ETH Week 2023: Critical Thinking Night/

Organiser: ETH PBLabs

Event Detail



11 September, 2023








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Critical Thinking Night traditionally takes place on the second evening of ETH Week.

In 2023, we are honoured and excited to welcome Dr. Walter Stahel to the event. Stahel is an influential contributor to the field of sustainability. His work played a significant role in leading to what is now known as the Circular Economy.

This year, ETH Week opens the doors to the ETH public for selected events. Anyone affiliated with ETH is invited to the Critical Thinking Night keynote.


Time: 19:45 – approx. 21:15

Location: ETH Zürich Campus Hönggerberg HPH Building – Lecture Hall HPH G1

Open to: Anyone affiliated with ETH Zürich


19: 45 – 20:10 (approx.): Keynote Talk

20:10 – 20:50 (approx.): Panel Discussion with Dr. Walter Stahel, Dr. Catharina Bening and Prof. Dr. Johanna Jacobi

20:50 – 21:15 (approx.) Q&A with the audience

After the event, the ETH Week Bar is open for informal discussions and networking


The Speaker

Stahel is the founder and director of the Product-Life Institute Geneva and the former Director of the risk management programme at The Geneva Association, a leading think-tank on economic and risk issues in the insurance sector.

His career has seen him serve in numerous positions at the European Commission, as well as on the “Consumer Commission” of Günther Oettinger, former prime minister of the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg.

Stahel is visiting professor at the University of Surrey at Guildford. The latter named him an Honorary Doctor of the University in 2012. In 2016, he was awarded a Doctor of the University honoris causa from the University of Montreal.

His description of the closed-loop economy in his paper “The Product-Life Factor” (1982) played an influential role in theorising what is now known as the circular economy. Further notable publications include “The Performance Economy” (2006) and “The Circular Economy: A User’s Guide” (2019).

Stahel has received numerous awards including the Mitchell Prize and the first prize in the competition of the German Future’s Society, Berlin (1978). He is a Full Member of the thought-leadership platform Club of Rome. In 1971, he received an ETH diploma in architecture.

He is active as an author, mentor, keynote speaker and leading circular economy thought leader.

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