The ETH Board is responsible for the ETH Domain’s strategic planning. It compiles this four-year strategy for submission to the Confederation, which then derives the ETH Domain’s performance mandate from it. The basis for this is provided by the dispatch concerning the promotion of education, research and innovation.

In the dispatch on the promotion of education, research and innovation (ERI Dispatch) for 2013-2016, the Federal Council formulates the guidelines, objectives and measures of its policy on education and science for a period of four years in each instance. In order to fulfil the set objectives, the corresponding funding is also addressed.

The State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation and the Federal Office for Professional Education and Technology jointly oversee the preparation of the ERI Dispatch; the domains which it affects (ETH Domain, universities, universities of applied sciences, the Swiss National Science Foundation, the Commission for Technology and Innovation, etc.) are greatly involved in its preparation (cf. State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation). Here, the ETH Board incorporates its own strategic planning for the ETH Domain.

Performance mandate between the Confederation and the ETH Domain

Within the ERI Dispatch, the Federal Council issues the ETH Domain a performance mandate for four years at a time. In addition, the Federal Parliament approves a global budget for the ETH Domain’s operations and investments. On this basis, the ETH Board directs ETH Zurich, EPFL and the four research institutes PSI, WSL, Empa and Eawag; to this end, it enters into an agreement on objectives with each institution.

Federal global budget for the ETH Domain 2013-2016

In the 2013-2016 performance period, the global budget approved by the Federal Parliament for the ETH Domain amounts to 9‘657,9 m CHF.

Federal objectives for the ETH Domain as per the 2013–2016 performance mandate

The performance mandate between the Confederation and the ETH Domain for the years 2013-2016 builds on the two previous performance mandates and the experience gained from them. The most significant challenges for the ETH Domain are rising student numbers, international positioning and increased participation in strategic cooperation projects launched by several tertiary institutions, some of which cover all types of tertiary institutions (Federal Institutes of Technology, universities and universities of applied sciences) or are pursued together with international partners.

In the 2013-2016 performance period, the ETH Board will be pursuing the following objectives (among others) requested by the Federal Council and approved by the Federal Parliament, for the performance of its core tasks of teaching, research and KTT:

  • The ETH Domain will provide teaching which is top-class and attractive for students in an international comparison. It will further extend its leading position in international research and define focal points in five areas.
  • It will promote the transfer of its findings and competencies to society and to the economy. It will make use of partnerships with trade and industry and the public sector and be actively involved in national innovation networks and in the implementation of the national innovation park strategy.
  • It will operate large-scale research infrastructures of national significance.
  • The ETH Domain will create attractive and family-friendly working conditions, promote equality of opportunity and educate the next generation of scientists.

The Federal Council and the Federal Parliament have instructed the ETH Board to coordinate the management of land and buildings and to ensure the preservation of their value and utility, to optimise the ETH Domain’s funding basis and to allocate the resources to the institutions with due regard to its strategic objectives, to academic performance and to the load factors arising for the institutions on account of their core tasks. In addition to the performance mandate, the ETH Board will also have to discharge special tasks in connection with the implementation of the Energy Strategy 2050 and the Confederation’s “Coordinated Energy Research Switzerland” action plan.