Newsroom


November 2019


18.11.2019 Labour

Over half of people no longer entitled to unemployment benefit work again after one year

Over half of people no longer entitled to unemployment benefit work again after one year

For the past five years, around 38 000 people per year have been excluded from unemployment insurance. 55% of them find work in the first year after exclusion. Excluded persons who are reintegrated into the labour force are often paid lower wages in comparison with other employees and are more likely to have atypical working conditions.


October 2019


25.10.2019 Research landscape

ETH Board plans leading institute for environment

ETH Board plans leading institute for environment

The ETH Board intends to create a new institute in the area of the environment and sustainability. It thus aims to focus research in the ETH Domain on urgent social questions such as climate change and the sustainable use of resources in a more targeted way. In this context, the two research institutes WSL and Eawag will be united for this purpose in the medium term. (ETH-Board press release)

23.10.2019 Public research

Slow Decay

Slow Decay

"Corrosion" comes from Latin "corrodere": to gnaw something to pieces. This refers to the gradual destruction of a sub- stance due to the influence of other substances in the environment. Specialists at Empa take a close look at such processes and can find timely ways to prevent material failure due to corrosion – long before disasters such as those in Genoa occur.

10.10.2019 International

Federal Chancellor Guy Parmelin to meet Chinese minister of science

Federal Chancellor Guy Parmelin to meet Chinese minister of science

Federal Chancellor Guy Parmelin, head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research EAER, met the Chinese science and technology minister Wang Zhigang in Bern on October 9th, 2019. During their discussions, which rounded off the eighth Joint Committee Meeting on Science and Technology, they considered the many links between Switzerland and China in research and innovation.


September 2019


27.09.2019 Public research

"Safe-by-Design" - On the road to safe nanomedicine

"Safe-by-Design" - On the road to safe nanomedicine

Tiny particles that can fight cancer or that can easily pass through any interface within our body are a great promise for medicine. But there is little knowledge thus far about what exactly will happen to nanoparticles within our tissues and whether or not they can cause disease by themselves. Within an international research consortium, Empa scientists have now developed guidelines that should enable the safe development of nanoparticles for medical use.

17.09.2019 Economic forecast

The outlook has become gloomier – slight pick-up expected in 2020

The outlook has become gloomier – slight pick-up expected in 2020

Economic forecast by the Federal Government’s Expert Group – autumn 2019 -- The Expert Group is revising its expectations for the Swiss economy in the coming quarters slightly downwards. Weaker development than previously assumed is anticipated for the global economy and uncertainty is high. In the coming year, the Swiss economy is set to brighten gradually.

05.09.2019 Science award

Nicola Spaldin awarded Swiss Science Prize Marcel Benoist

Nicola Spaldin awarded Swiss Science Prize Marcel Benoist

Nicola Spaldin, docente di teoria dei materiali al Politecnico federale di Zurigo, è stata insignita del premio scientifico svizzero Marcel Benoist per le sue ricerche pionieristiche sulla multiferroicità. La docente ha gettato le fondamenta di una nuova tecnologia di memorizzazione dei dati ultraveloce ed energeticamente efficiente. Il premio, del valore di 250 000 franchi, le sarà consegnato il 7 novembre 2019 a Berna.

04.09.2019 ETH-Board

Michael Hengartner appointed new president of the ETH Board

Michael Hengartner appointed new president of the ETH Board

On 4 September, the Federal Council elected Michael Hengartner as the new president of the ETH Board (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschulen) , at the request of the head of the EAER Guy Parmelin. Michael Hengartner, 53, succeeds Fritz Schiesser, who stepped down from the post at the end of April. Mr Hengartner has been rector of the University of Zurich since 2014. He will take up his new post on 1 February next year.

03.09.2019 Innovation

Digital manufacturing technologies: Innosuisse approves 17 innovative projects

Digital manufacturing technologies: Innosuisse approves 17 innovative projects

The “Manufacturing technologies” impulse programme from Innosuisse aims to promote modern manufacturing technologies as a contribution to the transition of industry into the digital age. Of the 29 applications for 12-month projects submitted in the second call for projects, Innosuisse has approved 17. The total funding amounts to more than CHF 6 million.


August 2019


19.08.2019 Public research

New technology saves up to 20 percent fuel

New technology saves up to 20 percent fuel

Up to now, the gas exchange valves of four-stroke engines are controlled through camshaft drives. Empa has now developed an innovative, electrohydraulically actuated valve train that enables completely free adjustment of stroke and timing, while at the same time being robust and cost-effective. The new technology saves up to 20 percent fuel in typical passenger car low load operating conditions.

