• 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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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    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).


Critical review of scientific policy advice in the Swiss Federal Administration and Politics (executive branch)


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The Confederation has a wide range of internal and external scientific policy advice at its disposal. In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the question arises to what extent existing structures are used in crises and how well equipped the current system is to deal with such crises. The aim of the critical review is to describe the range of existing scientific policy advice mechanisms and to formulate recommendations so that politicians, public administration and the science community are best prepared for future crisis situations and scientific expertise can be applied appropriately and efficiently in crises. In order to limit the scope of the review, the study will focus on the scientific advisory structures in Swiss federal policy. These include extra-parliamentary committees, departmental research units in the Federal Administration, ad hoc expert panels, private providers of research services and the COVID-19 Science Task Force.
The study's authors are Céline Mavrot (University of Lausanne), Caspar Hirschi (University of St Gallen) and Fritz Sager (University of Bern).

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)