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ETH Zurich and EPFL are two of the best universities in the world. ETH Zurich was listed in the top ten in prominent university rankings for the first time in 2015, and EPFL as the world’s best university among those founded during the last 50 years. And the PSI, WSL, Empa and Eawag have once again demonstrated their top international level of research and innovation in 2015. The ETH Board is proud of these successes. They attest to the great services the ETH Domain is performing for science, society and the economy.
An international expert committee deployed by Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann in 2015 also gave excellent testimony to the ETH Domain, confirming its outstanding role in the transfer of knowledge and technology, to the benefit of Switzerland as a location for industry, education and research. The experts’ report shows how the autonomy of the ETH Domain, its internationality, and a robust funding by the Federal Government with a long-term perspective, are central pillars of its success. If this success model is to be secured for the future as well, the policy-makers will have to continue to ensure these favourable, stable conditions.
Unfortunately various political developments are leading away from this goal. The stabilisation programme for 2017–2019 of the Federal Council provides for a noticeable slowing down in the growth of the financing contributions for the area of education, research and innovation. Yet especially in view of the strong Swiss franc and the uncertainties concerning access to European specialists and research programmes, Switzerland now more than ever needs to promote its own upcoming young talent and its innovative strength, in order to stay competitive internationally and support the workplaces in this country. The ETH Board is counting on the Federal Council and Parliament to continue to respect Education, Research and Innovation as the most valuable of our country’s basic resources, which especially today are in need of targeted investment as a top priority for the future.