05.08.2019 Economy

Households’ financial situation continues to dampen consumer sentiment

Households’ financial situation continues to dampen consumer sentiment

Consumer sentiment in Switzerland remains slightly below average. Low expectations regarding consumers’ own budgets are clouding the outlook. However, respondents are cautiously optimistic about the future general economic situation. The labour market has still been assessed positively but prospects have deteriorated somewhat.


July 2019


05.07.2019 Mission in Asia

EFTA Ministers concerned by uncertain global trade environment

Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin to travel to Japan and Vietnam

The head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research EAER, Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, will lead a business and science delegation to Japan and Vietnam from 7 to 14 July. The focus of talks with governments in both countries will be on free trade agreements. The accompanying representatives from Swiss firms and the Swiss education, research and innovation landscape will have access to decision makers on economic policy, and so expand their network of contacts.


June 2019


24.06.2019 EFTA

EFTA Ministers concerned by uncertain global trade environment

EFTA Ministers concerned by uncertain global trade environment

On 24 June 2019, Ministers from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland met in Malbun, Liechtenstein, for EFTA’s annual summer Ministerial Meeting to discuss the broad range of EFTA’s activities. Ministers expressed their concern regarding the increasingly uncertain global trade environment, both due to the uncertain outcome of the Brexit process and escalating trade tensions. (EFTA Press release)

18.06.2019 ILO’s Centenary Conference

« Investir dans la formation est primordial »

« Investir dans la formation est primordial »

Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER), gave a speech on the future of work and social partnership at the ILO’s Centenary Conference. He told conference delegates that ‘investment in education and training is essential for managing the opportunities and risks posed by digitalisation and new forms of work’. He also signed a declaration of intent with the Indonesian Minister of Manpower.

13.06.2019 International cooperation

2018 annual report: commitment to sustainable development

2018 annual report: commitment to sustainable development

Switzerland works to combat poverty, overcome global challenges like climate change and promote peace and human rights. This is a significant contribution to sustainable development and a stable international environment, as can be seen in the 2018 annual report on international cooperation published today by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) and Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER).

07.06.2019 Switzerland-EU

Institutional agreement Switzerland-EU: Federal Council to demand clarifications

Institutional agreement Switzerland-EU: Federal Council to demand clarifications

The Federal Council intends to consolidate and further develop the bilateral approach, the cornerstone of relations between Switzerland and the EU. This also requires the search for solutions to the institutional issues. At its meeting of 7 June 2019, it approved the report on the consultations on the institutional agreement between Switzerland and the European Union (EU) and decided to demand clarifications. The Federal Council also underlined that maintaining the current level of wage protection is a key Swiss demand. Press conference

07.06.2019 Research

Floating solar power plants

Floating solar power plants

Huge floating solar islands on the ocean that produce enough energy to enable CO2-neutral global freight traffic - what sounds like "science fiction" researchers from ETH Zurich, the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), Empa, the Universities of Zurich and Bern and the Nowegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim have now calculated for the first time, as they write in the latest issue of the journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" (PNAS).

04.06.2019 Innovation

Best of swissnex 2018 - swissnex Network annual report now published

Best of swissnex 2018 - swissnex Network annual report now published

320 events held throughout the world with 180 Swiss partner organizations, networking for start-ups, expert discussions on topics such as drones and environmental technologies – all this and much more to promote education, research and innovation in Switzerland. ‘Best of swissnex’ is the motto of the swissnex Network’s 2018 annual report, published on its website at www.annualreport.swissnex.org.


May 2019


28.05.2019 Conjuncture

Gross domestic product in the 1st quarter of 2019: domestic and foreign demand support growth

Gross domestic product in the 1st quarter of 2019: domestic and foreign demand support growth

Switzerland’s GDP rose by 0.6% in the 1st quarter of 2019. Growth was driven primarily by increasing domestic demand. Foreign trade also provided positive impetus. Value added grew in most sectors. Private consumption (+0.4%) saw slightly above-average growth for the first time in six quarters. Consumption expenditures increased in almost all segments and most significantly in healthcare, followed by mobility.

22.05.2019 International Trade

Free Trade Agreement with Indonesia sent to parliament

Free Trade Agreement with Indonesia sent to parliament

On 22 May, the Federal Council issued a dispatch on the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement between the EFTA states and Indonesia. The dispatch has been submitted to Parliament for approval. EFTA is the first European partner to sign a free trade agreement with Indonesia. The increasing purchasing power of the Indonesian middle class makes Indonesia, with a population of over 260 million, an attractive market for Swiss exports.

15.05.2019 International

Brexit : le Conseil fédéral ouvre la consultation relative à l’accord commercial Suisse–Royaume-Uni

Brexit: Federal Council opens consultation proceedings on trade agreement between Switzerland and the UK

On 15 May the Federal Council opened consultation proceedings on the trade agreement with the United Kingdom and on an additional agreement extending the provisions of the trade agreement to the Principality of Liechtenstein. The agreements are intended to ensure to a large extent the continuation of existing trade relations after the UK’s departure from the European Union.

