The Confederation's education, research and innovation policy for 2021-2024 is aligned with the Federal Council's 2019-2023 legislative agenda. This agenda includes the following ERI policy objective: ‘Switzerland shall remain a leader in education, research and innovation and fully exploit the opportunities of digitalisation.’
Taking into account the federal responsibilities in the ERI sector, the Confederation is pursuing these objectives through its ERI policy for 2021-2024:
Vocational education and training will continue to open up appealing entry and career opportunities on the labour market.
Together with the cantons and the private sector, the Confederation supports the training of skilled workers. It funds innovative projects aimed at aligning vocational education and training with the needs of the digital transformation and lifelong learning. To develop the potential of skilled workers in Switzerland, and in particular of older workers, targeted measures such as career counselling for people aged 40 and over and more consistent recognition of non-formal and informal prior learning are being implemented and funded.
The Confederation is committed to increasing participation in continuing education and training.
Together with the cantons, the Confederation subsidises courses intended to help adults to acquire basic skills, particularly in the areas of language, information and communication technology and everyday mathematics. It also provides direct support for continuing education and training that helps workers keep pace with the essential requirements of the labour market and technological progress.
ERI policy is crafted in a way that allows stakeholders to manage and shape the digital transformation.
The Confederation shall continue to support the development of digital skills in the ERI sector, as initiated with the ‘Digitalisation Action Plan’. To this end, it is intensifying coordination between the Confederation and the cantons. It also supports the acquisition of digital skills and research capacities in strategic areas such as artificial intelligence, Industry 4.0 and cyber security.
Swiss universities offer top performance in the interests of science, the economy and society.
The Confederation mandates ETH Domain institutions to play a leading role as drivers of innovation through excellence in teaching and research as well as knowledge transfer. It provides funding to cantonal universities and universities of applied sciences in support of teaching and research, in the training of junior staff. Through the joint cantonal-federal body, the Swiss Conference of Higher Education Institutions, the Confederation helps to sharpen the profiles of individual types of higher education institution and coordinate activities in particularly cost-intensive areas.
Federal funding agencies support research and innovation at the highest level.
Through the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and Innosuisse, the Confederation awards grants on a competitive basis. The SNSF focuses on independent fundamental research and support for young researchers, while Innosuisse focuses on applied research in science and industry.
ERI policy encourages sustainable development and equal opportunities in all areas.
In doing so, Switzerland also contributes to implementation of the UN's Agenda 2030 and thus furthers the aims of the Sustainable Development Strategy 2030.