Annual Report 2021


Ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues

Rektor Michael Schaepman


The 2021 Annual Report presents some of the past year’s highlights in research, innovation and teaching at UZH. These include the career prospects of junior researchers, research and innovation in the area of healthy longevity, and interdisciplinary learning at the School for Transdisciplinary Studies. Of course, the report also features the latest figures and financial information.

This year’s portraits show how UZH employees are applying their skills in practice. For example, by helping the police in their investigations, treating animals in the zoo, getting schoolchildren excited about science, or increasing the crop yield of agricultural plants. Services such as these benefit all of us in various areas of society.

Thank you for your commitment to, interest in and support for the University of Zurich in the past year.

Prof. Dr. Michael Schaepman, President of the University of Zurich

April 2022


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Detailed statistics on the website of the Finance Department (in German)

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Detailed statistics on the website of the Finance Department (in German)

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Detailed statistics on the website of the Finance Department (in German)

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Detailed statistics on the website of the Finance Department (in German)

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Detailed statistics on the website of the Finance Department (in German)

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Detailed statistics on the website of the Finance Department (in German)

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Detailed statistics on the website of the Finance Department (in German)

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Detailed statistics on the website of the Finance Department (in German)

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Detailed statistics on the website of the Finance Department (in German)

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Detailed statistics on the website of the Finance Department (in German)

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Detailed statistics on the website of the Finance Department (in German)

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Detailed statistics on the website of the Finance Department (in German)

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Detailed statistics on the website of the Finance Department (in German)


Paths in Academia

Elisabeth Stark

Elisabeth Stark wants to provide junior researchers at UZH with a wide range of career paths. The Vice President Research talks about good supervision, academic freedom for budding scholars, and the joy of being a researcher.
"Ich bin im Paradies aufgewachsen" (PDF, 212 KB)

Happiness in Old Age

Peter Bichsel

Everyone thinks they know what it means to be old. The Innovation Cluster Healthy Longevity led by gerontologist Mike Martin has the potential to transform our understanding of aging and health.
Gern alt sein (PDF, 245 KB)

Novel Anti-Tumor Therapy

Ana Montalban-Arques

Molecular biologist Ana Montalban-Arques wants to use gut bacteria to treat cancer. She is currently working on turning her groundbreaking discovery into a marketable drug.
Kapseln gegen Krebs (PDF, 229 KB)

Artificial Proteins against Covid

Andreas Plückthun

UZH spin-off Molecular Partners has developed an effective drug against Covid-19. Andreas Plückthun of the UZH Department of Biochemistry was involved from the very start.
UZH News: “We have created a stable active ingredient”

Linked-Up Thinking

Visual School of Transdisciplinary Studies

With its newly established School for Transdisciplinary Studies, UZH is encouraging students to venture across disciplinary boundaries. The Studium Digitale is one of the many diverse courses available. A student and an instructor talk about their experiences.
Das Denken vernetzen (PDF, 206 KB)

Ramping Up Research

Annelise Alig Anderhalden

The need for additional funding for research projects has been steadily growing. The UZH Foundation helps fill this financial gap. CEO Annelise Alig Anderhalden explains how she wants to achieve this goal.
Forschung befeuern (PDF, 287 KB)

High-Tech Lab Building Open

Laborgebäude UZI 5

The UZI 5 lab building is the latest addition to UZH’s Irchel Campus. It provides chemistry and sustainability researchers with the state-of-the-art infrastructure needed to maintain UZH’s excellent standing in research and teaching.
UZH Media: UZH-Spitzenforschung im Hightech-Laborgebäude

High Income, High Employability

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Graduates of the University of Zurich do very well on the Swiss job market, according to a recent study on the careers of UZH graduates.
UZH News: Hohe Einkommen, hohe Beschäftigung


Picture: Diana Ulrich

Generating Knowledge for Society

Jean-Michel Hatt

Aiding police investigations, treating animals in the zoo, getting primary school students excited about science, increasing crop yields of agricultural plants, advising federal policy-makers and making sure people get germ-free produce. The University’s employees bridge the gap between research and practice in many ways. Their services benefit all of us.

Pictured: Jean-Michel Hatt with camel Thari

Digitalization@Federal Palace

Florent Thouvenin

AI, disinformation, data protection, copyrights – legal scholar Florent Thouvenin regularly meets with members of the Swiss Parliament and high-ranking representatives of the federal administration to discuss digitalization. The expert can provide them with first-hand research knowledge.

Florent Thouvenin, professor of information and communications law, director of the Center for Information Technology, Society, and Law (ITSL) and member of the board of directors of the Digital Society Initiative (DSI) at UZH

View from Space

Claudia Röösli

Satellite images can provide new and different views of the world. Claudia Röösli advises Swiss authorities, businesses and individuals when it comes to analyzing satellite imagery, e.g. in environmental or sustainability matters. Images from satellites can be used to recognize vegetation near key infrastructure, e.g. railway lines.

Claudia Röösli, senior research and teaching assistant at the Department of Geography and head of the National Point of Contact for Satellite Images

High-Precision Diagnostics

Anita Rauch

Anita Rauch from the Institute of Medical Genetics advises patients during office hours. Her genetic analyses provide highly precise diagnoses and help determine the best treatment plan – for breast cancer patients or people trying to get pregnant, for example.

