Annual report 2022

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swissuniversities - Annual report 2022

In the annual report 2022, swissuniversities reports on the topics that were in focus in 2022 and presents facts and figures.


Universities must remain internationally networked and leading

Looking back on 2022 and the many different activities carried out during the year, as President of swissuniversities, I would like to highlight three strategic issues in particular: relations with Europe, strategic planning, and responsible international collaborations.

For as long as it is not a full member of the Horizon Europe and Erasmus+ programmes, Switzerland , must do everything it can to provide the necessary funds for transitional, complementary and substitute measures, so that , Switzerland remains attractive as a as a research and innovation location . Knowledge and education are among the country’s most important resources. If its higher education institutions are weakened, Switzerland also becomes less attractive as a business location. It is therefore in everyone’s interest to prevent Switzerland’s position in the international research arena from being jeopardised.

swissuniversities develops a strategic plan every four years and presents it to the Swiss Conference of Higher Education Institutions. For the 2025–2028 period, Switzerland’s higher education institutions are focusing on the following objectives: ensuring excellence in the international context; maintaining a high standard of teaching, research and innovation; strengthening the integration of the Higher Education Institutions into Switzerland’s social and economic fabric and sharing knowledge to the general public. Achieving these goals calls for the commitment and coordination of all stakeholders in education, research and innovation. It also requires government support and adequate financial resources to implement the measures.

With regards to international collaborations, swissuniversities has published a guide to responsible conduct in international collaborations. More and more higher education institutions in Switzerland and around the world are collaborating at international level. They share the duty and responsibility to assess each potential collaboration in terms of values such as academic freedom and institutional autonomy, ethical and legal aspects, and the requirements for successful knowledge transfer.

After three years of presidency marked by challenges of unprecedented magnitude, I am pleased to see that  swissuniversities continues to serve as the voice of Swiss higher education, speaking on behalf of universities, universities of applied sciences and universities of teacher education. I would like to thank all partners and colleagues for their ever valuable and constructive collaboration.


Prof. Dr Yves Flückiger
President of swissuniversities




National and international challenges for higher education institutions

2022 was marked by several challenges in quick succession. The effects of the coronavirus pandemic were still causing considerable disruption at the start of the year, but they began to subside as the months went on and we gradually returned to ‘normal’. In February, Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine. which led to a joint response by higher education institutions to host students and researchers at risk. In the months that followed, the rise in energy prices presented higher education institutions with various financial and other internal challenges that they had to react to on short notice.

Despite the various challenges, Swiss higher education institutions showed that they are flexible, innovative and able to respond quickly to changing circumstances.

Overall, 2022 demonstrated just how important the adaptability and the international partnerships of Swiss higher education institutions are. These qualities will continue to be essential for tackling the challenges that lie ahead and successfully shaping the future of higher education in Switzerland.

In this context, it became clear once again that the collaboration with European partners is more important than ever, especially in relation to the exchange programmes for scientists and students. However, despite all our efforts, the issue of Switzerland’s full association to the European research and education programmes could not be resolved in 2022.

The main job of swissuniversities’ General Secretariat is to support the higher education institutions. We were able to achieve this with the hard work and perseverance of all staff in the General Secretariat. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them wholeheartedly for their commitment and competence for our team and Switzerland’s higher education institutions.

We would also like to thank all our colleagues at the different higher education institutions, the federal government and the cantons for their valuable and constructive support.


Dr Martina Weiss
Secretary General swissuniversities


swissuniversities at a glance


Start of operations






15 men / 41 women
44.10 full-time positions

31 602 024

Grants for projects (in CHF)






12 universities
10 universities of applied sciences and arts
14 universities of teacher education

270 738

Number of students 2022/2023


universities 164 450
universities of applied sciences and arts 83 653
universities of teacher education 22 635


Proportion of women among students

universities 52%
universities of applied sciences and arts 49%
universities of teacher education 72%

Topics addressed by swissuniversities 2022

swissuniversities covered a wide range of topics in 2022. These included the following three priority topics:



Responsible international collaborations

Higher education institutions in Switzerland and around the world are collaborating more and more at international level. This offers them unique opportunities to extend their reach, address pressing global issues and provide international opportunities for their students and staff. However, it also requires more awareness and a greater sense of responsibility from everyone involved. They share the need and responsibility to assess each potential collaboration based on values such as academic freedom and institutional autonomy, ethical and legal aspects, and the benefits and advantages of knowledge transfer. These issues affect countries such as China, Russia, Iran, Turkey and Hungary in particular.

Academic freedom forms the basis of research and teaching. It ‘encompasses the right to freely define research questions, choose and develop theories, gather empirical material and employ sound academic research methods, to question accepted wisdom and bring forward new ideas. It entails the right to share, disseminate and publish the results thereof openly, including through training and teaching. It is the freedom of researchers to express their opinion without being disadvantaged by the system in which they work or by governmental or institutional censorship and discrimination.’ (Bonn Declaration on Freedom of Scientific Research, adopted at the Ministerial Conference on the European Research Area in Bonn on 20 October 2020).

