swiss Confederation. PSI is part of the ETH Domain, with the other members being the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology, ETH Zurich and EPFL Lausanne, as well as Eawag (Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology), Empa (Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science & Technology) and WSL (Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research). The Paul Scherrer Institute is located in the Canton of Aargau, in the municipal areas of Villigen and Würenlingen on both sides of the River Aare.

Future Technologies
The manifold characteristics of materials are determined by what type of atoms they are made of, how these atoms are arranged, and how they move. In the research area Future Technologies, scientists at the Paul Scherrer Institute are trying to clarify this link between the internal structure and the observable properties of different materials. They want to use this knowledge as fundamental principles for new applications – whether in medicine, information technology or energy generation and storage – or to explore innovative manufacturing processes for industry.

Energy and Climate
The energy research performed at PSI focuses on processes that can be used in sustainable and safer technologies, ideally with minimal CO2 emissions. The main emphasis is on renewable energy sources. The ESI (Energy System Integration) platform enables research and industry to test solutions for integrating renewables into the existing energy supply. Another focus in this area is the safer use of nuclear energy. These activities are supplemented by analyses giving a comprehensive assessment of energy systems. PSI scientists in the Energy and Environment division study the chemical processes that take place in the atmosphere.

Health Innovations
In the area of Health Innovation, several research groups at PSI are engaged in the study of fundamental questions regarding biology and cancer therapy. For example, they explore the structure of proteins – extremely complex biomolecules that are responsible for many different functions in organisms. Using PSI’s large research facilities, scientists also explore processes in biological tissue in order to fully understand their function and the development of specific diseases or deterioration processes. The ultimate goal is to find medicines that allow people to live as healthy a life as possible.

Fundamentals of Nature
Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI are looking for answers to essential questions concerning the underlying structures of matter and the fundamental principles of nature. They study the composition and properties of elementary particles – the smallest building blocks of matter – or investigate the structure of biological molecules and how they perform their function. The knowledge gathered in this way opens up new approaches to finding solutions in science, medicine and technology.
Large Research Facilities

Sometimes, one needs unusually large pieces of equipment to look at the smallest of objects – because only these large machines or facilities can generate the probes that are needed to examine matter in such a way that the information being sought can be obtained. PSI maintains a number of such facilities, making them available as a service for other institutions, but also using them for its own research. These facilities are unique within Switzerland, and PSI is the only location in the world for some of the facilities.

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Working at PSI

We offer a very attractive, multi-cultural working environment, enabling research to be carried out to the highest international standard.

By carefully selecting staff, we provide the conditions for excellence. Ambitious projects, an attractive working environment, personal responsibility, target-oriented and cooperative personnel management, as well as excellent possibilities for personal development all contribute to the satisfaction of our staff.

  • Conditions of Employment
  • Social Benefits
  • Information for Doctoral Students and Postdocs
  • Equal Opportunities, Diversity & Inclusion at PSI
  • Respect@PSI
  • Further Positive Points
  • Corporate Social Responsibility