Dr Fritz Schiesser (Photo: Elisabeth Real)

31,293 – that’s how many students and doctoral students there were enrolled at the two Federal Institutes of Technology in 2017. That is 1,000 up on last year, and 10,000 more than there had been ten years ago. An ever increasing number of the next generation of Swiss professionals are pursuing their studies within the ETH Domain. And that can only be a good thing. Our industry, SME sector and authorities are reliant on recruiting employees who have received an excellent education. Whether it be in construction, information technology, agriculture, pharmaceuticals or in the mechanical engineering industry. The ETH Domain educates these much needed specialists. It is actually the only university-level education institution in Switzerland in certain disciplines, such as mechanical and electrical engineering. Year in, year out over 4,000 people complete their Master’s degree or their doctorate at one of the two Federal Institutes of Technology and go onto the Swiss labour market or, as is increasingly the case, set up their own company. The four research institutes of the ETH Domain are also very committed to teaching. 2017 saw record numbers of students and doctoral students complete their dissertations and theses at the PSI, WSL, Empa or Eawag.

What’s more, an additional 10,000 students and doctoral students require additional laboratories and lecture halls, as well as professors and technical personnel. This growth in student figures would not be manageable without additional investment. The ETH Domain is very successful in seeking funding from private benefactors, the Swiss National Science Foundation, Innosuisse and the EU. However, the funding from the total federal contribution is still by far the most important source of financing.

Education is worth investing in. A current study now reveals specific figures for the ETH Domain. In 2016, the ETH Domain had a gross value added effect of around 13 billion francs in Switzerland, accounting for almost 100,000 jobs. This means that every franc invested in the ETH Domain generates more than five times its value, and every job generates around four further jobs. Its institutions attract foreign companies and create employment themselves with the founding of spin-offs. The ETH Domain is an important player in our economy and a key ambassador abroad for our outstanding education and research centre, as well as for nurturing the good reputation that Switzerland enjoys generally. Thanks to its research findings and to its close collaboration with industry, it makes a vital contribution towards the competitiveness of and quality of life in Switzerland.

Bern/Zurich, February 2018
Dr Fritz Schiesser
President of the ETH Board