Even though these academic values should be universal, they are not embraced everywhere. The idea of universal values such as these is being increasingly questioned or interpreted differently in different regions. This issue should therefore be discussed with partners. In this context, swissuniversities published some guidelines on 18 May 22: Towards Responsible International Collaborations: A Guide for Swiss Higher Education Institutions.

The purpose of this guide is to support Swiss higher education institutions, their decision-makers and their academic communities – faculty members, researchers, students, technical and administrative staff – to:

  1. assess the benefits, challenges and risks associated with international collaboration,

  2. use existing resources and learn from successful practices, and

  3. promote greater consistency across higher education institutions in Switzerland.

The document is intended as a tool for reflection and discussion. It proposes dimensions and issues to consider when planning, preparing, conducting, evaluating or consolidating collaborative activities with academic or private partners in an international context. swissuniversities is also a member of different international organisations, including Magna Charta and Scholars at risk.

The consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022 also posed some major challenges for the Swiss higher education landscape: More than 75,000 refugees have been registered in Switzerland so far. Many of them have an academic background and children. At this stage, it is not yet possible to predict the outcome and duration of the conflict.

Swiss higher education institutions are currently investing significant personnel and financial resources into offering support structures for Ukrainian refugees. There are now over 900 Ukrainian students and more than 150 Ukrainian researchers registered at Swiss higher education institutions.

In 2022, swissuniversities helped the institutions to overcome the corresponding challenges in various ways:

  • A website was created to collect information for refugees, students, researchers and institutions.

  • Two surveys were conducted on the needs of higher education institutions and the challenges they face in relation to hosting Ukrainian students and researchers.

  • Various platforms to facilitate interaction between higher education institutions were established and coordinated.

  • Institutional dialogue with our national partners was intensified, especially with the State Secretariat for Migration, the Swiss National Science Foundation, and the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation.

With a view to the medium and longer term, some issues still need to be clarified: In most cases, longer-term funding for the various support structures for Ukrainian students has not yet been secured; these are currently being supported with the regular funds of the higher education institutions. It is therefore likely that higher education access for refugees will remain a relevant topic in the coming years.


Joint contribution of Swiss higher education institutions to the ERI Dispatch 2025–2028

For swissuniversities, a key development in higher education policy was the completion of the draft of the Swiss Higher Education Policy Coordination 2025–2028. This strategic plan is developed every four years and presented to the Swiss Conference of Higher Education Institutions. It sets down the priorities and interdisciplinary measures that Swiss higher education institutions define in order to achieve the common objectives in education, research and innovation. The strategic plan was enhanced and completed with the development of project outlines for federal project contributions. On this basis, federal contributions are awarded in accordance with Art. 47 HFKG (Swiss Higher Education Act).

Swiss higher education institutions are focusing on the following objectives for the 2025–2028 period: promoting young talent; ensuring excellence in an international context; maintaining a high standard of teaching, research and innovation; strengthen the integration of the latter into Switzerland’s social and economic fabric; sharing knowledge with the general public. At the same time, higher education institutions are ensuring equal opportunities, diversity and inclusion and seeking to make their organisations and services more flexible, tailored and efficient. In this context, project outlines for federal contributions in the areas of digitalisation, sustainability, equality and equal opportunities were developed.
To achieve the goals and implement specific measures, adequate financial resources must be provided. The increase in federal funding, which is notably calculated based on student numbers, must keep pace with their growth to at least ensure the current level of quality. In an environment characterised by rising research costs, Switzerland’s non-participation in Horizon Europe means a net financial loss for higher education institutions and drives up costs for collaborations with other countries that need to be renewed and redefined. At the same time, higher education institutions will have to invest significant sums to keep up with digitalisation.
swissuniversities is therefore calling for an additional scenario with real growth of 3.5%, which could prevent the excellent standard of teaching at Swiss higher education institutions from stagnating or deteriorating.


Working in healthcare / Special programme ‘nursing’ (University of Applied Sciences) and admission

On 28 November 2021, the federal popular initiative ‘For better nursing care’ was accepted by the voters with a clear majority. One of the measures in the first implementation phase is to increase the number of bachelor degrees at universities of applied sciences. Federal contributions under the Higher Education Act (HEdA) are available for this purpose. On 16 December 2022, Swiss parliament passed the new federal law to support training and education in the field of nursing.
In May 2022, the Higher Education Council of the Swiss Conference of Higher Education Institutions (SHK) tasked swissuniversities with developing a concept for a special programme to “increase the number of bachelor’s degrees in nursing at universities of applied sciences”. In the discussions with the universities of applied sciences and, in particular, with the ‘Fachkonferenz Gesundheit’ (healthcare symposium of Swiss higher education institutions), it quickly became apparent that increasing the number of degrees would pose major challenges. From swissuniversities’ point of view the main difficulty lies in the lack of demand for study places. Reasons for this include the poor image of nursing as a profession. Additionally, there are big hurdles on the provider side: Universities of applied sciences are express having difficulties finding qualified lecturers and suitable premises. Furthermore, opportunities for practical training are still limited, both in terms of the number of internships and the available simulation infrastructure.
The needs assessments in the individual cantons, which are required under the new law, are not expected to be completed before 2024. Furthermore, there are considerable regional differences. In particular, in German-speaking Switzerland, professional education institutions have to be taken into account in the analysis of the supply and demand situation.
The draft concept for the special programme ‘nursing’, approved by the Chamber of Universities of Applied Sciences and Arts and the Board, was presented to the Swiss Conference of Higher Education Institutions in December 2022. It addresses the aforementioned challenges in detail and contains an overview of potential measures that universities of applied sciences believe could help to increase the number of bachelor’s degrees. Among other things, the list includes measures for reaching new target groups, providing better support for students, modernising the curricula, and helping to improve the prestige of the nursing profession.
In the concept for the special programme ‘nursing’, swissuniversities also points out that the increase in the number of degrees in nursing is related to the admission modalities in the area of healthcare. It is not clear what effect extensive changes to current admissions practices would have on the organisation of work experience or on selection. The ongoing work on these two aspects should therefore be approached in a coordinated way.

