Quality at the Institute

The Institute considers the pursuit of quality and its continual improvement to be an indispensable condition for success in an extremely competitive global environment. A demanding quality assurance system also enables the Institute to meet the expectations of the public authorities and the surrounding society, which are justifiably concerned about the efficient and judicious use of resources made available to academic institutions.

quality in switzerland

In the 1990s, Swiss universities began to introduce quality assurance measures for teaching and research. The introduction of the so-called Bologna process has encouraged Swiss universities to set up a quality assurance system to guarantee the quality of their teaching and research.
While the federal government is the guarantor of quality assurance at Swiss universities, it is the universities themselves that are responsible for the implementation and proper functioning of their internal quality assurance system. In order to reconcile their autonomy with their duty to be accountable and transparent, this internal quality assurance system is subject to an institution-wide accreditation evaluation every seven years.



The Institute's quality assurance strategy was established by its Board of Trustees when the organisational framework was adopted in 2008. The components are enshrined in regulations and guidelines, and are complemented by policies and practices to promote quality.

The quality assurance system covers all areas of the Institute's activities: teaching, research, continuing education and administrative services. It concerns the organisational structures, the regulatory framework and the operating processes, as well as each component of institutional life, whether individual or collective. In many aspects, the feedback of external experts is incorporated, who provide an independent and critical view.

The Institute's quality assurance system is consistent with the overriding objective of excellence set by its Foundation Board. Based on a strong culture of quality that is valued by all components of institutional life, it inspires the continuous search for the best ways to improve its operation.

Further information can be found on our Quality Intranet pages (password required).


1. The establishment of structures and policies that promote quality

The Institute's quality assurance system is based on a regulatory framework complemented by policies and practices that promote a culture of quality. This framework for professors fosters quality research, notably by using teaching exemptions and sabbaticals as compensation for academic management activities. As pertains to students, the provision of considerable financial support is a major contribution to academic quality. These policies and practices are complemented by a division of responsibilities that allows for consultation, participation in decision making, and decision making in the interest of strong quality control.

2. Evaluation as a general principle

The Institute's quality assurance strategy is based on a set of regular evaluations of teaching, research and services by external experts. It is based on the prior setting of objectives that make it possible to measure the progress made and to ensure the follow-up of the recommendations or objectives set. The strategy is based on a set of measurement tools and relevant information, as well as increased bench-marking.

quality governance


In order to carry out its mission, the Institute relies on a regulatory framework and a distribution of responsibilities that allow for consultation, participation in the decision making process, and decision-making in the interest of strong quality control. Quality control is exercised at all levels, including the Foundation Board, which plays a dynamic role in quality assurance due to its composition, the scope of its powers and the status of the Foundation.

In exercising its powers, the Board fulfills its role as guarantor of the quality assurance system:

  • The Board regularly devotes a meeting to strategic reflection, where it assesses the state of affairs and provides guidance regarding strategic orientation;
  • The Council supervises the activity of the Institute's Director, whose work it evaluates and directs at each meeting by way of a written report; in the event of difficulties or the introduction of a new policy, it asks him for a specific report of recommendations;
  • In matters of finance and real estate, the Board relies on commissions: the Financial Commission, composed of the Vice President and two members of the Board, which reports to the Board at each meeting after examining the relevant documentation; the Real Estate Commission was created by the Board, who placed it under the authority of the Director and which reports to the Financial Commission;
  • Finally, in academic matters, whether it is a question of proposals for regulatory changes, the nomination, promotion or renewal of professors' contracts, or the periodic evaluation of departments and research centres, the Council deliberates and makes decisions on the basis of files that typically include reports from external experts. Its role is to verify the legality of the procedure and compliance with regulatory provisions, and to assess the quality of the proposal made and its relevance to strategic objectives.

The Director of the Institute participates in Board meetings, but is not a member and does not have the right to vote. Her task is to ensure the academic direction, administrative and financial management and development of the Institute. It is responsible for the proper functioning of the decision-making bodies (College of Professors, College of Teachers) as well as for consultation with the components of institutional life, whether within the framework of the Institute Committee or by means of regular meetings with the representative bodies of these components (Student Association - GISA, Association of Teaching and Research Assistants, Assembly and Committee of Administrative and Technical Staff).

In its activity, it relies on the academic management (management of studies, research and continuing education) and the executive management (cabinet management, administrative, financial and real estate management). With their collaboration, it ensures the operation and development of the quality assurance system by ensuring compliance with regulations, implementing measures to raise quality and encouraging the continuous improvement of management processes, whether in the administrative and financial field or in the academic field.

Since its creation, the Institute has been faced with the challenge of merging two institutions with very different histories, structures, cultures and operating methods. It has risen to this challenge in an innovative fashion by creating an institution that is clearly different from its predecessors, particularly in its combination of disciplinarity and interdisciplinarity and the prominence of institutional research (creation of interdisciplinary research centers).

In the realm of quality assurance, a great deal of improvement and development work had to be undertaken. The Institute has benefited in this respect from the external evaluations in which it has participated (accreditation by the OAQ in 2009 and then by the AAQ in 2020, evaluation of the 2008-2011, 2013-2016 and 2017-2021 Agreements on Objectives).

The Institute's quality assurance system is in line with its overriding objective of excellence and is based on a strong quality culture. The objective of excellence is enshrined in many institutional documents, starting with the Charter, where it is ranked first, ahead of independence, responsibility, solidarity and diversity. It is expressed in many ways ("to become one of the best institutions in the world") and is part of the institutional identity to the point of being one of its most widely shared features - for an institution that selects its students, it seems self-evident that it should respect an equal demand for quality in all its operations.


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