14.05.2019 International

Chief Minister of Kerala pays courtesy visit

Chief Minister of Kerala pays courtesy visit

On 18 May Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin received Mr Pinarayi Vijayan, Chief Minister of the Indian State of Kerala. The meeting focused on bilateral economic relations. Kerala, whose economy is mainly based on agriculture, is located on the southwestern tip of the country. With a GDP of USD 120 billion, the state ranks 9th among the 35 states and territories of the federation and has 33.5 million inhabitants. India is a priority country in Switzerland’s foreign economic policy.

09.05.2019 Free trade

Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin meets Indonesian trade minister

Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin meets Indonesian trade minister

Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin met the Indonesian trade minister, Enggartiasto Lukita, in Bern on 9 May. The two ministers discussed both the opportunities and the challenges for Swiss businesses on the Indonesian market. The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement signed in December 2018 gives the two countries new opportunities to further expand bilateral trade and investment.


April 2019


02.05.2019 Development cooperation

More effective international cooperation: public consultation lauched

More effective international cooperation: public consultation lauched

Swiss development cooperation is to become more focused, making it more effective. This is the proposed strategic approach for Switzerland’s international cooperation, submitted for optional public consultation by the Federal Department for Foreign Affairs (FDFA) and the Federal Department for Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER) on 2 May 2019.

11.04.2019 International

Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin attends World Bank Spring Meeting in Washington

Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin attends World Bank Spring Meeting in Washington

President Ueli Maurer, Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin and Thomas Jordan, Chairman of the Governing Board of the Swiss National Bank, will be in Washington from 12 to 13 April 2019. They will attend the joint Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group (WBG).


March 2019


29.03.2019 100th anniversary of the ILO

“Social dialogue is a worthwhile investment”

“Social dialogue is a worthwhile investment”

Since the founding of the International Labour Organization one hundred years ago, working conditions have improved around the world. What will work look like in the future? Digital transformation is changing the way in which we work, says ILO Director-General Guy Ryder. The latest edition of SECO’s magazine ‘Die Volkswirtschaft’ contains a special dossier to mark the ILO’s 100th anniversary.
ILO 100

26.03.2019 Foreign trade

Free trade agreement: “Standing still is the same as going backwards”

Free trade agreement: “Standing still is the same as going backwards”

Switzerland must not slip behind the EU’s active free trade policy, stated Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin at the Aussenwirtschaftsforum 2019 in Zurich on 27 March. It is the first time that the new head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research EAER has spoken at a gathering of business representatives on trade policy issues. Click on title to read the speech in full.

26.03.2019 Foreign visit

Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin to pay working visit to Vienna

Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin to pay working visit to Vienna

The head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER), Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, will pay a working visit to Vienna on 27 March, where he will hold talks with Margarete Schramböck, Minister for Digital and Economic Affairs, and Heinz Fassmann, Minister for Education, Science and Research. Austria is an extremely important partner for Switzerland, particularly in the fields of trade, education, research and innovation.

22.03.2019 VET Sector

Two-year programmes for the Federal VET Certificate: a success story

Two-year programmes for the Federal VET Certificate: a success story

Since they were first introduced in 2004, two-year programmes for the Federal VET Certificate have expanded to cover a current total of 56 different occupations. This fact was mentioned in an interim report approved by the Federal Council on 22 March 2019 on introduction of the Federal VET Certificate. Several evaluations have shown that learners, vocational school teachers and workplace trainers are all satisfied with these two-year programmes.

21.03.2019 Science Award

Marcel Benoist Award: submit nominations until April 8th

Marcel Benoist Award: submit nominations until April 8th

The 2019 Marcel Benoist Swiss Science Prize will be awarded in the fields of mathematics, natural sciences and engineering sciences. The research community is invited to submit nominations by 8 April 2019. Seraina Rüegger explains what it is like to nominate one’s own boss.

19.03.2019 Education

ETH and EPFL launch Master’s programme in Cyber Security

ETH and EPFL launch Master’s programme in Cyber Security

In January, the Federal Council gave the go ahead for the creation of a national centre of expertise in cyber security, thereby demonstrating the importance it places on IT security. The ETHZ and the EPFL are lending their support to this national effort through teaching and research. As such, they will be launching a new joint Master’s programme in Cyber Security from autumn 2019. Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin gives his view on the launch. (Video)

15.03.2019 Research

Sustainable fuels of the future at the Geneva Motorshow

Sustainable fuels of the future at the Geneva Motorshow

Empa is presenting sustainable fuels of the future at the Petroleum Association's stand in Hall 6 of the Geneva Motor Show. Not only electric cars or hydrogen vehicles can be fuelled with low CO2 emissions, but even a 1965 VW Beetle that decorates the stand.