Insight into further current topics

In 2022, crucial steps were taken on the following topics:

Concordance List – tool for regulating ease of movement between different types of higher education institutions

swissuniversities is responsible for developing and publishing the Concordance List, as foreseen in Article 9 of the Ordinance of the Higher Education Council on the Coordination of Teaching at Swiss Higher Education Institutions. This Concordance List regulates the transition to a master’s programme by bachelor’s graduates from a different type of higher education institution (after earning a maximum of 60 ECTS credits for additional studies). It promotes permeability between the different types of higher education institutions, and it provides clarity and certainty for students when planning the course of their studies between different types.
In June 2019, the Board tasked the Teaching Delegation with developing a new list based on the previous list dating from 2010. To this end, the Delegation conducted an initial survey on the needs of higher education institutions and how they use the 2010 list. In August 2021, it approved eleven basic principles for the use of the Concordance List. The Delegation then conducted an extensive two-stage consultation in the Chambers to adapt the actual transition list. This consultation lasted one year and established the principle of a whitelist: For each transition, the individual higher education institutions can choose whether they want to be shown on the list of institutions that accept bachelor’s graduates from another type of higher education institution onto their master’s programmes. This preserves the autonomy of the individual institutions. The list was finalised by the Teaching Delegation and approved by the Board in autumn 2022. The Concordance List is published on the swissuniversities website and updated annually.

swissuniversities agreement – Swiss Armed Forces to assist students in civil support service

In summer 2022, the Swiss Armed Forces and swissuniversities concluded an agreement on how to handle students in the civil support service. The Swiss Armed Forces can mobilise its members for civil support service in order to support the authorities or increase military readiness. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the civil support service took on a new meaning, and the number of people who had to be called up was much higher than usual. These deployments in the service of civil society are increasing in general (World Economic Forum WEF, deployments in mountain areas, etc.). Because civil support service is mandatory, people can be called up at short notice and deferment is not possible, it can have adverse consequences for students and their studies. The Swiss Armed Forces and swissuniversities have concluded this agreement with the aim of offering the necessary flexibility on the part of both the Armed Forces and the universities to make it easier for the students to attend in-person lectures and exams while being deployed in civil support service. Following the agreement signed in 2014 for an easier transition to the next academic year for persons with a military rank , this agreement on civil support service is a further positive outcome of the cooperation between the Swiss Armed Forces and swissuniversities at the intersection of academic studies and military training.

Innovation in Teaching

Innovation in teaching has been the main focus of the Teaching Delegation since swissuniversities’ beginnings. During the pandemic years, higher education institutions gained a wealth of experience in new, digital forms of teaching. This has accelerated certain developments. The meeting of the Teaching Network on 28 October 2022 at the Olten campus of FHNW gathered around 100 participants from the Swiss higher education landscape to look back on these recent developments and share their best practices. The day began with a presentation by Jonna Korhonen, Head of Higher Education Policy at Finland’s Ministry of Education and Culture. Finland is known in Europe for its huge innovation potential. Korhonen’s talk provided an opportunity to reflect on the measures developed in Switzerland in an international context. This was followed by a panel discussion, hosted by Günther Dissertori, Rector of ETH Zurich, on the developments, strategies and challenges of the Swiss higher education landscape. The afternoon was dedicated to discussions in workshops and the presentation of new teaching formats that have been introduced in Switzerland in recent years. The discussion-packed day highlighted the progress that has already been made in teaching, as well as the great potential for innovation that higher education institutions can exploit further.

Students dropping out – understanding and measures

Reducing the number of students drop-outs is one of the objectives of swissuniversities’ 2021–2024 strategic plan and is also a priority of the Swiss Higher Education Policy Coordination 2025–2028. In its position paper submitted to the Swiss Conference of Universities SHK in 2017, swissuniversities defines ‘drop-out’ as permanently leaving the entire higher education system (including universities, universities of applied sciences and universities of teacher education) without obtaining a qualification. The position paper also considers the abandoning of studies at a later stage to be problematic. However, the definition of ‘dropping out’ does not cover a situation whereby a student changes course, institution or type of institution but still graduates. Swiss higher education institutions do not consider reorientation as problematic. Nevertheless, it is important that students have sufficient support and measures available throughout their educational journey, so that they can make a well-informed decision about their studies. To this end, swissuniversities has updated its collection of best practices in 2022, which includes examples of support services for secondary school pupils and college students to help them make the transition to higher education. The Delegation organised a meeting of the Teaching Network on 6 May 2022 at the Zurich University of Teacher Education, which also provided an opportunity to look at study drop-outs in an international context and on the basis of different case studies from the institutions.

