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Technology Swiss institutes draw record enrolment

The February 2014 immigration vote hasn't stopped students enrolling.


A record high number of students enrolled last year in Switzerland’s two technology universities and four research institutes.

A board that oversees the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ) and Lausanne (EPFL) and four research institutes said enrolment rose to 28,537 students in 2014, up 1.8% from 28,046 in 2013.

It also said in a statementexternal link Monday that total enrolment increased 50% in the last decade.

Although 2014’s jump of 1.8% is smaller than in previous years, the continued growth indicates that the Swiss vote in February 2014 to curb immigration had limited effect.

That vote sparked anxiety over the potential impact of reduced immigration on Swiss research and education, which draws specialists from dozens of nations.

“The operation of these research institutes without international specialists is hardly conceivable,” said Fritz Schiesser, the board’s president.

The institutes—including the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research (Empa), the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) , the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) and the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL)—also had a record number of patent applications, licence agreements, and spin-offs.

But foreign student registration declined by as much as 15% and research funding is another concern amid uncertainty about Switzerland’s ability to participate in European Union-funded researchexternal link, due to backlash over the Swiss immigration vote.

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