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Strategic goals

Knowledge-based and competence-oriented

Graduates of the ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences possess reflective, professional, research and practice-based competences which can be applied in demanding professional fields in our knowledge-based society.

  1. The ZHAW fosters the independent, self-reflective and cooperative development of knowledge and competence based on internationally compatible competence profiles. Furthermore, the ZHAW supports individualised educational programmes, insofar as this is possible in view of subject-specific disciplinary requirements and available resources.
  2. At the ZHAW, fundamental and systematic importance is given to the research-based development of knowledge and competence, which is seen as the basis for reflective and transformative cooperation with professional practice, as well as to critical thinking.
  3. The ZHAW purposefully combines analogue and digital educational formats, makes use of their respective advantages and harnesses its digital transformation to support the cooperative and individualised development of knowledge and competence, independent of time and location.
  4. Both in admissions and during the course of studies, the ZHAW takes into consideration knowledge and competence which has been acquired by students through non-formal and informal education («recognition of learning»).
  5. The ZHAW recognises and supports the continuous development of individuals through educational and learning processes in different life situations and throughout their active professional lives (“lifelong learning”).


The ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences assumes joint responsibility for cultural, ecological, economic, legal, social, technical and sustainable development and for the sustainability of our society, seeing itself as a catalyst for innovation.

  1. The ZHAW offers its students transformative experience and educational formats. It fosters sustainable competences and educates students who are committed to the preservation of livelihoods as set out in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The ZHAW contributes to the sustainable development of the economy and society by providing scientific principles and innovations and by taking an active role in the Zurich tertiary education area.
  2. The ZHAW consolidates its solution-oriented research and development and its pursuit of innovation, both methodologically and as regards content. The university sees itself as a societal knowledge transformer and innovator and works together with social partners creatively and in a multifaceted manner as a fundamental part of its understanding of research and its research profile.
  3. In addition to the main research focus areas of the individual Schools, researchers take part in shared interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research and development areas beyond the limits of their Schools and in national and international programmes.
  4. The ZHAW promotes its young academics at all levels and in a manner specific to their field. In areas in which years of continuity must be demonstrated and where high, internationally recognised quality of research and development is provided, as well as in its transformative focus areas, the ZHAW promotes doctoral students through cooperation with universities as well as through participation in national and international doctoral programmes. This supports the dual competence profile of its lecturers and researchers.
  5. The ZHAW contributes to the digital transformation and innovation of the economy and society, thereby strengthening the international competitiveness of the canton of Zurich. To this end, the ZHAW plays an active role in the Zurich tertiary education area so that the strengths of the individual universities complement one other and scientific principles can be established that support society, politics and the economy in their transformation processes.


The ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences is regionally integrated and cooperates with international partners. It is oriented towards global challenges and markets and is a university that identifies with the European higher education area and its understanding of education.

  1. Graduates of the ZHAW are educated interculturally.
  2. The ZHAW is an attractive university for ambitious students, lecturers and researchers from abroad and is in demand as a partner university in the creation of international university networks and programmes.
  3. Employees at the ZHAW cultivate an intensive exchange with international scientific communities and partners from professional practice.
  4. Research and development at the ZHAW is regionally integrated and internationally networked. It is conducted in multinati­onal partnerships and within national, European and international research programmes.
  5. The ZHAW actively participates in the profiling and development of the European higher education, research and innovation area.