Anita Rauch, professor of medical genetics

Sustainable Soil

Marcel van der Heijden

Marcel van der Heijden helps farmers increase their crop yields, including through tiny fungi and other microorganisms introduced into the soil. Some of his research methods are rather unconventional: In a citizen science project, the biologist asked participants to bury their cotton underpants in the soil. The more decomposed the underpants are after two months, the healthier the soil.

Marcel van der Heijden, professor of agroecology and plant-microbiome interactions.

Exotic Birds, Narwhals et al.

Isabel Klusman

The Zoological Museum is as popular as ever. Every year, some 150,000 visitors marvel at the more than 1,500 exhibits – which include species that are very difficult to observe in the wild, such as exotic birds, the narwhal or the fennec fox. Isabel Klusman and her team also organize special exhibitions to provide new and fascinating insights into the animal kingdom.

Isabel Klusman, head of the Zoological Museum at UZH, pictured with a rare bird yet to be cataloged. The exhibit was a gift to the museum.

Soul Searcher

Simon Peng-Keller

Simon Peng-Keller used to be a healthcare chaplain working with critically ill patients at the UniversityHospital Zurich. He now teaches communication skills to aspiring professionals working in spiritual care and medicine to help them deal sensitively with existential and religious questions. The theologian also offers meditation courses that take participants on a spiritual inner journey.

Simon Peng-Keller, professor of spiritual care at UZH

Quality Media

Mark Eisenegger

For over a decade, UZH researchers have been observing and analyzing how digitalization is changing the Swiss media landscape, and how people use newspapers and online media. Their findings are published in the annual Quality of the Media Yearbook by the Research Center for the Public Sphere and Society (fög) headed up by Mark Eisenegger and an interdisciplinary team of 15 researchers.

Mark Eisenegger, director of the Research Center for the Public Sphere and Society (fög) and co-director of the Department of Communication and Media Research (IKMZ)

Understanding Finance

Alexander Wagner

Alexander Wagner teaches continuing education courses in finance that are specifically geared toward professionals and executives on a tight schedule. Sustainability, corporate responsibility and digitalization feature prominently in his courses.

Alexander F. Wagner, professor of finance

Safe Food

Roger Stephan

In addition to providing specialist microbiological food analyses in the lab, Roger Stephan also carries out operational audits. Working on site with businesses’ quality management teams, he aims to identify microbiological vulnerabilities in their operational practices.

Roger Stephan, professor of veterinary food safety and hygiene

More Light

Monika Dommann and Marietta Meier

More and more reports of sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church are surfacing. The historians Monika Dommann and Marietta Meier and their team are investigating such cases, from the 1950s until the present. They want to shed light on this dark page of history and examine the background and context of events.

Monika Dommann and Marietta Meier, professors of modern history

Traveler Health

Claudia Specogna and Julian Maier

Healthy traveling abroad: Julian Maier and Claudia Specogna from the Travel Clinic provide travelers with advice on vaccinations – taking into account the travelers’ individual medical needs and travel destination. Over 20,000 visitors have called on the clinic’s services each year since 1988.

Claudia Specogna and Julian Maier, Travel Clinic

Healthy Reptiles

Jean-Michel Hatt

Pia Maria and Hermania have to part with some of their blood. Jean-Michel Hatt regularly examines the two Aldabra giant tortoises for diseases. The veterinarian also looks after many other animals at Zurich Zoo and makes sure they’re in good health.

Jean-Michel Hatt, director of the Clinic for Zoo Animals, Exotic Pets and Wildlife at the Vetsuisse Faculty

Appetite for Research

Milena Perraudin and Reik Leiterer

Reik Leiterer and Milena Perraudin want to get children excited about science. To spark the kids’ curiosity and fuel their appetite for research, the pair also visits them in the classroom, as pictured here in Luchswiesen primary school in Zurich. The Children’s University on Tour project has proven very popular – among pupils and school management alike.

Milena Perraudin and Reik Leiterer, Science Lab UZH and Children’s University of Zurich

CSI Zurich

Staff of the Institute of Forensic Medicine

Staff at the Institute of Forensic Medicine help the Zurich Cantonal Police solve difficult cases. Forensic nurse Valeria Kägi (center) interviews the victim of a crime, while Vasiliki Chatzaraki (right) documents his wounds. The 3D full-body scanner can generate high-definition images that enable Urs Eggli from the Zurich Cantonal Police to determine the sequence of events leading up to the crime.

Institute of Forensic Medicine; the personalized 3D full-body scanner uses 70 sensors/reflex cameras to produce detailed, high-precision images.

Mobile Dental Clinic

Murali Srinivasan

More and more older people require geriatric dental care. The Clinic of General, Special Care and Geriatric Dentistry at UZH can meet this need. In addition to comprehensive treatments in the clinic, Murali Srinivasan also oversees a mobile dental clinic that provides dental care for residents of nursing homes and other assisted living facilities.

Murali Srinivasan, director of the Clinic of General, Special Care and Geriatric Dentistry