ETH Zurich plans to strengthen its prominent position.

“If we are to remain a driving force making a vital contribution to Switzerland and its innovative capacity, as well as maintaining our international reputation for excellence, we must invest more in high-calibre talents,” ETH President Lino Guzzella said at a faculty retreat in Lucerne.

The university plans to establish “many new professorships” in cutting-edge disciplines. “Whether than requires 80, 120 or more additional posts is only a secondary consideration,” Guzzella said in a statement.

Specific focus should be on the interfaces between the different disciplines, as well as improving the ratio between professors and students/doctoral research assistants. ETH Zurich currently has some 500 professors.

In an interview with the Sunday newspaper “NZZ am Sonntag”, Guzella said that the goal of the new initiative “ETH plus” is to make ETH Zurich “fit for the next decades”. The existing focus on big data, health sciences, energy and sustainability should be deepened, and others should be added. 

Although ETH Zurich is looking at what other universities around the world are doing, it does not intend to copy them. “We want to remain at the top and set new trends.”  

According to “NZZ am Sonntag”, ETH Zurich anticipates costs of 550 million Swiss francs for 2017 to 2024, with a total budget of 14 billion francs. It plans to raise these funds primarily from its reserves of 400 million francs. In addition, existing teams will be reduced in size, while incentives to attract more external funding will be pursued.

“This approach should allow us to remain competitive in attracting top international talents,” added Guzzella.

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