Mission Statements

Hi all!

After a great meeting on Tuesday, I decided to get started with some research on the universities we’ll be visiting. As you may recall, one of the first assignments of the PFP course was finding mission statements, so I thought this was a good starting point. I was able to find mission statements for Lund University, ETH Zurich, SUPSI, USI, and University of Zurich. I couldn’t locate the mission statement for Politecnico di Milano, and the one I found for Uni Basel was in German, so I’m going to need to translate this last one. Does anyone know of a good German-English translation website?


I pasted the mission statements below (warning: LONG post!!), but here are some of my observations:

Lund University: Heavily focused on research.

ETH Zurich: Focus on its role in a global sense. They are interested in recruiting internationally (academic/research staff and students), which is particularly relevant to my research topic.

SUPSI: Focus on training for the professional world outside the University.

USI: Focus on language and how that plays into international careers. This also ties into my research topic.

University of Zurich: Very detailed mission, it covers all aspects of the university. Mention of “free and public scholarly pursuit and scientific inquiry” got my attention, because I wasn’t sure if it meant free as in “you don’t have to pay” or freedom in general. After reading the entire statement, I think it refers to freedom because academic freedom is emphasized but I’m still not 100% sure.


What are some of your observations? Do you find that some parts of the mission statements tie into your research topic?


Lund University


Through research, higher education and artistic development work, Lund University shall contribute to the development and utilisation of knowledge, both nationally and internationally.

Through research-based education, we shall train students who are able to contribute to the development of tomorrow’s global knowledge society. Through internationally distinguished basic research, we shall move knowledge forward. Through innovations, we shall develop the commercial and public sectors, and contribute to a global, sustainable development of society.

Lund University shall be a university with academic integrity, and scope for critical thinking and questioning established truths. The work shall be based on gender equality, striving to attain ethnic and social diversity. Our University shall be a driving force in society.


ETH Zurich


ETH Zurich imparts to its students the highest state of knowledge and practical skills. It seeks to enable young people to find their orientation in a complex and rapidly changing world, and to stimulate an understanding of ethical and cultural values so that, upon completing their studies, they will be not only highly qualified professional people but also responsible members of society. ETH is not content with mere participation in solving already known problems. In the context of global civilisation, it must respond to changing conditions, it must identify new problems as a kind of early warning system, and assume a leading role in seeking solutions. In doing so, it depends on the spirit of discovery, innovative force, and flexibility in its members. As a technical university in a small country, the ETH Zurich can only compete with the worldís best by establishing international links, by recruiting its academic and research staff worldwide, and by remaining attractive to students from abroad. The multicultural tradition of Switzerland, its cultural heritage acquired over many generations, provide in our view a strong base for this purpose.




In a society marked by profound changes, SUPSI produces, develops and disseminates knowledge and expertise as propellant forces fundamental to supporting the economic, social, technological and artistic progress of the region, and to contributing to the cultural and ethical growth of both society as a whole and its individual members.

In order to achieve this goal, SUPSI operates in the fields of first and second level university education, continuing education, applied research, and in the provision of consulting and support services to businesses and institutions, adopting a collaborative and cooperative stance with the main interlocutors.

SUPSI acts as a cultural and relational bridge connecting Southern Switzerland – which can be defined as the chosen reference region – to the rest of Switzerland and to Northern Italy.

The distinctive features of SUPSI are its ability to:

  • achieve a harmonious amalgamation of its university and professional roles, by focussing specifically on quality when operating in its diverse sectors;
  • when necessary, adopt a multidisciplinary approach, in response to the demands of an increasingly complex situation requiring the application of a broad range of skills and knowledge;
  • understand and satisfy the needs of the various stakeholders, in line with the principles of sustainable development.



USI mission

Università della Svizzera italiana provides a high quality education and carries out groundbreaking work in the field of research in a dynamic and international environment.  Strategic choices are made in order to better define the role that the Italian part of Switzerland plays locally and internationally, and therefore to actively make a contribution to the region’s economy and development.  Being the only Italian speaking University outside of Italian borders, USI also serves as a bridge between the northern Italian region Lombardy and the rest of the country, with the goal of defending and preserving the language and culture of the Italian Switzerland.

Research is carried out in cooperation with prestigious international institutions, with a careful eye on local and national mandates in order to promote Swiss development and scientific progress.

The academic programs offered (bachelor, master, executive master, and Ph.D) promote on many levels the professional and personal growth of the students. All of this is made possible thanks to USI’s contained size allowing close relationship between students and faculty, and a constant attention to the job market needs in an ever growing global society.

