News 2016

Europe Dec 21, 2016

Way open for research in Horizon 2020

The Federal Council ratified the protocol that extends the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons to Croatia on 16 December. Switzerland will thus regain the status of Fully Associated Country to the EU Framework Programme Horizon 2020 from January 2017, in which researchers and host institutions based in Switzerland can again participate to the same extent as those based in EU Member States.

SERI website
Information of the EU Commission

Europe Dec 14, 2016

Robust contribution to scientific policy advice in Europe

The project "Science Advice for Policy by European Academies" was launched in Brussels by the presidents of the European academy networks that make up the project consortium and Robert-Jan Smits, Director-General for Research and Innovation. With Horizon 2020 funding, the project aims to improve EU policy making by delivering timely, independent and trans-disciplinary scientific evidence via the Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM). The project combines more than 100 academies in over 40 European countries, organised in five umbrella organisations that span all scientific disciplines, among them ALLEA (All European Academies) and EASAC (European Academies Science Advisory Council). As a member of both, the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences bolster the Scientific Advice Mechanism by nominating scientific experts and through their former president Thierry Courvoisier as EASAC-President (2017-19).

Website of the Scientific Advice Mechanism 

NETWORK Dec 9, 2016

Strong representation of the Academies at Innosuisse

The Federal Council appointed André Kudelski, Martina Hirayama and Nicola Thibaudeau, who are all members of the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences SATW, to the Innosuisse Board. From 1 January 2018, Innosuisse will take over the functions of the current Commission for Technology and Innovation CTI, the federal agency concerned with promoting science-based innovation.

Media release

Publication Dec 8, 2016

Circular economy: supply of critical materials and indicators

Two reports of the Academies Science Advisory Council deal with the aspects of "critical materials" in and "indicators" of a circular economy that aims to overcome the throw-away economy.

"Critical materials" are materials of great importance for different industries, but ones that could become scarce in future. One report therefore assesses in how far the supply of critical materials could be increased and their recycling rates be improved. The other report analyses the possibilities to measure the evolution towards a circular economy with relevant indicators. The Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences support the scientific policy advisory work of EASAC in the programme areas biosciences, energy and environment by delegating scientists to working groups, in the present case Gunter Stephan, professor at the Department of Economics and the Oeschger Center for Climate Change Research of the University of Bern.

EASAC publications

NETWORK Dec 2, 2016

Delegate of the Academies chairs Ticino University Council

Monica Duca Widmer has been elected President of the University Council of the Università della Svizzera italiana USI.



24 windows into the Academies

Starting December 1st, you can open a new window every day and have a glance at themes and topics of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences and its two competence centres.

Advent calendar


Academies call for stricter climate policy after 2020

The strategic guideline set out by the Federal Council for the climate policy after 2020 goes in principle in the right direction, the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences comment in their statement. However, it is not sufficient to achieve the long-term reduction targets in accordance with the international agreements. The measures should be designed more consistently to achieve these objectives. The Academies are critical of the accession to the EU emissions trading system: The quantity of allowances issued by the EU is considered far too high and not consistent with the objectives pursued. Furthermore, they recommend to increase the reduction target from 30 to 40% in order for the long-term zero-emission target to not require an enormous effort later.

Media release (German)
Statement (German)

EVENT Nov 30, 2016

Deadly Wartime Weather 1916: Findings from extreme weather conditions

In the middle of the First World War, one of the most momentous weather events happened in the Southern Alps. Heavy snowfalls released a range of avalanches to which thousands of soldiers fell victim. One hundred years after the tragic event, Prof. Stefan Brönnimann and Prof. Christian Rohr present the main results of their interdisciplinary investigation, which they will then discuss with the audience at the House of Academies.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016, 12.15 - 13.00 hrs, Cantina, Haus der Akademien, Laupenstrasse 7, Bern

Programme and flyer (German)

STATEMENT Nov 29, 2016

Partial revision of the hunting law: the arguments of the Academies

The Academies submitted their comments on the partial revision of the hunting law. They clearly reject the change of allocation of competencies with respect to the regulation of protected species and recommend the existing principles. Besides, from the population biology perspective, endangered and/or national priority species should not be hunted. However, the Academies welcome the fact that the term no-hunting zone is replaced by wildlife refuge. The Academies consider it important that areas where wild animals can be more or less undisturbed by human activity exist also in densely populated and used Switzerland.

Comprehensive summary (German)
Full statement (German)

PUBLICATION Nov 15, 2016

Biodiversity and humanities

The current issue of the magazine HOTSPOT "Biodiversity in the humanities" shows how mental, cultural, historical and sociological phenomena influence our thinking and actions and how a cooperation between humanities and natural sciences can open up new pespectives. Because the understanding and interpreting of human behaviour are essential for the shaping of our natural environment. That is why the contribution of the humanities is crucial in today’s society. Researchers in the humanities and social sciences help to provide fresh impetus to the efforts to maintain and promote biodiversity.

