ETH Board, 28 April 2017

The ETH Domain’s attraction continues unabated. With a combined total of 30,351 students and doctoral students, the two Federal Institutes of Technology exceeded the 30,000 threshold for the first time in 2016. In comparison with the preceding year, this represents an increase of 3.4%. New record levels were also reached with regard to knowledge and technology transfer. Never before were so many companies founded (50) and patents applied for (230) as last year.

Studying at ETH Zurich and EPFL is highly popular. In the last ten years, the number of students and doctoral students rose by 55% - from just under 20,000 to more than 30,000. In 2016, the number of new undergraduate entrants reached the new record level of 5,531 (2015: 5,290), with the greatest increase registered in the subject areas of “Information and Communications Technology”, “Life Sciences”, and “Exact and Natural Sciences”. The proportion of women undergraduates reached the 30% threshold for the first time (2015: 29.2%). Among the professors, the proportion of women amounted to 13.9%, which was tantamount to a slight increase in comparison with the preceding year (2015: 13.7%). It was particularly gratifying to see that the proportion of women in appointments to full professors was 31%. The proportion of women among professors can therefore be expected to continue to rise in the future.

ETH Domain: Switzerland’s innovation and education driver

“Innovation is vital for competitiveness and for the success of our economy and, as such, for employment and prosperity in our country,” says Fritz Schiesser, President of the ETH Board. The two universities ETH Zurich and EPFL, as well as the four research institutes PSI, WSL, Empa and Eawag, have forged a close working relationship with SMEs, industry and the public sector. In 2016, they were involved in 3,400 cooperation ventures. Thanks to this cooperation, the Swiss economy benefits from the ETH Domain’s exceptional expertise in research and innovation and is able to develop new products which provide it with an edge over its international rivals.

Last year, the institutions of the ETH Domain reached new record levels with both the foundation of 50 spin-offs (2015: 48) and 230 applications for patents (2015: 219). The ETH Domain educates urgently needed specialists who make a crucial contribution towards know-how transfer in the economy and in society. In 2016, approx. 7,000 people obtained a degree from one of the two Federal Institutes of Technology. The ETH Domain’s value for Switzerland’s innovative power also manifests itself in its commitment to the Swiss Innovation Park. The ETH Domain is actively involved in four of the five locations and thus plays a key role.

ETH Zurich and EPFL among the world’s best universities

The international rankings of universities reveal the outstanding achievements of ETH Zurich and EPFL. ETH Zurich has confirmed its standing among the top 10 universities in the world according to the THE (8th) and QS (9th) World Rankings. EPFL defended its first place worldwide among the universities founded in the past 50 years. Among European universities, both ETH Zurich and EPFL are in the top ten of both the THE and the QS World Rankings for the first time.

Federal Council’s cuts affect the ETH Domain seriously

The ETH Domain is dependent upon outstanding framework conditions in order to maintain its success in delivering its work in the fields of knowledge and technology transfer, training specialists and research. These include adequate and stable financing by the Federal Government, Switzerland’s internationality and openness, as well as the autonomy of the institutions of the ETH Domain.

The cuts for 2018-2020 of 270m CHF that were announced by the Federal Council in February 2017 will affect the ETH Domain seriously. As late as autumn 2016, Parliament had still voted to grant additional funds to the ETH Domain. The ETH Board was planning to invest these funds in trail-blazing fields of research such as “Personalised Health”, “Data Sciences” and “Advanced Manufacturing” in order to generate additional impulses for Switzerland as a centre of knowledge and industry.

Annual Report 2016 available in the internet

The Annual Report 2016 of the ETH Board on the ETH Domain gives an account of the deployment of funds and provides various performance indicators in the fields of teaching, research, and knowledge and technology transfer. It can be downloaded from the info box.