Main Content

Strategy and Planning for the Dispatch on education, research and innovation (ERI) 2025-2028

swissuniversities calls for stable basic funding in the Dispatch on the Promotion of Education, Research and Innovation (ERI) 2025-2028, in its statement on the adoption of the ERI Dispatch by the Federal Council on 8 March 2024: FrenchGerman.

In 2023 swissuniversities took a position on the draft of the ERI Dispatch submitted for consultation and already called for solid basic funding for ERI institutions.

In 2022, swissuniversities published the Coordination of the entire Swiss higher education sector 2025-2028 (Strategic planning, FrenchGerman), which defines the strategic objectives for the coming ERI period and the financial needs of the higher education institutions.

Switzerland's prosperity and its ability to meet new challenges are closely linked to the quality of its higher education institutions. In order to identify current challenges at an early stage - especially those related to demographic developments, the effects of globalisation, health, environmental and economic crises - and to meet them with constructive solutions, higher education institutions must be able to maintain the excellent quality of teaching and the excellence of research and innovation. In this vein, they reinforce their indispensable contribution to the social and economic fabric of Switzerland. 


Strategic objectives of the Swiss higher education institutions for 2025–2028:

1. Thinking ahead in a changing world

The higher education institutions position their portfolio effectively within the numerous international, national and regional processes of change. Their aim is to maintain the high quality and efficiency of their services and to be able to recognise and absorb developments at an early stage.

  • The profiling of the three complementary types of higher education institutions - universities of teacher education (PH), universities of applied sciences (UAS) and universities of applied sciences (UH) - is promoted. These profiles complement one another and are permeable.
  • The universities are committed to the principle of competition and cooperation. Institutionalised cooperation strengthens interdisciplinarity and ensures efficient use of financial resources.
  • By ensuring permeability and enabling individualised career paths, the higher education institutions make an important contribution to the Swiss dual education system.

2. Ensuring excellence in the international context

The higher education institutions remain committed to high-quality international cooperation that continuously promotes excellent education, research and innovation in Switzerland. In pursuing this goal, the universities create an ideal environment for the innovation-driven economic development in Switzerland:

  • Internationalisation is central in recruiting researchers for renowned research projects, which benefits Switzerland as a location for innovation as well as students and academic staff. This exchange of ideas and talent leads to 'brain circulation', which drives innovation.

  • The return to full association with the European programmes is absolutely crucial for Swiss universities to be able to compete with the best universities in the world. Horizon Europe is the most competitive, comprehensive and prestigious research programme internationally. In the meantime, the universities remain active in their networks and partnerships. In order not to lose touch, they are relying on effective transition measures financed by the government.

3. Promoting young talent and enabling careers

The higher education institutions are committed to promoting the next generation of researchers. They are also dedicated to alleviating the shortage of skilled workers and reducing the number of students who drop out of higher education.

  • With the education of qualified personnel, the universities make a substantial contribution to Switzerland as business location and to the country's international competitiveness.
  • Swiss universities offer attractive and diverse careers and train academics and other professionals at the highest level. These specialists enjoy an excellent reputation both nationally and internationally.

4. Strengthening equal opportunities, diversity and inclusion

By promoting equal opportunities, diversity and inclusion, higher education institutions assume a social responsibility and ensure that teaching and research benefit the needs of the entire population.

  • Higher education institutions create sound working conditions and focus their staff development on social sustainability and equal opportunities.
  • More comprehensive and diverse assessment criteria are used in the evaluation and promotion of academic careers, and initiatives such as the DORA Declaration or 'Reforming Research Assessment' are supported.
  • As inclusive institutions, Swiss universities promote a comprehensive talent pool.

5. Safeguarding knowledge and serving society

Swiss higher education institutions and other stakeholders in the field of education, research and innovation, including swissuniversities, defend institutional autonomy and academic freedom as an important pillar of democracy. This fundamental right, as well as good legal frameworks and financial provisions, enable universities to deliver reliable and objective knowledge.

  • The research community is committed to upholding the basic principles of reliability, integrity and respect.
  • Universities place their scientific expertise at the service of society and support researchers in this commitment.
  • Researchers actively engage in dialogue with societal actors, particularly on challenges such as digitalisation, climate change, health and economic crises. This requires their engagement towards policy advice and in public debates, as well as a strengthening of science communication.

6. Shaping and mastering the digital transformation

Higher education institutions make a critical contribution to researching and helping to shape digitalisation.

  • The digital transformation is a far-reaching change. The scientific approach to digitalisation is hence an interdisciplinary one and includes perspectives of technology as well as society, politics and the economy.
  • The universities strengthen society in the best possible way to master the risks of digital change and to make use of its potential.
  • The universities' commitment to the digital transformation also considers issues related to sustainability and inclusion.

7. Knowledge should circulate: Open Science

Higher education institutions are actively shaping the paradigm shift towards Open Science to ensure that knowledge can circulate freely and is accessible to all.

  • Open Science as a principle of transparency and accessibility enables the research community to conduct more efficient and reliable science.
  • Universities use the potential of Open Science to make research, its methods and results more publicly accessible. In this way, they enable new forms of dialogue between science and society.

8. Commitment to a sustainable society

Higher education institutions are committed to sustainability in research, teaching and on their campuses. They maintain a dialogue with actors from society, politics and the economy in order to meet the challenges of climate change.

  • In all disciplines, solid scientific knowledge is developed, which is necessary for technological, social and societal innovations.
  • Competencies for dealing with sustainability issues in society, business and politics are integrated into education and training.
  • Universities reduce their ecological footprint and invest in sustainable solutions at their own institutions.

9. Financial needs

The strategic objectives of the universities include ensuring international excellence, maintaining the high quality of teaching, research and innovation, equal opportunities and the transfer of knowledge to a wide audience, as well as strengthening the social and economic fabric of Switzerland. The higher education institutions thus strengthen Switzerland as a business location and its international competitiveness.

The financial contributions of the Confederation and that of the Cantons to the universities ensure the outstanding quality of teaching and the excellence of research and innovation. The organisational processes and management of Swiss universities are constantly optimised in order to keep administrative costs low.

swissuniversities advocates an annual real growth rate of over 2.5% in order to prevent stagnation or worse, a decline in quality. It is essential to take into account the significant inflation to be expected in the coming years.

Federal contributions are calculated partly on the basis of student numbers. Since these tend to increase, the contributions must be able to keep pace with this growth in student numbers. Otherwise, the quality of teaching and research cannot be maintained.

An effective reduction in funding would also have negative consequences for Switzerland's innovation capacity and research would lose its top position. This becomes all the more pronounced as Switzerland's position as research and innovation centre is increasingly at risk due to the exclusion from Horizon Europe.

See also the swissuniversities statement of 3 March 2023 on this topic: swissuniversities regrets the erosion of ERI sector finances