Administering with skill and mastering complex situations requires a broad range of knowledge. To acquire and develop this knowledge, the federal administration carries out research activities commonly known by the German name "Ressortforschung" or federal government research.
The advantages derived from this research consist not only of the possibility of implementing public policies based on facts and a solid appreciation of the risks involved, but also of the capacity to anticipate problems which will face Swiss society and of the skill of the state to act as an intelligent partner.
In view of the diversity of problems involving the state, the primary responsibility of research in government departments can only fall to those bodies which monitor social need: the various specialized offices. Only they are able to break down an issue into areas of research where answers can be found.
Responsibility for coordinating the activities rests with the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation SERI. It heads an interdepartmental coordination committee for federal government research whose members are drawn from the senior management teams of federal offices and agencies, the Swiss National Science Foundation, the Swiss Innovation Agency – Innosuisse, and the ETH Board.