In 2010, the td-net undertook a review and analysis of sustainable development in teaching and research at Swiss universities (Bestandesaufnahme Nachhaltige Entwicklung, Nachhaltige Entwicklung: Thesen zu Nachhaltiger Entwicklung in Lehre und Forschung an universitären Hochschulen der Schweiz). This review was conducted against the background of sustainable development being discussed in relation to the new federal legislation on the promotion and coordination of the Swiss higher education landscape (Bundesgesetz über die Förderung der Hochschulen und die Koordination im schweizerischen Hochschulbereich, HFKG), and of its role in education in the Federal Council’s current “Sustainable Development Strategy 2012-2015”.

The review showed that, while a variety of activities to foster sustainable development in research and teaching were underway, there remained a significant potential for developing and improving coherent planning and effective integration of sustainable development at Swiss universities.

The present design of the programme is the outcome of a participatory process run by the td-net together with delegates appointed by the rectors of all Swiss universities as well as representatives of EPFL, ETH Zurich, the Swiss students association (VSS-UNES-USU) and the Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE). The participatory process included a one-day workshop with 45 experts as well as four meetings and written consultation with the university delegates.


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