Swiss ENIC – information body for questions relating to the recognition and equivalence of Swiss and foreign qualifications: blockchain technology as an opportunity

The Cooperation Agreement of the Higher Education Act (HEdA) stipulates that the Rectors’ Conference must have an information centre for the recognition of the equivalence of foreign and Swiss qualifications (Art. 6 para. 6). This task is performed by Swiss ENIC in the General Secretariat. In 2022, Swiss ENIC processed 2,909 applications on the electronic application portal – roughly 400 more than in the previous year. The increase in the number of qualifications and incomplete documentation from Ukraine and war zones was a particular talking point. The Swiss ENIC team is in regular contact with other ENICs and shares best practices with them. This includes participating in the annual meetings of the ENIC network and in meetings with the German-speaking neighbouring countries (Germany and Austria). However, cooperation with the recognition and admissions specialists at Swiss higher education institutions within Switzerland is also important: The management of the Commission for Admission and Equivalence of the Chamber of Universities and of the Swiss higher education institutions’ complementary examination for foreign students (ECUS) is anchored at Swiss ENIC. The possibility of using blockchain technology in the area of recognition is currently being examined, such as for storing degrees and certificates in a user-friendly and forgery-proof way. The discussion around this topic will be intensified in the coming years.

Horizon Europe and Erasmus+

Throughout the year, swissuniversities pushed for a quick resolution to the issue of Switzerland’s association to the EU’s research and education programmes.

Swiss higher education institutions have been hit heavily by the breakdown of negotiations on a framework agreement between Switzerland and the European Union and Switzerland’s subsequent reclassification as a non-associated third country in European research and education programmes. To secure the leading international position of Swiss higher education institutions, swissuniversities is appealing to education and research policy makers with the following measures, among others:

  • Rapidly developing the offerings that are acceptable to the EU for full association.

  • Securing the tools and budgets that will be needed to reduce the damage of non-association for higher education institutions over the long term.

  • Consistently aligning current measures with the needs of higher education institutions and research.

With regard to the Erasmus+ education programmes, Switzerland is not just excluded from the exchange programmes but also from participating in the development of a pan-European digital education platform. For higher education institutions, this means that partnerships have to be negotiated bilaterally, which is more complex and increases the administrative hurdles. In turn, this makes Switzerland less attractive to both partners and students. This erosion of relations with our partners in the EU is likely to have a negative impact on the attractiveness of Swiss higher education institutions in the long term.

Start of open research data programme

As a dimension of open science, open research data (ORD) facilitates access to and reuse of research data, thereby promoting better and more effective research for the benefit of society as a whole. Following the publication of the Swiss National Action Plan for Open Research Data in January 2022, the first calls for proposals in the Open Science I, Phase B – ORD programme were successfully launched.
In this context, a collaboration project with the ETH Domain was specifically established: the Swiss Open Research Data Grants (CHORD) programme. It’s purpose is to increase synergies among the different types of higher education institutions and in the use of public funds and making these accessible to all disciplines. In the calls for proposals, researchers from all disciplines and all types of higher education institutions are therefore invited to submit project proposals. This  joint programme ‘CHORD’ implements a selected action line (A1.2 Providing ORD grants) of the ORD Action Plan and consists of three funding tracks that are sequenced to support project ideas from an exploration state to establishing and integrating ORD practices (Tracks A, B and C). At the end of 2022, 27 project proposals were approved by the Open Science Delegation based on the assessment of an open peer review process. The next call for proposals by swissuniversities will be published in spring/summer 2023.
Furthermore, the implementation of action lines dedicated to  promoting data stewardship and developing ORD specialists at all higher education institutions and research institutions have also started in 2022. Data stewardship involves managing and monitoring an organisation’s data assets with the aim of providing access to research data. Data stewards therefore act as a link between researchers and support units (e.g. IT, libraries, infrastructure providers). They perform an active advisory role for researchers and are the first point of contact for all questions relating to open research data. Institutions eligible for funding were invited to describe how they intend to establish data stewardship within their institution in an action plan. 25 project proposals, containing such action plans, from a total of 31 higher education institutions were submitted and approved.

‘Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment’ signed

Considering new criteria how to assess scientific careers is becoming increasingly important for higher education institutions. This was also underlined by the Swiss Higher Education Policy Coordination 2025–2028. Therefore, swissuniversities signed the Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment, coordinated by the European Commission, Science Europe and the European University Association (EUA), in September 2022. swissuniversities supports the objectives of further developing the assessment criteria for research, maximising the quality and impact of research and recognising the diversity of research activities, practices and outcomes.
The objectives of the Agreement are in line with the efforts made by swissuniversities to promote young researchers and diverse careers, both of which are central to the success of Swiss higher education institutions and their impact on society. Furthermore, the reform of research assessment makes a significant contribution towards the development and consolidation of open science in Switzerland.
swissuniversities is currently promoting different approaches to further develop research assessment in the context of the action plans for open access and open research data. These efforts to develop assessment criteria are tackled by the higher education institutions in the context of their respective strategies and disciplinary diversity. swissuniversities supports the reform of research assessment by continuing to share results among institutions at national level and in the international consortium of the agreement ‘Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment’.

