Annual Report 2019


Ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues

Rektorin ad interim Gabriele Siegert

The world of work is changing fast. In particular, to keep up with the fast pace of digitalization we need to acquire new knowledge and develop new skills. Continuing education is therefore a vital component to fill the gaps and improve employability. The University of Zurich offers a wide range of continuing education programs for people from all walks of life.

The portraits in this year’s Annual Report demonstrate the value of pursuing a continuing education course at UZH, improving your career prospects or even making a complete change of direction possible.

The current Annual Report presents an overview of the research and teaching currently taking place at UZH. In the statistics and financial section, you can find detailed facts and figures about the university in 2019.

Prof. Gabriele Siegert, President ad interim

April 2020


UZH in Figures (1)

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Detailed statistics on the website of the Finance Department

UZH in Figures (2)

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Detailed statistics on the website of the Finance Department

UZH in Figures (3)

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Detailed statistics on the website of the Finance Department

UZH in Figures (4)

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Detailed statistics on the website of the Finance Department

UZH in Figures (5)

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Detailed statistics on the website of the Finance Department

UZH in Figures (6)

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Detailed statistics on the website of the Finance Department

UZH in Figures (7)


Detailed statistics on the website of the Finance Department

UZH in Figures (8)

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Detailed statistics on the website of the Finance Department

UZH in Figures (9)

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Detailed statistics on the website of the Finance Department

UZH in Figures (10)

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Detailed infos on the website of the UZH Continuing Education

UZH in Figures (11)

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Detailed statistics on the website of unitectra


The Puzzle of Language

Visualization «Evolving Language»

At the new National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) “Evolving Language”, an interdisciplinary team of researchers are investigating the origins and the future of language.

UZH News: The Power of Language

New Immunotherapies to Combat Cancer

Visualization of immune cells and antibodies

University Medicine Zurich’s new flagship project is called “Immuno-TargET”. The project combines the latest technologies to develop immunotherapies for specific types of endocrine cancer.

UZH News: New Immunotherapies to Combat Cancer

Changes at Doctoral Level

Michael Schaepman and Claudine Leysinger

The Graduate Campus (GRC) drew up new guidelines for doctoral supervision in 2019. Claudine Leysinger, head of the GRC, and Michael Schaepman, Vice President Research, discuss the recommendations.

Best Practice Recommendations

Modern Lessons from the Ancient World

Amor and Psyche united in a kiss (from the archaeological collection)

In 2019, the Center for the Study of the Ancient World, involving around 50 UZH researchers, was launched. The center is intended to boost research into the ancient world and unearth new insights.

Zurich Center for the Study of the Ancient World

Imperial God

Moses with law tablet, painted by Valentin de Boulogne (1620)

As they were fleeing through the desert, the people of Israel received God’s commandments at Mount Sinai, so says the Bible. The historical background to the story is no less dramatic.

UZH News: Imperial God

Improved Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Breast cancer tissue

An imaging method which UZH significantly helped develop is now able to present breast cancer tissue in greater detail. It uses up to 35 biomarkers to identify different cell types in a tumor.

Refining Breast Cancer Classification by Multiplexed Imaging

Facts and fiction

Visitors of Scientifica 2019

Science Fiction – Science Facts: This was the motto for the Science Days staged jointly by the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich.


Between Humans and Machines

Chatchavan Wacharamanotham

Chatchavan Wacharamanotham, professor of interaction design, uses innovative teaching methods to share his expertise with his students. He won the 2019 teaching award for his efforts.

UZH News: Teaching Award 2019

University Program for School Students

Maurin Brunner, Marie Schrader and Pebijn Cobben

For around a year now, high school students have been able to get a taste of uni life. The pilot project proved popular, and has now been extended for two more years.

UZH News: «Ich kann schnell viel lernen» (in German)

Reading Caesar

Ancient stone tablet with text about Caesar

Latin is alive and kicking at UZH: In 2019, Latin became a compulsory module for some courses. It is helpful for students to be able to read Latin sources, says Christian Utzinger of the Language Center.

