Swiss ETH Domain invests more in measures to promote equal opportunities

At its meeting on 18/19 May, the ETH Board took note of the reports on the measures taken to promote equal opportunities. The institutions of the ETH Domain exceeded the spending targets in this area. These reports are presented to the ETH Board every two years. The ETH Board bade farewell to Professor Gian-Luca Bona, who is retiring at the end of May after serving for many years as Director of Empa and as a member of the ETH Board. Furthermore, the ETH Board discussed the external expert opinion on ETH Zurich’s rules of procedure when scientific misconduct in relation to research is suspected. The expert opinion concluded that the preliminary investigation processes showed no indication of serious breaches of duty or of arbitrariness.

Reports on measures to promote equal opportunities

In 2021 the ETH Board approved the Gender Strategy 2021-2024, the aim of which is to improve the gender ratio in the ETH Domain and promote equal opportunities for women and men. As part of this strategy, the institutions of the ETH Domain have been set the objective of spending 0.5% of the federal government’s annual financial contribution on appropriate measures from 2021 onwards (in 2020 it was 0.4%). The two-yearly reports from the six institutions show that this target was exceeded, at 0.89%. The majority of the money was spent on developing the careers of women at all levels, with around CHF 16 million being devoted to this in 2021. Other important items of expenditure included the cost of childcare facilities, as well as measures to embed equal opportunities in the institutions of the ETH Domain.

Farewell to Empa director Gian-Luca Bona

The ETH Board bade farewell to Gian-Luca Bona, who is also retiring as a Professor at ETH Zurich and EPFL at the end of May after serving for many years as Director of Empa and as a member of the ETH Board. After taking up the post of Director of Empa (the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology) in 2009, Gian-Luca Bona developed Empa into a leading research institute for materials research and innovative technologies. With his wide-ranging involvement in research and industry, he strengthened Empa as an innovative force for the economy and for society. Empa is noted for its focus on finding sustainable solutions to the challenges facing industry. Thanks to numerous partnerships with industry and business, Empa’s research findings are being translated into marketable innovations.

Gian-Luca Bona started his career at the IBM research laboratory in Rüschlikon, after having obtained a doctorate in physics at ETH Zurich. As a research manager and later head of department at the IBM research laboratory in San Jose, California, he managed the Science and Technology department, assuming responsibility for numerous research and development projects. In December 2018, the Federal Council appointed him to the ETH Board as a representative of the four research institutes: PSI, WSL, Empa and Eawag. His successor, Tanja Zimmermann, will take up the post of Director of Empa on 1 June 2022.

Farewell to former President of ETH Zurich Lino Guzzella

Professor Lino Guzzella

Professor Lino Guzzella, currently Full Professor of Thermotronics in the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering, is to retire at the end of January 2023. He has served as head of institute and head of department, as well as making a very substantial contribution to ETH Zurich as Rector (2012-2014) and President (2015-2018). Under his leadership, ETH Zurich was able to enhance its international networks and its position as a leading university in an increasingly competitive environment.

External expert opinion on ETH Zurich’s rules of procedure when scientific misconduct in relation to research is suspected

The Executive Board of ETH Zurich proposed to the ETH Board to obtain an external expert opinion on the extent to which ETH Zurich has in recent years complied with its rules of procedure, particularly as regards the preliminary investigation processes, when scientific misconduct in relation to research is suspected. The sole matter under consideration was the extent to which ETH Zurich complied with its procedural regulations during these preliminary investigation processes. There was no question of re-examining individual preliminary investigation processes to any significant extent. In their report, the experts concluded that the preliminary investigation processes at ETH Zurich showed no indication of serious breaches of duty or of arbitrariness. According to the report, the relevant bodies have always worked with the best of intentions and endeavoured as far as possible to resolve conflicts directly with the people involved. Nor were there any indications of bias, conflicts of interest or gender inequality. However, in some cases clarifications were sought which went beyond what was laid down in the current rules of procedure. In this respect, the panel of experts found that there is scope to improve the current rules and processes. ETH Zurich strives to continually improve its process flows and, with this aim in mind, will implement the recommendations in the expert opinion. The ETH Board welcomes this, while simultaneously appreciating the considerable progress already made by the Executive Board of ETH Zurich in recent years in improving the various procedures. Further information may be found here: https://ethrat.ch/de/externes-gutachten-vorpruefungsverfahren-wiss-integritaet-eth-zuerich/

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