Improving communication and transparency on the issue of animal research / Rejection of the initiative for a ban on animal and human experimentation

At the start of 2022, the Swiss electorate voted against the popular initiative on banning animal and human experiments. The discussions and debates surrounding this issue in the run-up to the vote showed once again just how important it is to maintain open dialogue with the public on this sensitive topic. The clear result of the vote shows that the Swiss voting public is in favour of responsible research in Switzerland, including research on animals. In order to maintain and strengthen this public trust, swissuniversities has established the commission STAAR (Swiss Transparency Agreement on Animal Research), with the aim of supporting relevant public and private institutions in their efforts to increase transparency and public dialogue in the area of animal research. At the same time, the commission SAFN (Swiss Animal Facilities Network) has continued and enhanced the cooperation with its recognised partners, which include the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office, 3RCC and the Animal Welfare Officer Network (AWO-N). The commission was also supported by the SAFN’s communication group, consisting of communications specialists from SAFN, 3RCC, the SNSF, the SCNAT and the KTVE commission for ethical animal research. There was a particular focus on the creation and coordination of synergies between the three animal experimentation bodies, i.e. the SAFN, the SAFN communication group and STAAR. This is how swissuniversities continues to support high-quality animal research which considers ethical questions in the field of in-vivo research.

Promotion of young researchers/careers

In 2022, the discussion how to promote  young researchers were focused on creating optimum working, training and research conditions. The importance of junior scientists for research, business and innovation in Switzerland cannot be overstated. swissuniversities offered higher education institutions various platforms on which to discuss the challenges and potential solutions within the context of their own approaches. These include providing ‘protected time’ for research, offering support with career planning, improving the structure of the post-doctoral phase, creating permanent employment below the level of professorships, and establishing tenure-track assistant professorships.
In response to two petitions to the Federal Assembly, the National Council passed a postulate in June 2022, which calls for a report on the current issues of precarious work, equality and young academics. In this context, swissuniversities also makes efforts to document the situation of young researchers: In 2022, it conducted a survey on behalf of the Swiss Conference of Higher Education Institutions to gain an overview of the types of mid-level jobs that exist. In particular, this  report illustrated the different jobs below professorships, the large proportion of temporary employment contracts, and the considerable differences in how measures such as minimum employment terms and ‘protected time’ are applied in practice.
swissuniversities also continued to coordinate projects that are funded with federal contributions. The P-1 programme in the area of doctoral education, as well as the P-11 programme to strengthen the dual competence profile of science-practice, made a particular contribution to establishing and consolidating structures that fulfil specific requirements for young talent at universities of applied sciences and universities of teacher education. The first monitoring of the National Strategy for Subject-Specific Education was also carried out in 2022. The study shows the framework in which the strategy and action plan were developed. Among other things, it also addresses the general challenges associated with master’s and doctoral programmes.

Promotion of equal opportunities

Increasing equal opportunities, diversity and inclusion is an important task for all types of higher education institutions. It is also their social responsibility. Accordingly, it is a key element of the Swiss Higher Education Policy Coordination 2025–2028 submitted to the Swiss Conference of Higher Education Institutions (SHK) in May 2022. In the year under review, swissuniversities drew up a project outline (federal contribution period 2025–2028), that supports all higher education institutions with their existing institutional and structural efforts in the areas of equality, equal opportunities and equity.
In the current contribution period, the programme Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Higher Education Development (2021–2024)  enables higher education institutions to address specific requirements and measures for the promotion of equal opportunities .
The higher education institutions have addressed the specific challenges relating to equal opportunities, diversity and inclusion also beyond the above mentioned programme. For example, in the year under review, the Chamber of Universities determined the extent to which the Recommendations and good practices for filling professorships (professorial appointments) are being implemented. The survey showed that the recommendations, which were defined in 2020, are being widely implemented at both management and process level. The majority of institutions have introduced cross-faculty guidelines or recommendations for the appointment process and have established central coordination offices. All institutions have defined targets for the appointment of professors or are planning to do so.
The higher education institutions’ gender monitoring results presented in December 2022 show that the efforts are paying off. For instance, the proportion of female professors appointed has increased from 36% (years 2018–2020) to 41% (years 2019–2021) (see graph). The results relating to the proportion of assistant professorships with tenure track are particularly encouraging. However, the measures have not yet had a significant impact on the overall proportion. Critical reflection on the appointment of professors therefore remains important to the Chamber of Universities.
The promotion of non-linear and equal-opportunity career paths remains an important issue for all types of higher education institutions. It is being addressed by the reform of research assessment, among other things.