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Latin and Greek

Digital 101

student at the computer

With its Teaching Fund, UZH supports innovative teaching formats, thereby encouraging the development of more effective, diverse and dynamic teaching. The subject area of informatics was one of the beneficiaries in 2019.

Competitive Teaching Fund


Listening Closely

Stefan Schnyder and Gabriele Siegert

Deputy President Gabriele Siegert and Stefan Schnyder, Vice President Finances and Human Resources, comment on the results of the university-wide employee survey that was conducted for the first time in 2019.

UZH News: Employee Survey

“De Foifer” and Sustainable Take-Away

Students in the Mensa

From schnitzel and fries to soy-balls and butter tofu: The UZH cafeteria menus have had a refresh to cater to modern tastes. Sustainability is a high priority – and from the Fall Semester will also apply to the take-away menus.

“We want to make the Oerlikon Campus more appealing”

Infographic Campus Oerlikon

Veronika Brandstätter-Morawietz leads the new Oerlikon Campus council. The organization wants to introduce measures to improve the Oerlikon site.  The psychology professor explains the plans in an interview.

New Look for Irchel

Vision Campus Irchel

Building work is taking place at Irchel Campus. Over the course of the next 20 years, UZH’s site strategy will be implemented. In the meantime, alongside the university students, around 2,000 high-school students will also be taught on campus.

Stadtuniversität (in German)


Pictures: Beat Schweizer

Focus on Continuing Education – Seeing the World Anew

Carla Rohrer Bley

This year’s annual report features portraits by photographer Beat Schweizer of 15 people, all of whom have taken a continuing education course at UZH. Their subject areas vary wildly, but common to all those pictured is a curiosity about the future and an interest in learning and experiencing new things. In brief texts to accompany the portraits, these lifelong learners report on their experiences with UZH continuing education.

Pictured: Carla Rohrer Bley, Veterinarian.

Green Economics

Bastien Girod

“I am very interested in research, that’s why I did a PhD and got the habilitation to teach at university-level. To make the leap from academia to business, I completed a part-time continuing education course in general management at UZH, which I followed up with an Executive MBA, all alongside working. Then I was well-equipped to take on a leadership role in business development for the climate protection company South Pole, as well as the presidency of VBSA, the Swiss waste management association.”

National Councilor Bastien Girod, Green Party politician.

Digital Spanish

Francisca Ruiz

“At UZH I train upper secondary school teachers of Spanish. We use teaching methods that appeal to digital natives. For example, we experiment with machine translation programs in class and show how deceptive and unreliable they can be.”

Francisca Ruiz, teacher training subject specialist at UZH and Spanish teacher at Neue Kantonsschule Aarau.

Good Branding

Elizabeth Rembelska

“I work in asset management. I chose the CAS program in Inhouse Counsel, i.e. providing legal counsel within a company, because it features renowned experts from various areas of business. I wrote my final paper on branding.”

Elizabeth Rembelska works in marketing.

Troublesome Teeth

Alexander Philipp

“As a dentist, I come across a lot of patients who suffer from problems with the periodontium, the supporting tissues of the teeth. Many of them are older people, and looking after teeth in old age gets more difficult when dementia or other illnesses are present. But we can’t simply look away, it’s important to deal with the problems in good time. The MAS in Periodontology brought me up to date with the latest scientific findings. I can now apply this knowledge directly in my practice.”  

Alexander Philipp, dentist, on his farm in Thurgau.

New Purpose

Sandro Bless

“After 25 years as a banker, I began to wonder what the meaning of it all was. Should I continue to work 50 or 60 hours a week at the bank? I decided I’d rather be passing on my knowledge to young people. The Teaching Diploma for upper secondary schools at UZH was therefore exactly the right choice for me.”

Sandro Bless, upper secondary school teacher of economics.

How Machines Learn

Mie Brühl

“During my continuing education course in big data and machine learning, I didn’t have much time for sitting around on the sofa. I had to invest a lot of time to get to grips with the material. But it was worth it, I was appointed to work on a digitalization project at a bank. The course gave me the knowledge I need.”

