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Executive Summary

ICT Strategy

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In January 2004, the Executive Board of ETH Zurich took the decision to develop an institutional strategy for the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in education, research and services at the university. The goal was to draw up a framework for the strategic use of new technologies in all of the university's core processes.

The rapid development of information and communication technologies is having a direct impact on all areas of education and research. The amount of knowledge and information that is available is growing exponentially. Radically new models of cooperation, networking and knowledge exchange are emerging. A good ICT infrastructure is indispensable for education and research. It is also an increasingly important advantage in the global competition among universities. Through its strategy for the use of information and communication technologies in education, research and services, ETH Zurich is setting out to position itself as one of the leading universities worldwide in this domain.

Broadly supported strategy process. The stimulus for developing an institutional ICT strategy came from the recommendations drawn up after the intermediate evaluation of ETH World at the end of 2003. The Executive Board appointed the ETH World Program Director, Professor Bernhard Plattner, to lead the strategy process. Since March 2004, a project group comprising faculty members and representatives of the administrative units (infrastructure domains) has worked intensely to draft the strategy. Particular attention has been paid to the needs of education and research, and the process has been conducted with close involvement of the ETH Departments. The draft was then sent to the Departments, the infrastructure domains and the stakeholder organizations as part of a consultation process. In addition, all students and staff members had the opportunity to contribute their comments via a web-based forum.

Promoting individual, flexible learning. The strategy specifies general guidelines and sets out strategic goals for the use of ICT in all the university's core processes. Through the use of new technologies, ETH Zurich wishes to promote individual, flexible learning and ensure that students actively engage with the subject matter in self-directed learning. ICT resources are used wherever they provide added value for teaching and learning. The use of these resources not only supports students in their studies but also facilitates working at ETH Zurich, independently of time and place.

Competitive advantage for research. When it comes to research, the use of ICT constitutes a key prerequisite for success in most disciplines. ETH Zurich wishes to retain and develop its leading position in this field. The university views ICT as a central component of its excellent infrastructure and one which represents a major competitive advantage. This infrastructure has to guarantee access to computing power, communication bandwidth and information, and it has to be developed further in line with the requirements of research. A further challenge is the vast quantity of data generated in a large number of research projects which can be used by the global scientific community.

Services for business, industry and society. ETH Zurich wishes to contribute to the advancement of the worldwide scientific community and to the provision of global access to knowledge and information. In accordance with its national mandate and its aspiration to achieve global influence, the university pursues a policy of permitting the broadest possible public access to its teaching materials, learning contents, research results and other services. In particular, ETH Zurich wishes to develop outreach activities and services for business, industry and society with the aid of new technologies. By offering ICT-based continuing education, it wishes to serve existing target groups better and reach out to new ones.

Communication and e-services. New technologies also offer ideal opportunities for internal communication and the involvement of faculty, staff, students and alumni. ETH Zurich is developing e-services in all its infrastructure domains in order to further enhance the efficiency of its business processes.

The initial implementation measures and the responsible organization units are outlined in an Appendix. Costs will be incurred through the implementation of the strategy, and it will only be possible to make a reliable assessment of these costs during the detailed implementation planning stage.


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© 2012 ETH Zurich | Imprint | Disclaimer | 24 November 2005