The magazine is available in PDF format or can be obtained from the Biodiversity Forum:

FUTURE DAY Nov 10, 2016

Children are the scientists of tomorrow

During today’s National Future Day, three children are guests at the House of Academies. They become acquainted with the different academies in the house. And they practice everyday life of scientists: listening, asking questions, thinking, analysing, writing, organising meetings and billing expenses.

Future Day at the House of Academies (German)
Link "National Future Day" (German)


"Focus Climate Switzerland"

Today 75 climate researchers and experts as well as 40 evaluators present the Swiss Climate Report to the public. Under the leadership of ProClim, the forum for climate and global environmental changes of the Swiss Academy of Natural Sciences (SCNAT), the network compiled robust statements on the current status of climate change in Switzerland, on the consequences and, for the first time, outlines scientifically founded courses of action.

Download report "Focus climate Switzerland" (German)
Media release (German)

Event Oct 19, 2016

Is the Swiss research arena located in Europe?

Champions League or amateur football? What happens to the Swiss research arena if no bilateral agreement is found with the EU? This would affect particularly severely the younger generations and programmes such as Horizon 2020, since international mobility and cooperation are the essential basis of academic success. In a panel discussion emerging researchers and experienced players from research, research funding and industry will discuss urgent needs and latest developments.
26 October, 18:30 to 20:00h, Kuppelsaal, main building of the University of Bern.

Further information "Is the Swiss research arena located in Europe?"

Network Oct 17, 2016

Universities for innovative Switzerland

The new blog from and for the universities has gone online. demonstrates the importance of the international agreements for education and research. AdValue will give a stronger voice to the universities.

Open Access Oct 5, 2016

Open Access strategy for journals and series

The Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences (SAHS) adopted a new Open Access strategy for journals and series which it supports. It thus reaffirms its intention to promote the free unrestricted access to research results and to increase the dissemination and visibility of published research results. The strategy’s core is the implementation of the Green Open Access as standard for the access to scientific information by 2019.

Further information

SURVEY Sep 29, 2016

Do you want made-to-measure human beings?

The results of a survey of 461 participants show: 59 of respondents agree to an intervention that would remove a potentially disease-associated gene from the genome of their unborn child. "To me, everything else is neglected support", a 30-year-old man argued.

The non-representative online survey also addresses digitalisation, automation and autonomous weapon systems and reflects a public opinion.

Go to public opinion

PRIX MÉDIA 2016 Sep 23, 2016

Voices in the head and interest ties of Swiss universities

The media prizes of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences were presented at the Swiss Media Forum in Lucerne today. The winner of the Prix Média 2016 is Lison Méric, RTS, for her TV report about hearing voices. The Prix Média Newcomer 2016 went to Julian Schmidli and Timo Grossenbacher of the "SRF Data" team. They systematically researched the, partly problematic, interest ties of Swiss universities. The prizes are endowed with CHF 10,000.
In addition, four projects received a Media Promotion Prize for research on scientific topics.

Media release (German)
Prix Média

Media release Aug 23, 2016

Ozone and summer smog: climate change endangers today's achievements

The ozone content in the surrounding air has decreased only little despite successful air pollution control measures. Summer smog therefore still harms human health. Climate change will probably result in hot summers such as 2003 and 2015 occurring more often and again aggravate the ozone problem, as the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences write in a new Factsheet.

Media release (German, French)
Factsheet (German, French)

Media release Aug 18, 2016

Adapt regulation to current state of knowledge

New techniques significantly enlarge the possibilities in plant breeding and can therefore contribute to a more sustainable and economic agriculture in Switzerland. With these new techniques, the genome of plants are modified in precisely such a way as it would also be possible naturally. This usually does not leave behind any foreign genetic material. The question remains whether plants that have been bred that way fall under the genetic engineering law. From a scientific point of view, there was no reason for a more strict regulation than with conventional breeding, according to the authors of a Factsheet published by the Forum for Genetic Research of the Swiss Academy of Sciences.

Further information and media release (German)

Factsheet (German) (pdf, 478.8 KB)

Event Aug 18, 2016

Implementing Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Swiss Commission for Research Partnerships with Developing Countries (KFPE) are jointly organising a 2nd Research Fair on 9 November 2016. The fair taking place at SDC Headquarters in Bern provides an opportunity for exchange and dialogue between science, policy, and practice on the implementation of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. Registration by 2 November.