The tertiary level in Switzerland – swissuniversities’ position on the requirements of continuing education

A special feature of the tertiary level in Switzerland is that it comprises universities and other higher education institutions on the one hand and professional education institutions (PEI) on the other. Higher education institutions (tertiary A) differ from PEI (tertiary B) in terms of their research orientation and the fact that they require a baccalaureate for admission (Federal Vocational Baccalaureate, general baccalaureate, specialised baccalaureate). A defining principle of the Swiss tertiary level is its permeability, which is also evident between tertiary A and tertiary B. The higher education institutions support this ease of movement between the two educational systems and have developed rules for the admission of PEI graduates onto their bachelor programmes or other higher education courses. In the year under review, swissuniversities dealt with political initiatives and demands from PEI for convergence with the higher education system and, in particular, for the introduction of bachelor and master degrees for professional education and training. In its response to the SERI report ‘Positioning of PEI, swissuniversities’ stance is clear: The current system is proven to work well and should not be changed. Instead, the focus should be on developing solutions that address the concerns of professional education and training that do not involve convergence with the higher education system. From swissuniversities’ point of view, bachelor’s and master’s qualifications are intrinsic components of the higher education system and inseparably linked to research-based teaching.

Presence at education fairs

Education fairs play an important role in international networking of higher education institutions. Thanks to funding from SERI, swissuniversities was able to ensure and coordinate the presence of Swiss higher education institutions at the international conferences APAIE, NAFSA (Denver) and EAIE (Barcelona) in 2022. swissuniversities thereby fulfilled its representation mandate and boosted the international visibility of Switzerland’s higher education institutions. The APAIE was held virtually again in 2022 and swissuniversities was present with a virtual stand, ‘study in switzerland+’.
After exhibitions had been held online for the past two years due to the pandemic, two fairs took place on-site again – in Denver and in Barcelona. The large presence of higher education institutions at these two fairs, particularly in Barcelona, shows the strong interest to interact with international partners in person. According to the feedback survey, the level of satisfaction among the participants was very high.
The Swiss stand ‘study in switzerland+’, based on the design of the website, was present at both the Association of International Educators, NAFSA (display area 24 m2) and EAIE (display area 60 m2) fairs. Fifteen delegates from seven Swiss higher education institutions were present at NAFSA 2022, along with two employees of swissuniversities. For the EAIE, swissuniversities coordinated the participation of a delegation of 84 people: 77 delegates from 28 Swiss higher education institutions, four representatives of ESN and three swissuniversities employees.


Program milestones


swissuniversities warns of a medicine and research ban

The institutions of academic public research and the university hospitals warn of the consequences of adopting the federal popular initiative for a prohibition of human and animal experimentation. The acceptance of this initiative would lead to a de facto ban on medicine and research. Read more.


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Universities pay a high price for Switzerland's sidelining in the European Union's research and education projects

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Horizon Europe: Resolution der Schweizer Wissenschaft und der forschenden Institute

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Stellungnahme swissuniversities zur Änderung des Ausländer- und Integrationsgesetzes

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Research in the service of human and animal health

Academic research institutions are pleased with the unequivocal commitment to responsible research involving animals and humans. The debate surrounding the initiative fostered discussion about the importance of research, understanding the methods and processes that lead to improving medical care for humans and animals. Read more.

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Contract negotiations with international publishing houses

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Impact of the war in Ukraine on cooperation with Russian researchers and students

The Board of swissuniversities observes with great concern the development of the war in Ukraine and its impact on the cooperation with Russian researchers and students. While many areas in science remain connected through a common understanding of scientific freedom and academic integrity, this scientific cooperation must not serve to support the aggressive policy of the Russian government, which violates fundamental principles of human rights, international law and basic European values. The Board of swissuniversities encouraged Swiss universities to review their scientific collaborations with institutes of higher education and research in Russia and suspend them where such danger of human rights violation exists. Read more.

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swissuniversities publiziert den aktualisierten Qualifikationsrahmen

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5th Conference on Subject-Specific Education

The 5th Conference on Subject-Specific Education took place on April 8-9, 2022 at the Department of Education and Learning of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI-DFA) in Locarno, under the title “Subject-specific education as academic disciplines in Switzerland: Recent developments and future prospects”.
The proceedings of the conference have been published. All documents as well as individual symposia and contributions are available in the publication. Read more.

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Publikation: Leitfaden Internationale Zusammenarbeit

Publikation des Leitfadens: Für eine verantwortungsvolle internationale Zusammenarbeit: Ein Leitfaden für Schweizer Hochschule. Read more.

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Report on the compatibility of academic career, partnership and family

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Treffen des Netzwerks Lehre zum Thema "Studienabbruch: eine Schwachstelle des Systems"

An der PH Zürich trafen sich Anfang Mai 85 Vertreter:innen der Schweizer Hochschullandschaft, um in einer Podiumsdiskussion und Workshops das Thema "Studienabbruch" zu diskutieren. Schwerpunkte lagen dabei auf Übergänge sowie Unterstützungsmassnahmen für psychische Gesundheit.  Read more.


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5-Länderkonferenz ENIC/NARIC

Das Treffen der deutschsprachingen Anerkennungsstellen ENIC/NARIC fand in Bozen statt, um die Anerkennungsfragen in internationaler Hinsicht und mit den Nachbarländern zu harmoniseren.


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European programmes - Time is pressing for the universities

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Yves Flückiger, President swissuniversities, elected new LERU Chairman

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Strategische Schwerpunkte der Schweizer Hochschulen für 2025–2028

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NAFSA Bildungsmesse in Denver

Teilnahme an der Bildungsmesse. Read more.


