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Annual report 2020: ZHAW achieves milestones despite pandemic

The ZHAW annual report 2020 has now been published. It provides an overview of last year’s most important topics and activities, a period that was greatly influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the switch to distance learning and working from home posed a number of significant challenges, the ZHAW still succeeded in achieving several important goals.

In 2020, the students could meet on campus only rarely and by complying with the safety measures.

Distance learning, working from home and new research topics were just a few of the wide-ranging issues that emerged in 2020, a year that was dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic. “In March, when the university reduced its activities and launched distance learning within the course of just one week, I felt an immense sense of dedication and solidarity coming from everyone,” ZHAW President Jean-Marc Piveteau wrote in his editorial. “For me, this is a big takeaway from this crisis: together, we can do anything.”

Sustainability remains a priority

The ZHAW was able to achieve several important milestones in 2020, including the launch of the joint digitisation initiative of the Zurich universities (DIZH) and securing institutional accreditation for the ZHAW. It also embedded lifelong learning as a university strategy, the aim of which is to provide momentum to this promising area. Sustainability remains a priority, too. The “ZHAW sustainable” initiative defined several priorities for implementing the sustainability strategy, one of which is that all students should engage closely with sustainable development over the course of their studies.

New centre for health professions

One of the highlights of 2020 for the ZHAW was the opening of Haus Adeline Favre in Winterthur, an architecturally unique building and home to Switzerland’s largest education and research centre for health professions. Campus development and growth is progressing elsewhere, too. In 2020, the cornerstone for a new laboratory building for the ZHAW School of Life Sciences and Facility Management was laid in Wädenswil. The plans to completely renovate the ZHAW School of Engineering campus on Technikumstrasse in Winterthur were also given the official green light after they were incorporated into the Canton of Zurich’s design plan. The project, which is divided into four stages, is set to take 15 years to complete.

Growing student numbers

The number of students grew by 5.7 per cent over the previous year. In 2020, 14'256 students were enrolled at the ZHAW (compared to 13'485 in 2019), of whom 11,986 were in a Bachelor’s degree programme and 2'270 in a Master’s degree programme. The proportion of female students was 50.3 per cent, putting women in the majority for the first time. Women also made up 50 per cent of the 3'413 employees. The interactive figures on our website show the latest facts and developments over the past years.

As part of our commitment to ongoing digitisation and greater sustainability, we are no longer producing a print version of our annual report. You can read an abridged version of the 2020 annual report in English here. The full annual report (PDF 3,2 MB) is available for download as a PDF file in German only.