More information and registration

Conference Aug 16, 2016

Politics and digitalisation in science communication

The national annual science communication congress ScienceComm'16 takes place on 22-23 September in the Salle des Quais in Grandson nahe Yverdon-Les-Bains. The much noted event by the Foundation Science et Cité for dialogue between science and society this time focuses on the topics politics and digitalisation. Registration is still possible until  12 September.

All information at

International Jul 25, 2016

Grave concern over the situation of the higher education sector in Turkey

The Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences firmly condemn the sweeping actions taken against thousands of persons in the higher education sector since the attempted coup on 15 July. This concerns the forced resignation of all university deans, the cancellation of teachers' licences, the travel ban for all academics in Turkey and the call to Turkish academics abroad to return.

The Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences therefore support the statement of the All European Academies (ALLEA) that urges the Turkish Government to safeguard the principles of academic freedom at the individual and institutional level. The Swiss Academies thereby stand in solidarity with all colleagues and their sister academies in Turkey.

ALLEA Statement

International Jul 25, 2016

The Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences support the campaign «Science Is Global»

Many of today’s challenges are global ones and must be solved jointly by several nations. This requires an international exchange between scientists and hence no unnecessary barriers to this mobility. 
Together with more than 30 organisations from 24 countries the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences support the campaign «Science Is Global» for international research collaboration.
To illustrate the importance of collaboration, research laboratories are invited to twitter a photo of their team members indicating their origins under #scienceisglobal

Further information and video

Media release May 23, 2016

Greater transparency in the commodity sector

If policymakers wish to create rules for a sustainable commodity sector, they must first ensure transparency and close knowledge gaps. This is the conclusion of 15 researchers after analysing the available research literature. They summarised their findings in the factsheet «Making the Commodity Sector Work for Developing Countries» of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences.

Media release (pdf, in German)
Factsheet (pdf, in German)

Press release Apr 22, 2016

Claudia Appenzeller appointed new Managing Director of Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences

The Board of Directors appointed Claudia Appenzeller-Winterberger Managing Director of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences. She will take up her new duties on 25 April 2016.

As generalist with great fascination for the interplay between science, public management and communication, Claudia Appenzeller will promote a more intensive and multidisciplinary cooperation of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences in order to establish a solid foundation that allows meeting new challenges. This will include the dialogue with society, which represents a particularly important concern to her.

Media release (pdf, in German)

Prix Média Mar 31, 2016

Call: Prix Média and Media Promotion Prizes

The Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences encourage dialogue between science and society. With the Prix Média and the Prix Média Newcomer which are annually awarded for a scientific media product and endowed with 5,000 Swiss Francs each, the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences want to honour and promote journalistic work.
At the same time, Media Promotion Prizes are awarded to honour relevance and originality of planned science journalism projects. For this purpose 30,000 Swiss Francs are available per year. The call for each category of prizes is now open until 15 May 2016.
Further information

Press Release Mar 22, 2016

Rectifying discrepancy between ambitious goals and decline in financial resources

In February 2016 the Federal Council submitted the Dispatch on the Promotion of Education, Research and Innovation for the years 2017-2020 (ERI dispatch) to the Swiss Parliament. Its necessary key areas are the promotion of young scientists, increasing the number of graduates in medical studies, new fields of research and the strengthening of higher education. However, there is a great discrepancy between the ambitious goals of the government and the decline in financial resources. In order to rectify this discrepancy, the Swiss universities and research institutions find themselves forced to request for increases and corrections in the ERI dispatch 2017-2020.

Publication Mar 18, 2016

Gottfried Schatz: From Little Science to Big Science

The number of researchers doubles every ten to fifteen years. In his manuscript, Gottfried Schatz highlights the problems which growth creates for science – too many researchers compete for insufficient resources. Moreover, for a successful research career, today speed sometimes seems more important than quality. He explains the difference between knowledge and science and the reason why less knowledge and more science should be taught in our kindergartens, schools and universities.

Gottfried Schatz passed away on 1 October 2015. He was unable to give his keynote lecture at the Swiss annual congress of science communication in person, but he provided his manuscript to be distributed at the conference, which is published in the series ‹Swiss Academies Communications›.

Download the publication

Publication Mar 18, 2016

Career situation of young female scientists

More women study at Swiss universities than men. In 2013 already 43% of university assistants were women. It therefore seems incomprehensible that despite all efforts the percentage of women holding professorships is barely over 20%.
How do young female scientists in Switzerland perceive their career opportunities? The Working Group «Gender» of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences publishes a corresponding report, written by Patricia Felber. The report includes the «Recommendations for gender-adequate academic career paths» of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences.

Download the publication (pdf, in German)

Statement Mar 9, 2016

A fair, modern copyright act for everyone

The Federal Council's proposal for the revision of the Copyright Act (CopA) meets the needs of modern digital methods in the field of science. However, the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences do not support the linking to a payment obligation, since the contents of the information used have already been subsidised numerous times by public funds. Furthermore, it is time to provide a legal basis for the second publication right of scientific texts in journals and collected editions in order to facilitate free access (Open Access) to this knowledge.

