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Strategic Principles

A Compass for UZH

The University of Zurich is the largest and most diverse university in Switzerland, with 26,000 students from all over the world and 9,000 employees in a variety of roles and disciplines. This diversity is one of the University of Zurich’s defining characteristics, and also one of its main strengths. For the different perspectives and subject areas to coexist, however, there must be a reliable “compass” that can show the way when it comes to answering fundamental questions.

Ten Principles

The below Strategic Principles were approved by the Board of the University on 30 September 2019. They consist of 10 points that sum up the central ideas and values with which UZH identifies. The principles complement UZH’s mission statement by focusing on areas that are particularly significant from a strategic viewpoint.

1. Research and Innovation

UZH is part of the international research community, in which it plays a leading role. We facilitate and foster excellent research that refines and develops our existing fields and opens up promising and innovative research approaches. In doing so, UZH is committed to embracing diverse and equal research cultures, inter- and transdisciplinarity, independent and free research as well as close national and international cooperation. Our professorial appointments are based on these standards.

UZH’s research is focused on achieving outstanding quality through successful research work that is long-term, sustainable and innovative. These achievements range from developments in basic research to innovations from which society, business and politics can benefit.

2. Teaching and Learning

UZH’s degree programs enable students to gain a comprehensive and sound academic education; our teaching is of high didactic quality, grounded in research and oriented toward the acquisition of skills at all academic levels. UZH encourages students and staff to be curious, intellectually flexible and to develop a thirst for lifelong learning. We also expect our students to demonstrate a high degree of initiative and commitment. Students at UZH are supported to be responsible members of society and prepared for a variety of professional careers.

The quality of teaching and studying at UZH is evaluated on a regular basis and suitable measures are taken to continuously improve teaching quality. We aim to be inclusive and foster an open dialogue.

At UZH, we believe higher education should be accessible. We make information about studying at UZH available in a clear and barrier-free manner, and, where appropriate, in several languages. We provide an environment that supports the compatibility of studies, work and family life, and offer advice and support to students; we also encourage our students to gain international experience and engage in extracurricular activities.

3. Equal Opportunities, Diversity and Sustainability

Equal opportunities, diversity and sustainability are core values of university life and the responsibility of all organizational units and members of UZH. The University of Zurich commits itself to implementing the relevant policies and recommendations in an effective and efficient manner.

In particular, this includes embracing forms of organization that are in line with the core values of UZH and maintaining ethical standards and cultural values. We recognize and reaffirm social justice for individuals and groups – taking into account the current needs of society as well as those of future generations.

4. Academic Career Development

UZH supports junior academics at all stages of their careers. We encourage students to become familiar with research and teaching processes at an early stage, and provide the best possible conditions to enable our students and scholars to complete academic qualification work efficiently and to a high scholarly level. The relevant ordinances and regulations are in line with professional academic standards. UZH supports junior scholars in assuming responsibility for their own careers, and makes sure that dependencies on supervisors do not have any negative consequences for their development.

UZH also facilitates and promotes diverse academic career paths and takes into account equal opportunities and compatibility with skill profiles, family responsibilities and different life stages. This includes providing challenging and rewarding academic career options that do not necessarily follow the traditional professorship pathway.

5. Organizational Culture and Staff Development

At UZH, a balance is struck between leadership and participation. Leaders and managers at UZH fulfill their leadership responsibilities by taking strategically sound decisions and ensuring that they are implemented.

We embrace a motivating approach and a participatory culture of mutual appreciation. Members of UZH, in particular those in leadership and managerial roles, foster respectful communication and cultivate a constructive practice of giving feedback. In so doing, we facilitate non-discriminatory participation and create a climate of loyalty and solidarity that welcomes new ideas and constructive discussions.

UZH takes suitable measures in all areas to improve working conditions on an ongoing basis. In particular, we support our employees in acquiring skills that will equip them for the future. Our staff development takes into account UZH’s goals and the professional qualifications and personal development of its staff in equal measure. UZH avoids all forms of discrimination in hiring and promotion processes.

6. Cooperation with Third Parties and Internationalization

UZH maintains strategic partnerships and cooperates with leading research and education institutions. UZH has positioned itself as a successful institution on the international stage, and attracts researchers and students with its research, academic career development, teaching and studying opportunities. As Switzerland’s largest comprehensive university, UZH plays a key role in shaping the Swiss higher education sector and maintains close ties to strategically significant local partners, in particular ETH Zurich, the universities of teacher education and the universities of applied sciences. At an international, national and regional level, UZH aims to achieve the right balance of collaboration, coordination and competition.

UZH also maintains partnerships with stakeholders from the general public, politics and the private sector. Here, we understand our role as that of an expert organization fostering scholarly reflection, innovation and active knowledge transfer. We draw up initiatives to promote the knowledge transfer skills of our members.

UZH is committed to high ethical standards in all its dealings with third parties.

7. Academic Medicine Zurich (UMZH) and One Health

UZH is committed to ensuring excellent medical and health care for the public through its research and teaching. We are developing the medicine of the future in close cooperation with our Academic Medicine Zurich (UMZH) partner institutions (University Hospital Zurich, University Children's Hospital Zurich, Balgrist University Hospital, University Hospital of Psychiatry Zurich and ETH Zurich), our partner and teaching hospitals, as well as through the teaching practices of the Faculty of Medicine.

UZH follows the transdisciplinary One Health approach, which adopts a holistic view of the health of humans, animals and ecosystems. All faculties contribute to this approach, since the notion of health covers not only physical but also psychological, social and other aspects, and requires the involvement of all areas of society.

8. University and Society

UZH is an active participant in a vibrant, pluralistic society. We embrace and encourage cooperation between academia and all areas of social life, namely civil society, politics, business and culture. We shape the public discourse in particular by sharing our research findings. In the process, we address socially relevant topics and confront the social, cultural, economic and ecological challenges of the present.

UZH raises society’s awareness that diverse, free academic research and teaching are an important part of maintaining and developing a democratic, constitutional society that is committed to fundamental rights and international cooperation. The same applies to the complex cultural principles underpinning society.

9. Infrastructure and Administration

UZH provides efficient infrastructure and administrative conditions that meet high international quality standards for research and innovation as well as for teaching and learning. Our site development strategy takes into account the needs of the departments, institutes, faculties, Central Services units and representative bodies at UZH in close cooperation with the relevant partners. Technology platforms, libraries and digital services provide broad access to information and state-of-the-art technology. This benefits research, teaching and innovation, and reduces the workload required for administrative tasks.

10. Finances

In accordance with its founding principles, UZH views itself as an institution established “by the will of the people”. We are aware that public funding is a vital component of free research and teaching, recognizing our particular responsibility to use resources in a targeted, economical and sustainable way.

In addition, UZH seeks to diversify its financial base by acquiring competitive third-party funding and strengthening the UZH Foundation. Here, too, the protection of academic freedom and the responsible handling of resources are a matter of course.

When raising third-party funds, UZH maintains its full autonomy. Moreover, we ensure transparency with regard to the source and intended use of third-party funds. Information about UZH’s sources of funding, any conditions attached to the awarding of third-party funds as well as any outside professorial activities and interests is disclosed to the public.

Weiterführende Informationen

Strategic Principles (Cover)

Strategic Principles

The Strategic Principles are also available as a brochure. You can order a printed copy via e-mail.