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Annual report magazine 2020

Strategy highlights

Extraordinary year for digital transformation at the ZHAW

The ZHAW is actively accelerating digital transformation. In 2020, it supported COVID-19 projects with about CHF 500,000 in funding and moved over to a digital campus. Thanks to its dedicated community, it is also providing exciting innovations.

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Establishing lifelong learning as a strategy

Complexity and rapid economical and societal change increasingly require lifelong learning. In July 2020, the Executive Board adopted the lifelong learning strategy.

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ZHAW sustainability committee begins its work

By establishing an expert committee, setting priorities, and launching specific projects, the implementation of the sustainability strategy has gained momentum.

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Review of the ZHAW University Strategy 2015–2025

In the summer of 2020, an initial revision of the ZHAW University Strategy 2015–2025 was conducted. Each of the three strategic goals was supplemented with a strategic direction.

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A clever network: the new ZHAW international affairs strategy

Joining our forces. Fine-tuning our profile. Strengthening our market position. Our goal is to develop an international appeal that goes beyond the individual beacons of the organisational units of the ZHAW. We have determined the goals and the direction for internationalising the ZHAW.

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Research highlights

EU strategy: evaluation and measures for enhancing the success rate

Thanks to its EU strategy, the ZHAW has defined the aims for participation in Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe. The Research & Development unit evaluated the success of the strategy in 2020.

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ZHAW researchers train enzyme that breaks down plastic

The “PETase” enzyme can break down plastic, but it is not very productive. ZHAW researchers are optimising the enzyme by applying “directed evolution”.

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Research during the COVID-19 crisis

From studies on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on society to masks, vaccines and immunity – a great deal of research was conducted at the ZHAW to deal with the pandemic.

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E-commerce is booming in Switzerland

Half of online shops in Switzerland reported that orders increased by more than 20 per cent during the COVID-19 pandemic. These are the results of a survey of online retailers conducted by ZHAW researchers in 2020. This is the third consecutive year that this survey has been carried out.

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Successfully managing research data

ZHAW Services Research Data, which was founded in spring 2020, is a central point of contact for supporting researchers in realising the full potential of their research data and in implementing the Open Access Policy of the ZHAW.

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Greenhouse project wins “Watt d’Or” award

Energy consumption for greenhouse heating and cooling can be slashed by fifty per cent with a highly efficient, targeted air conditioning approach.

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How do we manage ourselves?

The IAP Institute for Applied Psychology tackled the topic of self-management in the fourth part of their study series “Human Factors and the Future of Work”.

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Flexible retirement age is no cure-all

A flexible retirement age is meant to result in people working longer. A study from the ZHAW School of Health Professions shows that that isn't the case.

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Internal communication in a time of digital transformation

Digital transformation is rapidly changing how organisations communicate internally. This was true even before the COVID-19 crisis hit. A ZHAW study looked into how medium-sized Swiss companies are dealing with internal communication.

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Designing settlement biographies: transformation instead of transposition

ZHAW researchers reveal which long-term design strategies are necessary for a socially, economically and ecologically sustainable approach to existing settlements, as well as strategies that are responsible from an architectural and urban planning perspective.

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Swiss Jews feel increasingly threatened

Discrimination and fear are part of everyday life for many Jewish people in Switzerland. This is shown by a nationwide survey conducted by the ZHAW.

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Academic programmes

COVID-19 accelerates digitisation in academic programmes

In spring, studies had to suddenly be moved online due to the pandemic, which led to a year of forced digitisation. On the one hand, this is a challenge for the ZHAW; on the other hand, it is also an opportunity.

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New Bachelor’s programme in Data Science

The demand for data science specialists to design data-based services and products is constantly increasing. This is why the ZHAW School of Engineering now offers a Bachelor’s programme in Data Science, starting in the autumn semester 2021.

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Campus highlights

New research platform swisscovery

A new and unified platform was launched by 475 Swiss academic libraries on 7 December 2020. The ZHAW University Library played a key role in this project participating as a pilot library.

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Building for our future

Digital transformation is resulting in more students, new study programmes and diverse teaching methods. The ZHAW aims to meet these current challenges with its spatial development plans.

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Launch of the self-service portal

The new self-service portal provides ZHAW staff and students important information and ordering options regarding Finance & Services.

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Successfully utilising open educational media

The Executive Board approved an Open Educational Resources Policy, which came into effect in March 2020. Open educational media are part of the ZHAW strategy on education and digital transformation in the context of establishing a sharing culture.

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Participation and partners

New structure, new appearance

The student participation policy was passed by the Executive Board in summer 2020 after a comprehensive analysis of student participation structures was conducted and a project on student participation in the Schools was concluded. The rebranding represents not only a reorganisation of the ZHAW Students’ Union within the ZHAW but also a stronger perception among the students.

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Contributing to the future in the midst of a crisis

The University Conference supported employees and students in dealing with future-oriented issues during the COVID-19 crisis.

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Optimism in times of COVID-19

In 2020, the pandemic had a strong impact on the activities of ALUMNI ZHAW. One highlight was the launch of the new website.

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