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Einrichtung der STAAR-Kommission

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SUDAC International Conference

Am 3.6. fand die jährliche Konferenz des swissuniversities development and cooperation network in Bern statt. Im Mittelpunkt stand die Präsentation der 5 SUDAC-Projekte in verschiedenen Regionen des Globalen Südens. Zudem wurde in einer Panel-Diskussion die gegenwärtige Nord-Süd Forschungs- und Bildungszusammenarbeit evaluiert und über mögliche Veränderungen in Zukunft diskutiert. Read more.


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Das jährliche gemeinsame Treffen der europäischen ENIC/NARIC Netzwerke fand in Dublin statt, um den Austausch zu Anerkennungsfragen und -abläufen, auch in Hinblick auf die Digitalisierung, zu fördern.

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Sommertreffen des P-8 Programms

Zu Sommerbeginn trafen sich an der Universität Bern 60 Beteiligte der Projekte des Programms P-8 "Stärkung der Digitalen Skills". Diverse Hotspots beleuchteten einzelne Projekte und ermöglichten den Austausch über die aktuell zweite Programmphase.


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Positionspapier Lehrpersonenmangel

Kammer PH publiziert Positionspapier zum Lehrpersonenmangel. Read more.


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Eignungstest 2022 für das Medizinstudium in der Schweiz

Am 8. Juli haben 3838 Personen den neu strukturierten EMS mit gültigem Ergebnis beendet. 37% der Studienanwärter:innen für Humanmedizin erhielten eine Zulassung, 40% in der Veterinärmedizin und 64% in der Zahnmedizin. Read more.


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Signing the 'Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment'

Die Berücksichtigung neuer Kriterien bei der Bewertung wissenschaftlicher Karrieren gewinnt für die Hochschulen weiterhin an Bedeutung. Aus diesem Grund hat swissuniversities das Abkommen über die Reform der Forschungsevaluation unterzeichnet, welches auf europäischer Ebene koordiniert wurde. Read more.


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Luciana Vaccaro elected as new president of swissuniversities

The plenary assembly of swissuniversities elected Luciana Vaccaro, Rector of the Haute école spécialisée de Suisse occidentale (HES-SO), as President of swissuniversities. Luciana Vaccaro is elected for the period of February 2023 to July 2024, succeeding Yves Flückiger. Read more.

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Treffen des Netzwerks Lehre zum Thema "Innovation in der Lehre"

An der FHNW fand Ende Oktober das Treffen 2/2022 des Netzwerks Lehre statt mit 100 Teilnehmer:innen zum Thema "Innovation in der Lehre". Im Rahmen eines internationalen Gastvortrags, einer Podiumsdiskussion und fünf Workshops wurden neue Perspektiven diskutiert und evaluiert. Read more.


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Verabschiedung der Konkordanzliste

Am 02. Dezember hat der Vorstand von swissuniversities die aktualisierte Konkordanzliste verabschiedet. Dabei handelt es sich um die Auflistung der möglichen Übergängen zwischen den verschiedenen Hochschultypen. Die Liste wird Anfang 2023 veröffentlicht.


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Verabschiedung des Monitorings «Fachdidaktik 2022»

Der Vorstand von swissuniversities hat am 2. Dezember Kenntnis genommen von den Ergebnissen des ersten Monitoringberichts zur Nationalen Strategie Fachdidaktik Schweiz 2021-2028 und den zugehörigen Bericht verabschiedet.


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Consultation on the Horizon Fund Law: swissuniversities' statement

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Gendermonitoring: Publication of the 2021 results

Each year, swissuniversities publishes data on the gender distribution of faculty hires at universities, as well as on the total proportion of female professors at these institutions. These figures are used as a basis for strategic discussions by the Chamber of Universities. Read more.

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Financial report

Balance Sheet at 31 December

(in CHF)




Current assets



Cash and cash equivalents



Accounts receivable



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Prepaid expenses/accrued income



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Tangible fixed assets



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Total fixed assets



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Liabilities & equity



Current liabilities



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Retained surplus/loss b/fwd



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Income statement for the year ended 31 December

(in CHF)

Income statement



Membership fees



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State grants per HEdA



State grants repaid per HEdA



State grants per regulations



State grants repaid per regulations



Project-related state grants



Project-related state grants repaid



Canton grants per HEdA



Canton grants repaid per HEdA



Contractual/regulatory Canton grants



Project funding European Commission



EMS-qualifying examination fees



Contributions from universities



Third-party donations



Reduction in earnings VAT



Operating income



Accounting fiduciary funds projects and programmes






Consultancy fees



Social security contributions



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Repairs & maintenance, leasing costs



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Energy and waste disposal expenses



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IT expenses



Advertising costs



Other operating expenses



Financial expenses



Financial income



Machinery & equipment depreciation



Office fixtures & fitting depreciation



Amortisation of intangible assets



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Aperiodic income



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Other non-operating income



Non-recurring income/expenses



Surplus/loss for the year




Prof. Dr Yves Flückiger

Rector Université de Genève, UNIGE President of swissuniversities

Prof. Dr Astrid Epiney

Rector Université de Fribourg, Unifr Vice president ex officio

Dr Luciana Vaccaro

Rector Haute École Spécialisée de Suisse occidentale, HES-SO Vice president ex officio