Download of the statement (pdf, in German)

Conference Mar 8, 2016

ScienceComm'16: call for abstracts

The call for abstracts for the congress ScienceComm'16 is open from now until 1 April. All those who would like to actively contribute to the shaping of the congress on 22/23 September 2016, are cordially invited to submit an abstract online. This year's subjects include: politics and science communication as well as science communication and digitalisation. 

This year, the congress will be held at Lake of Neuchâtel in Grandson (Yverdon-les-Bains).

Further information

Mar 3, 2016

The Humanities’ contribution to value creation

The website summarises what the humanities contribute to the creation of value and social well-being. The SAHS is thus responding to the critisism against the humanities. 18 questions and answers illustrate why we need the humanities for the solution of social problems as well as for a stronger economy.

STATEMENT Feb 26, 2016

Adoption of enforcement initiative would have serious negative consequences for Swiss education, research and innovation community

As a result of the adoption of the mass immigration initiative, Switzerland is only partly associated with the European Research Framework Programme. An adoption of the enforcement initiative in this situation would be devastating and would have negative effects on the economic development of Switzerland in the long term.

Download of the statement (pdf, in German, in French)

Statement Feb 26, 2016

Ambitious reforms despite strong decline in financial resources – this discrepancy jeopardises the future of Switzerland's leading position as knowledge and industrial centre

The Swiss universities and research institutions have taken note with concern of the Dispatch on the Promotion of Education, Research and Innovation for the years 2017-2020 (ERI dispatch), which the Federal Council has submitted to the Swiss Parliament. The Federal Council is adhering in a positive sense to the necessary key projects in favour of young scientists, medical studies, new fields of research and the strengthening of higher education. At the same time, however, the Federal Council announces a strong decline in financial resources available to the ERI sector. This discrepancy puts Switzerland's leading position in the fields of education, research and innovation into jeopardy at a time when Switzerland is at risk of losing its access to the European research programme.

Download of the statement (pdf, in German, in French)

Publication Feb 19, 2016

Switzerland and the Commodities Trade

Switzerland has recently emerged as one of the world's most important hubs in the global trade of commodities. But its rise has been accompanied by concerns about transparency, appropriate regulation, and risks to resource-exporting developing countries.

Download the publication

Open Access Feb 17, 2016

Moving Forwards on Open Access

The Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences have signed the statement of the League of European Research Universities (LERU) «Moving Forwards on Open Access». The statement calls upon the European Commission under the Dutch Presidency 2016 to find solutions that allow Open Access to research results. The objective is among others that universities and libraries no longer have to pay twice for the same content and to enable them to settle subscription costs for journals with fees for the publication of an article in Gold Open Access.

See LERU Statement

Publication Feb 17, 2016

In search of the whole in medicine – the contribution of philosophy

What are the differences between the medical and the everyday understanding of health and disease? What consequences do the different views have for the prevention and the treatment of disease? Sibylle Obrecht Lösch summarises the results of the Workshops Medical Humanities IV and reflects the interdisciplinary experiences in view of a further development of the Medical Humanities.

Download the publication

MANIFESTO Feb 8, 2016

Universities concerned about future of education and research in Switzerland

Two years after the adoption of the mass immigration initiative, the Swiss universities warn of the consequences of the enforcement initiative and publish a joint manifesto on the position of Swiss education and research. Not only education and research are at stake, but also Swiss economy and prosperity.

Position statement Feb 2, 2016

No stabilisation programme at the expense of the future of the industrial leading position and of young talents

Thanks to the high priority of promoting research and education over the past eight years, Switzerland barely managed to retain its leading position in a growing global competition. Unfortunately, the saving rate suggested by the Federal Council at the expense of Switzerland’s education, research and innovation is going to primarily hit young talents, namely students and academic mid-level faculty.

Position statement (pdf in German, in French)

Publication Jan 25, 2016

White paper: Big data in health care

The digitalisation of health care and the growing trend towards recording personal health and activity data create opportunities as well as risks for health care, the life sciences industry and individuals.

Download the publication

Abonnieren Sie den Email-Newsletter.


Research magazine «Horizons»

Current edition
Subscribe to «Horizons»

Humanities and Social Sciences

Latest news by SAHS

Medical sciences

Latest news by SAMS

Technical sciences

Latest news by SATW

Dialog Science and Society

Latest news by Science et Cité

Technology assessment

Latest news by TA-SWISS

Members of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences

Centres of Excellence

Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences
House of Academies
Laupenstrasse 7
P.O. Box
3001 Bern

Phone +41 (0)31 306 92 20