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ERI Dispatch 2025-2028: Universities and funding organisations for research and innovation fear cutback in services

The Federal Council plans to invest less than before in education, research and innovation (ERI) in the coming years. In its ERI Dispatch 2025–2028, the Federal Council proposes only a slight nominal growth for the ERI sector. Due to the expected inflation, a zero or negative growth is possible in real terms. A cutback in services at the ERI institutions concerned is therefore foreseeable. The universities and research and innovation promotion organisations are therefore calling for significant, real growth for the entire ERI sector over the next four-year period. Only in this way can they continue to make their contribution to progress and prosperity in Switzerland. 

The deadline for the Federal Council’s consultation on its draft Dispatch on the Promotion of Education, Research and Innovation 2025–2028 (ERI Dispatch) ended on 24 September 2023. This Dispatch regulates the funding and duties of the Swiss universities and the research and innovation funding organisations swissuniversities, ETH Board, SNSF, Innosuisse and Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences at federal level for the corresponding years.

The ERI partners have noted with great concern that the Federal Council’s proposal envisages only an average nominal growth rate of 2.0 percent for the entire ERI sector and that the expected inflation will only be partially compensated. For the universities, the growth rates are to be even lower. In addition, the Federal Council is entrusting the ERI actors with new tasks for which no adequate funding is provided. These additional tasks could thus only be fulfilled at the cost of the core mandate.

In consequence, as of 2025, the ERI institutions will no longer be able to provide their services for education, research and innovation to the required extent and will have to cut back. To prevent this, the ERI institutions are calling for solid funding in their respective statements on the ERI Dispatch. They need these finances in order to significantly contribute to solutions for the current challenges, such as the energy transition, digitalisation or healthcare.

Sufficient funds are also needed so that the ERI institutions can continue to train a highly qualified workforce and thus contribute to countering the shortage of skilled workers. In light of the rising number of students, it must be ensured that the high quality of teaching is maintained.

Real, adequate growth in funds is essential

The ERI partners are aware of the delicate financial situation of the Confederation. However, they argue that austerity measures in the sector of education, research and innovation lead to serious repercussions for Switzerland as a research and business location. It has already become more difficult for Switzerland to maintain its top position, because of the non-association with the world’s largest research and innovation programme “Horizon Europe” and the education programme “Erasmus+”. If Switzerland invests too few funds in the ERI sector at the national level, it will further jeopardise its competitiveness. This would put Switzerland’s social and economic progress and thus its above-average innovative strength at risk. Real, adequate growth for the entire ERI sector is therefore essential. With an average annual real growth of between 2.5% and 3.5%, it is possible to continue the successful development of the ERI sector in the period 2025–2028 despite the difficult circumstances.

For all these reasons, the Swiss universities and organisations for research and innovation funding call on the Federal Council and Parliament to adapt the financial framework of the ERI Dispatch 2025–2028 to the strategic requirements and thus ensure a reliable and future-oriented funding policy for education, research and innovation in the best interests of Switzerland.  

Find below the respective statements of the Swiss universities and research and innovation promotion organisations on the consultation of the ERI Dispatch 2025–2028:

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