Mie Brühl, banker and manager.

Practical Knowledge

Marianne Jossen

“I wanted to know more about the Swiss health system as a whole and chose the MAS in Public Health run jointly by the universities of Zurich, Basel and Bern. Participants came from various areas of the healthcare sector and brought their experience as practitioners to the course. That was very enriching. We still keep in regular contact.”

Sociologist Marianne Jossen works at the Federal Office of Public Health.

Sustainable Advising

Marcus Fenchel

“I work as a manager in a consultancy firm. Our clients include banks, insurance companies and other financial services companies. Currently, sustainable finance is very in vogue, and banks are looking for support in this area that is new for them. I enrolled on the CAS in Sustainable Finance in order to bring my knowledge up to date with the latest developments in research and practice.”

Marcus Fenchel, manager.

Staying on the Ball

Michael Bürgisser

“I want to stay on the ball, so I regularly attend continuing education courses at UZH. That way I get new interesting ideas for my teaching, and I also manage to stay connected to the university. Continuing education courses are a good option for strengthening the exchange between high schools and universities.”

Michael Bürgisser, mathematics teacher.

Healing Power of Juniper

Maria Blassnigg

“The UZH continuing education courses in ethnobotany and ethnomedicine are unique in Europe. I feel really lucky that I was able to attend them. I am now able to give better advice to customers in the pharmacy, especially when it comes to offering alternatives to conventional pharmaceutical drugs. For my final paper I wrote about the healing properties of juniper.”

Maria Blassnigg, pharmacist.

Analyzing the “68ers”

Bernhard Weissberg

“I've always been interested in history, but as a journalist I never had time to delve into any topic in depth. The MAS in Applied History enabled me to do that. At the same time I got to know interesting people from all over the world, and we spent long hours listening, discussing and debating – for example about the 1968 youth movement and its effects. We went on summer schools to Berlin and London.”

Bernhard Weissberg was previously editor-in-chief of Blick newspaper, now he owns a communications consultancy.

A Good Life for Fido?

Carla Rohrer Bley

“At the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, I look after animals with cancer. Modern medicine leaves us with difficult questions: Should you save the life of a seriously ill dog, or put him out of his misery? Another concern for me is the way we treat pets and farm animals so differently. One is loved and cosseted, the other is slaughtered. In the MAS in Applied Ethics I could debate these ethical dilemmas. I now find it easier to deal with difficult cases in my daily work.” 

Veterinarian Carla Rohrer Bley is professor of radio oncology at UZH. As well as the MAS in Applied Ethics, she has a CAS in Leadership & Governance in Higher Education.

Fit for the Classroom

Sabrina Müller

“I was a vicar for six years; I got my PhD from the Faculty of Theology of the University of Zurich, where I’m now an external instructor and will soon complete my habilitation. Thanks to the CAS in University Teaching, I feel comfortable in front of a class and well equipped to teach. In addition, it’s necessary to demonstrate that you have didactic skills when applying for jobs at other universities. I attended the continuing education course because I enjoy teaching and because I wanted to improve my career prospects.”

Sabrina Müller, Theological Administrative Head of the Faculty of Theology’s Center for Church Development.

Understanding Patterns

Rahel Fähndrich

“I work with children and young people who are going through rough patches. It is always a challenge to make sense of children’s behavioral patterns and to work out what is the right therapy for them. In the MAS in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, I was able to discuss cases from my practice with the teachers. A few lightbulb moments reinforced the importance of exchange with colleagues for me.”

Rahel Fähndrich is a psychotherapist and works in an institution for children and young people with behavioral issues and learning difficulties.

The Business of Art

Sabrina Müller

“As a student I watched nearly all productions at the Opera House; I often went to see the same opera several times. After finishing university, I became a finance and asset manager. But something was missing. I wanted to bring together my interest in the arts and my business skills. The continuing education program in executive arts administration paved the way.”

Christian Berner, commercial director of the Zurich Opera House.