13 November 2012

Student numbers at ETH Zurich and EPFL have increased by more than half in the two performance periods since 2004. For 2013, the start of the new performance period, the ETH Board is additionally reallocating funds, budgeting approx. CHF 40m more than in 2012 for teaching and thus for the benefit of students.

For the ETH Domain, 2013 is the first year of a new performance period, one of whose benchmarks is the just under 28,000 undergraduates, Master’s and doctoral students who have been forecast for ETH Zurich and EPFL. At the beginning of the last period in 2009, more than 22,500 students were enrolled; at the beginning of the penultimate period in 2004, just under 18,500 students were studying at ETH Zurich and EPFL. This distinctive increase in student numbers meets a demand: Switzerland’s economy and society need more graduates in mathematics, engineering, natural science and technology (MINT subjects).

To keep teaching quality at a high level, the ETH Board additionally reallocated funds for teaching (supervision, development of teaching and infrastructure) for 2013, from resources that had been budgeted for 2011 but had not yet been allocated (CHF 12m) and by reallocating CHF 4.8m which had been ear-marked for the strategic large-scale projects (cf. box). The two Federal Institutes of Technology intend to create just under 30 additional professorships financed by direct federal funds. Also, the two Federal Institutes of Technology and the four research institutes of the ETH Domain are investing in additional scientists – and in urgently needed infrastructures.

To be able to continue to invest in teaching on a long-term basis, the ETH campaigned for a continuous growth of the federal contribution at an early stage. Subsequently the Parliament, in its resolutions concerning the Federal Council’s Dispatch on Education, Research and Innovation, promised the ETH Domain CHF 2,259.4m (+3.9 %) for 2013 (as opposed to the budgeted CHF 2,227.4m). However, the Federal Council ring-fenced CHF 12m of these additional funds for energy research with its Dispatch on Co-ordinated Energy Research Switzerland. For the subsequent years of 2014–2016, the amount reserved for energy research will increase to CHF 16m per annum. In addition, the Federal Council is planning to cut the funding contribution for the ETH Domain during those years with the Consolidation and Task Evaluation Package 2014 (2014: CHF 28m; 2015 and 2016: CHF 29m each).

At about 62 %, personnel expenditure constitutes the lion’s share of budgeted costs. It is expected to increase by CHF 65.0m (+ 3.4 %) in comparison with 2012. This rise is for the most part a consequence of an increase in the number of professors and the higher number of jobs paid from second- and third-party funds.

The 2013 budget of the ETH Board will have to be adopted by the Federal Assembly in its 2012 Winter Session.