Translational center For Surgery

Digital technologies will not replace surgeons, but surgeons who use digital technologies will replace those who won’t.

What is the OR-X?

The OR-X is a highly technological equipped research and training infrastructure where surgical innovation and education can happen without patient burden. It consists of cadaveric operating theatre and training labs in which surgeries can be performed from A to Z.

An infrastructure for research will be created such that Switzerland is at the forefront of research and the development of new surgical innovations. The center will enable researchers to bring new innovations into surgical treatment for the first time. 

An infrastructure for surgical training will be created where young surgeons can practice undisturbed with real cadavers, real instruments, newest surgical technologies and in a real surgical environment.  

A platform promoting clinical translation will be established so that these new surgical innovations can be quickly and safely transferred into clinical practice. The OR-X is the answer to the challenge of conducting efficient research and development in the face of increasing regulatory requirements. 

Why is the OR-X of such great importance?

A majority of research and education in surgery takes place in the real operating theatre. Educating and training young surgeons in practical-surgical skills happens in real surgery and patient treatment. This learning curve happens on the patient. How can we train young surgeons without compromising patient treatment?  

Research on new surgical innovation entails development, validation and improvement in a realsitic surgical environment. Particularly, the performance of data-driven technologies like artificial intelligence fully rely on collecting realistic datea. How can we conduct research on digital technologies without interfering regular surgical treatment?


Q4 2021
Completion feasibility study
Q1 2022
Start of construction project
Q4 2022
Completion of construction
Q1 2023
Test phase
Q2 2023
Start of operations


Access to the OR-X will be open to all clinical and academic institutions in Switzerland as well synergistic third-party partners such as governmental agencies and industrial entities.

The OR-X is tightly aligned with many of the Swiss universities’ strategic goals and its mission is closely matched with the the coordination model of University Medicine Zurich (UMZH) which is built on the premise of close collaboration and tight links between the University of Zurich (UZH), the Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich) and the University Hospitals in Zurich. The OR-X represents a practical implementation of this coordination model that will both foster and leverage cross-faculty and cross-disciplinary collaboration based on well-established scientific networks. It is expected that the OR-X has all properties for developing into a lighthouse of the UMZH with international visibility by achieving:

  • Research excellence: OR-X promotes innovative research in fundamental domains, in the clinical application of knowledge, in personalized medicine and health care, and in the translational connection between all these research areas.
  • Quality through cooperation: OR-X lays the ground for high-quality, innovative and competitive technology-driven surgical research fostering the close cooperation between the university hospitals, the Faculty of Medicine, the Faculty of Science, and the ETH Zurich.
  • Patient-centered medicine: OR-X facilitates the combination of the basic and clinical research with patient care which consequently allows the application of the latest research results.
  • Social Responsibility: Surgical advances have social and political implications, and their ethical and legal aspects will be adequately addressed within the OR-X.

First and foremost, patients will benefit from the OR-X through a higher quality of surgical research and education, leading to a higher treatment quality. In addition to the academic environment of Zurich and Switzerland, external parties from academia, industry and teaching institutions can use the OR-X for pursuing their own education, research, and development goals. The professional public and the general public will likewise be involved through public events and congresses and can thus benefit from the OR-X.


Mazda Farshad – Initiator and Co-founder

Chair of orthopedic surgery, University of Zurich, Medical director, Balgrist University Hospital 

Philipp Fürnstahl – Co-founder

Professor of Orthopedic Computer Science,
University of Zurich, Head of ROCS & OR-X, Balgrist University Hospital

Thomas Huggler – Co-founder

Managing director, Balgrist University Hospital

Partner and Sponsorship

An academic alliance was formed for conducting dedicated research in the OR-X with joint forces. The OR-X collaborates with selected partners from industry in the form of sponsorships and joint R & D projects.

Support us and thus orthopedic research

Each Franc put in to research helps to improve medical care for orthopedic patients.


Flora Vajda

Research and Innovation, 
Balgrist University Hospital