• Working Programme

The Swiss Science Council SSC is the advisory body of the Federal Council for issues related to science, higher education, research and innovation policy. It formulates a working programme for each legislative period, in coordination with the agenda of the political authorities. In addition to setting its own priorities, the Council retains the flexibility to respond to demands from the Federal Council. 

The working programme 2020-2023

Lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic
Crises disrupt all aspects of life, yet a functioning system of education, research and innovation is essential for dealing with emergencies. The SSC strives to create the conditions necessary for Switzerland to develop, maintain and make optimal use of the scientific competencies that should enable it to cope with future crises.
Work status

Appropriate size and organisation of the Swiss ERI system
On the one hand, the tasks and objectives of the education, research and innovation system must correspond to the needs of Swiss society and economy. On the other hand, Swiss researchers, graduates and scientific institutions must remain competitive at an international level. The SSC highlights the benefits and disadvantages of the Swiss science system, characterised by its size and its degree of international integration.
Work status

Education, research and innovation in a digital society
Different abilities to use and benefit from new technologies, as well as unequal access to digital infrastructures, can lead to a digital divide. Inequality of opportunity threatens education, research and innovation. The SSC contributes to analysing the most important competences and abilities needed to thrive in a digital society.
Work status

The evaluations, assessments and positions mandated to the SSC are closely linked to the priorities that the Council has set for itself. In particular, the following work is planned for the upcoming legislature:

  • Institutional evaluation of the Swiss National Science Foundation.
    Work status
    Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) general evaluation
    The Confederation continuously reviews its funding policy in the area of education, research and innovation in order to further develop the ERI system. To this end, SERI commissioned the SSC to conduct a general evaluation of the SNSF as an insitution and to shed light on its role in the national ERI system against the backdrop of the newly created Swiss Higher Education Area. The evaluation focuses in particular on the SNSF's funding portfolio, the function and impact of the SNSF's funding policy in the Swiss ERI system, its central funding instruments and how these are to be developed going forward. It also looks at the SNSF's interfaces and cooperation with Innosuisse.
    The evaluation's main components are the SNSF's general report (self-evaluation), four in-depth studies by the SSC and the report by an international panel of experts. 

    Report (PDF, 9.8 MB): Introduction, main findings and evaluation by the SSC in German and French. Report by the international panel of experts in English
    Annexe I - IV (PDF, 7.3 MB)
    Annexe V - VIII (PDF, 7 MB)
    Annexe IX - XIII (PDF, 3.8 MB)

  • Evaluation of applications 2025–2028 of research facilities of national importance (in accordance with Art. 15 of the Research and Innovation Promotion Act).
    Work status
    Developing a new framework to assess research facilities of national importance

    Under Article 15 RIPA, the Federal Council supports research facilities of national importance. Every four years, SERI requires the SSC to assess funding applications (SSC report for the 2021–24 funding period (de)). There are two main challenges involved in the assessment process. Firstly, the research facilities that are assessed are very heterogeneous in terms of size, aims, activities and professional orientation. Secondly, applications are becoming more complex, the number of applications is increasing and the federal government's austerity measures are making the financial environment increasingly unfavourable. The SSC has therefore decided to draw up a new framework for assessing applications for the 2025–28 ERI period. To this end, it has set up an internal working group to develop a framework that will be individually designed for the three funding categories defined in the law, i.e. for research infrastructures, research institutes and centres of technological excellence. The new draft framework will be tested in the assessment starting in autumn 2023, and will be reviewed and adapted as required once the assessment is completed in 2024.


2025–28 ERI Dispatch

In the Dispatch on the Promotion of Education, Research and Innovation (ERI Dispatch), the Federal Council formulates the objectives, measures and funding for the ERI sector for a four-year period. As it takes a systemic perspective, the recommendations the SSC makes for each ERI dispatch are among its most important tasks in any given period.

Work status

The process for the 2025–28 ERI Dispatch (de, fr) has begun earlier than usual for the ERI stakeholders, because for the first time an optional consultation is planned. This is conducted between June and September 2023.

Based on its analyses in the ongoing Working Programme, in June 2022 the SSC already drew up recommendations on selected topics and submitted them to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI). The recommendations (unpublished) concerned Switzerland-EU relations, the gap in the value chain, incentives for innovative research at universities of applied sciences, academic and non-academic career prospects for postdocs, the acceptance of crisis measures, the role of digitalisation in upper secondary education and quantum technologies.

In October 2022, the SSC discussed the Council's recommendations with State Secretary Martina Hirayama, and in November 2022, SSC president Sabine Süsstrunk presented them to Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin.

The SSC uses the consultation in summer 2023 to present its view on major changes and highlight key priorities. It will also look at recent analyses of various topics, including mission-oriented research and innovation and on the role of the sciences in policy advice. Finally, the Council will give its opinion on the financial outlook presented by the Federal Council in its draft dispatch.






The following principles guide the work of the Council:

Ensuring a higher education, research and innovation landscape that is equipped for the future.

Strengthening the resistance to disruptive developments of the ERI system, society and economy.

Equal opportunities
Making education accessible to all as a basic democratic principle and ensuring its diversity.

Data security
Handling data of and about the public in a responsible and transparent manner.

Working Programme 2020–2023
January 2021

Download (PDF, 2 MB)


Der SWR in Kürze / le CSS en bref (Flyer zum Arbeitsprogramm / flyer du programme de travail; D/F)