USI has a strong international and multilingual orientation, with students and faculty from over 100 nations. While the official language at USI is Italian, some courses and entire Master programs are taught in English. Knowledge of French and German is also encouraged. Basic and advanced courses in these four European languages prepare students for international careers.

The adoption of the declaration of Bologna favours the mobility of students around European campuses. The 3-year undergraduate programmes and 2-year specialized graduate programmes provide the number of study credits (ECTS) established at European level, so that USI study programmes can be accepted by other universities across Europe.

University of Zurich

Mission statement

16th January 2001

1. Identity and Role of the University of Zurich


The University of Zurich is an institution devoted to free and public scholarly pursuit and scientific inquiry.

Scholarly pursuit incorporates the acquisition, advancement and dissemination of knowledge in a methodical and critical manner.

An inherent component of responsible scholarly activity is the ethical reflection of ways and means, and its consequences for humanity and the environment.

Universal character

All disciplines in which the University engages endeavour to discover the reality of our world. The University promotes open discourse and collaboration between the disciplines.

As one of Switzerland’s largest universities, the University of Zurich is aware of its responsibility in maintaining and offering a wide range of academic disciplines.


2. Goals and Responsibilities of the University of Zurich

The University pursues scholarly research and teaching and provides related services. It strives to provide exceptional quality in these areas and measures itself against the highest international standards.

The University monitors its activities in research, teaching and services, as well as its own management, by means of regular evaluation.

Together with scientific conditions and cultural considerations, academic tradition and the requirements of society at large determine the direction the University takes in research and teaching.

A responsible and appropriate setting of the agenda presupposes widely based fundamental research.


The University is dedicated to upholding and extending its high level of scientific knowledge.

The University enables, encourages and expects research activities of its students and academic staff.

While basic research is emphasised as a core activity of the University, applied research is also carried out.


The University has the duty of providing its students with a scholarly education, as well as continuing education for external professionals in academic fields of work.

University education enables students to identify problems, gives them the means of acquiring advanced knowledge to find solutions, teaches them to judge critically and to impart this knowledge to others. In doing so it qualifies them to carry out future independent research.

A scholarly education requires a university community that comprises learners and teachers. This education has its roots in independent research and can only be imparted by teachers who are themselves researchers.


One of the tasks properly belonging to the University is that of putting services that are closely related to research and teaching at the disposal of third parties. However, neither research nor teaching must be hindered by such service activities.


3. The University of Zurich and its Students and Staff

Basic principles

Within the framework of its goals and duties the University grants as high a level of independence and shared responsibility as possible to students and staff, and promotes equal opportunity on all levels.

The University nurtures the intellectual, professional and personal development of its students and staff.

Ethical responsibility

As people involved in the scholarly pursuit of knowledge, students and staff of the University are committed to acting in an ethically responsible manner.


A university education is open to all who possess the necessary entrance qualifications.

Fostering talent

The University fosters talent, especially in those who choose to follow an academic career.


The University offers its staff modern contracts and working conditions.


The University is committed to a participatory management style. The incorporation of students and staff from all levels in decision-making processes is the expression of this participation.


The Administration of the University provides a comprehensive and efficient system to support the research, teaching and services the University offers.


4. The University of Zurich and its Environment

Value to society

The University makes a vital contribution towards developments in society at large in such areas as education, culture, health, economics, industry and politics.


While the University is committed to the scholarly pursuit of knowledge, at the same time it is also responsible to society. Therefore, societal issues should also be addressed in the pursuit of scholarship.

Academic freedom

Scholarship requires freedom and space in which to fulfil its role, unhindered by external constraints and ideological influences. The University claims uninhibited freedom for teaching and research, while respecting and upholding its ethical responsibility.

Information policy

The University communicates with the public and disseminates information concerning its activities, requirements and wishes.

Regionally embedded, internationally connected

The University profits from the advantages that the location of Zurich offers and, in turn, helps to develop this location. It endeavours to recruit professors from all over the world and to be an attractive place for foreign students to study. It fosters national and international collaboration in research and teaching.


The University works in close collaboration and promotes diverse partnerships with its neighbour, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH), thus enhancing the attractiveness of Zurich as a centre of academic excellence.

The University co-ordinates its activities in teaching and research with other universities and institutions of higher education both within and outside Switzerland.

In order to increase its efficiency the University seeks contracts with public and private institutions. Notably, it encourages its researchers to compete for third party funding.