Switzerland’s Contemporary Contributions to Science and Technology
Established on August 1, 1291, the Swiss Confederation is a small country with a giant impact in the world of scientific and technological innovations. Commonly known for cheese, chocolate, mountain chalets, army knives, precision watch movements, and financial prowess, its national resume also includes a commitment to higher education, scientific research and development, and technological advancements—all with a reputation for pushing the envelope. This paper will explore Switzerland’s cutting-edge contributions to science and technology in the contemporary era.
Some Facts about Switzerland
Established as the Swiss ...view middle of the document...
The Cornerstone of Switzerland’s Achievements: Higher Education
Switzerland is world renown for its achievements in scientific and technological research as well as its development and engineering of precision instrumentation. The foundation of Switzerland’s advancements in these areas lies in its commitment to educating its people, both in secondary, post-secondary and tertiary education. As Shawchuk explains, this focus on education accounts for the low unemployment rate among Swiss youth, which was 7.7 percent in 2011 compared to other members of the Organization for Economic Communication and Development (OECD), where the average youth unemployment rate was 16.2 percent in the same year (7). Additionally, in 2012, dropout rate was 10 percent in Switzerland, compared to 30 percent in the United States (Shawchuk 7).
According to SwissWorld.org, Switzerland’s higher-education facilities offering Doctorate degrees are the ten cantonal universities and two federal institutes of technology. These universities are located in Basel, Bern, Fribourg, Geneva, Lausanne, Lucerne, Neuchâtel, St. Gallen, Ticino, and Zürich. According to Horváth, Weber, and Wicki, the two federal institutes of technology are located in Zürich (ETHZ) and Lausanne (EPFL) (390). Each canton has oversight of the university it hosts, and the Swiss Confederation has oversight of the two institutes of technology (SwissWorld,org).
Switzerland has another eighteen universities for applied science and teacher education, and four institutes with studies focused on children’s rights, tourism, international studies, public administration, and distance learning for higher education (SwissWorld.org). Additionally, there are also vocational education training (VET) programs for students in secondary education with a desire for an apprenticeship in fields including banking and engineering (Shawchuk 7).
Tuition is subsidized by the Swiss Confederation to make it more affordable for both residents and foreign students, although additional fees are imposed on foreign students at 6 of the 10 major universities. However, ETHZ and EPFL boast some of the most affordable tuition rates. ETHZ tuition costs for one year are CHF 1,288 / 1,452 USD and EPFL’s annual tuition rates are CHF 1,266 / 1,428 USD per year (SwissWorld.org). Both institutes rank 5th and 8th among European universities for their engineering and technology programs for 2013/2014 (SwissWorld.org), and ETHZ ranks 14th overall worldwide for 2013/2014 (Times Higher Education).
Switzerland’s Contributions to Science and Technology
As indicated by Dutta and Lanvin in the Global Innovation Index 2013, Switzerland has ranked 1st in the top ten most innovative countries for 2011, 2012, and 2013 (7, 8). As one of the world’s leading research nations, Switzerland is active in a variety of scientific and technological areas, including nanotechnology; space exploration, mission experiments, and instrument servicing; environmental research;...