Implementation of the Mass Immigration Initiative: quick ratification of the Croatia protocol possible

Press release, 30.09.2016

At its meeting on 28/29 September 2016 the ETH Board made key decisions in order to invest in strategic research areas which are crucial for Switzerland. It also discussed the current implementation status of the Mass Immigration Initiative. In the view of the ETH Board, the National Council’s recent decision lays the foundations for the Croatia protocol to be quickly ratified by the Federal Council so that Switzerland could remain within Horizon 2020.

In its autumn 2016 session, the Federal Assembly expanded the financial framework for the ETH Domain for the next four-year performance period by CHF 160 million. This positive decision enables the institutions of the ETH Domain to invest in four selected strategic focus areas, thus lending additional key impulses to Switzerland as a centre of knowledge and industry. In its Strategic Plan 2017–2020, the ETH Board together with the ETH Domain institutions had set out the following four strategic focus areas: "Advanced manufacturing", "Personalised health and related technologies", "Data sciences" and "Energy". The objective of these focus areas is to develop solutions to current economic, social and ecological challenges and to open up fields of research that are particularly relevant to the future of Switzerland.

At its meeting on 28/29 September 2016 the ETH Board made key decisions to move forward in these areas. It accepted the organisational forms of the four focus areas and appointed the members of the relevant management bodies, then tasked these bodies with coordinating the implementation of these focus areas in the ETH Domain. "Together with partners from industry and higher education we want to fully focus our efforts on driving forward ultra-modern production processes, developing more effective and cost-efficient therapies and making a substantial contribution to increasing energy efficiency in Switzerland," says Fritz Schiesser, president of the ETH Board. "I am sure that by doing so we will be making a valuable and unique contribution to our economy and our society."

Implementation of the Mass Immigration Initiative: Internationality is crucial for the ETH Domain

At its meeting the ETH Board discussed the current implementation status of the Mass Immigration Initiative. In the autumn session, the National Council laid the foundations upon which the Federal Council could swiftly ratify the Croatia protocol. This would enable Switzerland to remain within Horizon 2020."Switzerland needs international collaboration and exchange with the world's best," says Fritz Schiesser. "Without this we cannot maintain our internationally leading position."

Science and research have a strong international focus. For example, 60% of scientific publications in the ETH Domain stem from collaboration with foreign institutions, and these publications have a significantly greater impact than those based on national collaboration alone. Around half the employees in the ETH Domain are foreign nationals, and for professors the proportion rises to two thirds. Internationality is thus crucial for the ETH Domain and a key prerequisite for its success.

ETH Board makes significant changes to real estate management governance in the ETH Domain

With the conclusion of its "Changes to real estate management governance in the ETH Domain" project the ETH Board has firmed up its control and supervisory function as a Federal Construction and Properties Service. From now on the ETH Board alone will be responsible for reporting to the Confederation as the real estate owner, while the institutions of the ETH Domain will continue to be responsible for implementing the approved investment plans and the construction projects they comprise. In order to support the institutions effectively, a representative of the ETH Board will now sit on the steering committees of larger real estate projects. For the financing of suitable real estate projects via private investors, the ETH Board had already passed an implementation provision at an earlier date. This makes it possible to harmonise suitable models, authorisation processes and also contracts. The changes to real estate management governance have been implemented in the ETH Domain since 1 January 2016.

Further information:

Media Release ETH-Board, 30 September 2016

Address for enquiries:

Christoph Leuenberger
Head of Communication of the ETH Board ad interim
Häldeliweg 15, CH-8092 Zurich
+41 44 632 75 77


Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research