The ETH Domain’s location strategy encompasses the associated locations of the ETH Domain institutions that work together with cantonal or international partners, and will serve as a guidance document for associated locations existing now or in the future. These play a key role in the national and international positioning of the ETH Domain in that they enhance technology transfer, attract talent and communicate knowledge.
In addition to their six principal locations, the ETH Domain institutions currently maintain twelve cantonal and – until September 2022 – two international associated locations. Five of the national associated locations were founded in the last 15 years and are thus a relatively new feature in the Swiss university landscape. As these locations reach a more mature stage of development, new opportunities and challenges are arising for the ETH Domain.
The international commission of experts tasked with the 2019 intermediate evaluation of the ETH Domain issued a recommendation on the evaluation of governance and coordination and – to a certain extent – also on the development strategy for existing and future national and international associated locations. On that basis, the Federal Council formulated a corresponding strategic objective for the ETH Domain.
Standardised criteria for associated locations
The “Strategy for ETH Domain institutions’ associated locations, working with cantonal or international partners” is concerned with the existing locations and with the criteria for future associated locations. Standardized criteria and processes regarding establishment, renewal or closure now apply to all the locations. Among other things, these relate to academic and structural aspects and to infrastructure, political and financial conditions. The establishment or closure of an associated location by the parent institution requires the prior consent of the ETH Board. The associated locations are evaluated periodically, and proper communication within the ETH Domain institutions and with the public is assured.
Approximately 3000 Masters and doctoral projects plus 45 spin-offs
In concrete terms, the strategy covers the following ETH Domain locations: Basel (ETH Zurich, Basel Campus), Geneva (EPFL Geneva), Neuchâtel (EPFL Neuchâtel), Fribourg (EPFL Fribourg), Sion (EPFL Valais-Wallis together with Empa Sion) plus Singapore (Singapore-ETH Centre SEC) and the United Arab Emirates (EFPL Middle East). The last-mentioned location is being discontinued despite successful collaboration (see EPFL News).
The associated locations covered by the Strategy are of key importance to the national and international positioning of the ETH Domain in that they enhance technology transfer, attract talent and communicate knowledge. As a rule, they do not involve any additional investment for the parent institutions but represent an outsourcing of activities that are expanded through local investments. At present, over 1200 researchers and employees of the ETH Domain work in the seven associated locations. They have already delivered an impressive volume of research results and numerous technology transfers: by the end of 2021, some 3000 Masters and doctoral projects were supervised there, giving rise to more than 8400 publications. Moreover, 45 spin-offs have been established and almost 700 jobs created – about two-thirds of them in Switzerland.