EMPA

 

11.03.2019 Agricultural research

“Agricultural research offers practical solutions to farming families”

“Agricultural research offers practical solutions to farming families”

In his capacity as the new minister for agriculture and research, Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin shared his vision of Swiss agricultural research with the journal Agrarforschung Schweiz / Recherche Agronomique Suisse. The key to success is ensuring sound financing and making efficient use of the available resources.

07.03.2019 Development cooperation

Effectiveness of development cooperation

SECO has had projects running as part of the Dispatch on Switzerland’s International Cooperation externally evaluated. Around 85% of projects are successful. However, while they are well targeted, the results are not always sustainable. An article in ‘Die Volkswirtschaft’ published by SECO provides a summary of the main conclusions.

05.03.2019 Astronomy

Committee of Council of the European Southern Observatory meets in Switzerland

The European Southern Observatory (ESO) is the leading European organisation for astronomical research. Using its state-of-the-art telescopes in der Atacama desert in Chile, ESO conducts ground-breaking astronomical research. ESO is supported by 16 countries, including Switzerland. On 5 and 6 March the ESO Committee of Council will hold a meeting in Bern chaired by Switzerland.

04.03.2019 Free Trade Agreements

Council of States approves free trade agreements with Ecuador and Tukey

The Council of States unanimously voted in favour of the free trade agreement with Ecuador. It also came out in favour of renewing the existing agreement with Turkey. However, certain Council members expressed concern regarding the human rights situation in the country; 13 Council members therefore abstained. The Council of States nevertheless approved the agreement by 27 votes to 1. Both items of business will now pass to the National Council.


February 2019


28.02.2019 GDP

Return to growth thanks to the manufacturing industry

Return to growth thanks to the manufacturing industry

Switzerland’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose by 0.2% in the 4th quarter of 2018.
The manufacturing industry developed dynamically and exports of goods rose significantly. Domestic demand, on the other hand, stagnated. GDP growth for 2018 as a whole was 2.5%.

27.02.2019 Popular initiative

The Federal Council recommends that the initiative on synthetic pesticides be rejected

The Federal Council recommends that the initiative on synthetic pesticides be rejected

The Federal Council will recommend that Parliament reject the popular initiative ‘For a Switzerland free of synthetic pesticides’ without a counter proposal. In a dispatch adopted on 27 February, it recognises the concerns raised by the initiative. However, the federal government has already undertaken efforts to reduce the associated risks as part of its action plan on phytosanitary products. These efforts will be intensified under its Agriculture Policy 22+.

25.02.2019 Gastronomy

Head of EAER attends the Concours national d’art culinaire 2019

Head of EAER attends the Concours national d’art culinaire 2019

The finalists of the Concours national d’art culinaire faced each other at the Kursaal in Bern on 25 February for the title Cuisinier d’or 2019. By attending the competition, Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin wished to draw attention to the importance of gastronomy in Swiss tourism, a vital sector for the country’s economy.
Le Cuisinier d'Or
 

21.02.2019 Agricultural research

New Method Discovered: the Secrets of Lactose Digestion Revealed

New Method Discovered: the Secrets of Lactose Digestion Revealed

Around two-thirds of the global adult population cannot digest lactose – milk sugar – due to a deficiency in lactase, the required enzyme for lactose digestion. Generally, consumers are unaware of whether they are able to digest the lactose contained in dairy products. However, Agroscope, - a State owned institution for agricultural research -, and Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) researchers have now discovered a new method to determine an individual’s ability to digest lactose. The patent is pending.

13.02.2019 Investment controls

Federal Council supports monitoring procedure for cross-border investments

Federal Council supports monitoring procedure for cross-border investments

At its meeting on 13 February, the Federal Council approved a report on cross-border investments and investment controls which indicates that introducing such controls would currently bring no additional benefits to Switzerland. On the contrary, restricting capital flows into Switzerland would increase red tape, generate uncertainty and make Switzerland a less attractive place to invest. However, the Federal Council intends to conduct a monitoring procedure and review the report within the next four years.

11.02.2019 Brexit

Switzerland and the UK sign trade agreement

Switzerland and the UK sign trade agreement

The continuation of economic and trade relations between Switzerland and the United Kingdom after the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union (Brexit) is assured. Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin and the British Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox, signed a bilateral trade agreement in Bern on 11 February. (VIDEO)  

01.02.2019 Consumer sentiment

Consumers do not foresee job losses

Consumers do not foresee job losses

Consumer sentiment in Switzerland remains slightly above average. Despite less favourable predictions regarding the economy in general, the outlook for the labour market and consumers’ own budget has improved.

Last modification 18.11.2019

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