In view of the accelerating pace of economic and social change and the high degree of systemic complexity, the Swiss Science Council SSC is addressing issues related to the sustainable development of the education and research system during the current term of office building on the Council’s previous activities. The Council is also focusing on position statements and recommendations already prepared, which remain valid, for which current evidence is available, but which it considers have not been satisfactorily implemented or that still have potential for improvement.

In the policy analysis ‘Requirements for a sustainable education and research system’, the SSC has formulated six key points and their underlying principles and prospects for future action, such as improving equal opportunities in admission to higher education institutions or to education in general; maintaining diversity in the different types of higher education institutions; and introducing transparency in the cooperation between the private sector higher education institutions. In this policy analysis, the Council examines the ERI landscape from three perspectives:

  • How valuable are education and research to society and to the economy?
  • How should the interplay or governance between the different types of higher education institutions and between universities and industry or society be organised?
  • Where does the responsibility of the research community and the higher education institutions to develop a successful scientific culture lie?

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Access: The education system in Switzerland today does not harness all available talent. Further efforts to promote equal opportunities regarding access to tertiary education is the best way to improve its long-term efficiency.

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PPP: The increase in private funding sources is good for the ERI system. However, the same level of transparency must apply to private research funding as to public funding, and a series of principles need to be respected.

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Public sector

Diversity: All stakeholders in the tertiary education system agree on the importance of diversity of educational and research establishments. However, they do not agree on the measures to implement this principle. The Swiss Conference of Higher Education Institutions, as the most important authority, should systematically have its say in this matter.

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Financing arrangements: In addition to their research, scientists need to write applications and articles, since peer review and administrative tasks are gaining in importance. This development is exacerbated by the financing arrangements, which is why a sustainable balance needs to be maintained between institutional financing and project financing.

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Measurement criteria: Giving priority to quantitative criteria for evaluating the quality of science and setting only one measurement promotes short-term activities. In future, higher education institutions must undertake to challenge their own practices and disclose their own principles.

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Young talent: Promoting young talent is one of the priorities of the 2017-2020 ERI Dispatch. However, in the proposed measures, tenure-track assistant professorships are given priority, at the expense of searching for differentiated solutions.

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