Prof. Dr Heinz Rhyn Rektor PH Zürich
Prof. Dr Heinz Rhyn

Rector Pädagogische Hochschule Zürich, PH Zürich Vice president ex officio

Prof. Jürg Kessler

Rector Fachhochschule Graubünden, FHGR

Joël Mesot
Prof. Dr Joël Mesot

President Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich, ETH

Prof. Dr Maxime Zuber

Rector Haute École pédagogique des cantons de Berne, du Jura et de Neuchâtel, HEP-BEJUNE

Dr Martina Weiss

Secretary General swissuniversities in an advisory capacity


Prof. Dr Sebastian Wörwag

Rector Berner Fachhochschule, BFH

Martin Vetterli, Présidence EPFL 2021
Prof. Dr Martin Vetterli

President École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, EPFL

Prof. Dr Crispino Bergamaschi

President of the Board of Directors Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz, FHNW

Prof. Dr Daniel Seelhofer

Rector of the OST; Fachhochschule Ostschweiz, FHO / OST – Ostschweizer Fachhochschule

Prof. Dr Delphine Etienne-Tomasini

Rector Haute École pédagogique Fribourg, HEP | PH FR

Fabio Di Giacomo

Director Haute École pédagogique du Valais, HEP-VS / PH-VS; until 30 May 2022 Co-Director ad interim Peter Summermatter

Prof. Dr Thierry Dias

Rector Haute École pédagogique Vaud, HEP Vaud

Prof. Dr Barbara Fäh

Rector Interkantonale Hochschule für Heilpädagogik, HfH

Prof. Dr Barbara Bader

Rector Hochschule Luzern, HSLU; until 30 November 2022 Rector Dr Markus Hodel

René Weber

Rector Kalaidos Fachhochschule Schweiz, Kalaidos

Prof. Dr Martin Schäfer

Rector Pädagogische Hochschule Bern, PHBern

Prof. Dr Gian-Paolo Curcio

Rector University of teacher education of the Grisons, PHGR

Prof. Dr Kathrin Krammer

Rector Pädagogische Hochschule Luzern, PH Luzern

Prof. Dr Gerda Buhl

Rector Pädagogische Hochschule Schaffhausen, PHSH

Prof. Dr Silvio Herzog

Rector Pädagogische Hochschule Schwyz, PHSZ

Prof. Dr Horst Biedermann

Rector Pädagogische Hochschule St. Gallen, PHSG

Prof. Dr Sabina Larcher

Rector Pädagogische Hochschule Thurgau, PHTG; until 28 February 2022 Rector ad interim Prof. Dr Thomas Merz

Prof. Dr Esther Kamm

Rector Pädagogische Hochschule Zug, PH Zug

Prof. Franco Gervasoni

Director Scuola universitaria professionale della Svizzera italiana, SUPSI

Prof. Dr Andrea Schenker-Wicki

Rector Universität Basel

Prof. Dr Christian Leumann

Rector Universität Bern, UniBE

Prof. Dr Frédéric Herman

Rector Université de Lausanne, UNIL

Prof. Dr Bruno Staffelbach

Rector Universität Luzern, Unilu

Prof. Dr Kilian Stoffel

Rector Université de Neuchâtel, UniNE

Prof. Dr Bernhard Ehrenzeller

Rector Universität St. Gallen, HSG

Prof. Dr Lorenzo Cantoni

Rector ad interim Università della Svizzera italiana, USI; until 9 May 2022 Rector Prof. Boas Erez

Prof. Dr Michael Schaepman

Rector Universität Zürich, UZH

Dr Karin Mairitsch

Rector Zürcher Hochschule der Künste, ZHdK; until 30 September 2022 Rector Prof. Dr Thomas D. Meier

Prof. Dr Jean-Marc Piveteau

Rector Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften, ZHAW

Prof. Dr Guido McCombie*

Director Pädagogische Hochschule FHNW, PH FHNW; until 28 February 2022 Director Prof. Dr Sabina Larcher (*may participate in Plenary Assemblies as guest)

Prof. Dr Alberto Piatti*

Director Dipartimento formazione e apprendimento della SUPSI, SUPSI-DFA (*may participate in Plenary Assemblies as guest)

General Secretariat swissuniversities

Dr Martina Weiss
Secretary General

Dr Sabine Felder
Deputy Secretary General / Head of Division Teaching and Infrastructure

Etienne Dayer
Director of the Chamber of Universities of Applied Sciences

Dr François Grandjean
Director of the Chamber of Universities

Dr Andrea Hungerbühler
Director of the Chamber of Universities of Teacher Education

Noëmi Eglin-Chappuis
Co-Head of Division Research and Development

Dr Stefanie Wyssenbach
Co-Head of Division Research and Development

Rahel Imobersteg
Head of Division Higher Education Policy

Dr Dimitri Sudan
Head of Division International Relations

Livia Blarasin
Head of Finances

Barbara Jgushia
Head of Human Resources

Dietrich Lindemann
Head of IT

Josefa Haas
Head of Communication


Staff Secretary General