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Country Guide Switzerland

CARe country guides, developed from May to October 2020, contain systematised relevant information on the national labour markets in the 10 project countries, with the aim of supporting researchers at risk/with refugee background in finding support, job and training opportunities in their host countries. 

In the development and revision of the country guides, the CARe consortium is receiving invaluable help by the selected group of national experts coming from relevant national institutions and CARe focus groups.




The higher education system in Switzerland is coordinated by the federal (national) and cantonal (provincial) governments. They have separate jurisdiction over the two Federal Institutes of Technology (EPF Lausanne and ETH Zurich) and the ten cantonal universities. Cantonal jurisdiction also applies to the nine universities of applied sciences and the twenty universities of teacher education.

List of all higher education institutions is available at Study in Switzerland.

Access to higher education positions in Switzerland is not conditioned by nationality. Many departments in Swiss universities have plenty non-Swiss nationals with one of the most internationalised teaching staff in Europe - nearly two-thirds of professors in Switzerland come from abroad according to the ICEF monitor.

Switzerland is one of the top countries in the world in gross domestic spending on R&D in the last twenty years with above 3%. In 2019, Switzerland had 9.20 researchers per 1000 employees in total (OECD).

Switzerland offers attractive research positions in academia, research institutes and in the private sector. Swiss nationality is usually not a condition for employment. Many departments host foreign scholars, with preference those fluent in French, German or Italian, three of the countries’ four official languages, or having a linkage to one of these countries provide an advantage in recruitment.

More about state of play in Swiss research and higher education can be found at European University Institute.

Experiences of researchers from the CARe Focus Group Switzerland:

With four official languages, the focus group participants in Switzerland emphasised the local language requirements are challenging as moving from one canton to another may imply learning a new language from scratch. Furthermore, recognition of academic qualifications is equally challenging and there is lack of coordination on national level and not enough information available. On the other hand, decentralised services for the target group are available.


Full reports on the CARe Focus Groups and Employer Survey are available here.

To raise factual inaccuracies or to provide us with updated information and feedback on the guide, please do not hesitate to contact us at