The Importance of European Exchange

While the discussions on new European agreements stagnate in the Swiss Parliament and Federal Council, ETH and VSETH find alternative ways to exchange with our European counterparts.

by Polykum Redaktion

by Léa Le Bars

We might not be part of Horizon or Erasmus+ anymore, but ETH and VSETH still find ways to collaborate and exchange with other great universities in European countries.

This   years   IDEALiStiC   delegations   from   RWTH   Aachen, TU Delft, Chalmers University, Polytechnico 
Milan and ETH

This years IDEALiStiC delegations from RWTH
Aachen, TU Delft, Chalmers University, Polytechnico
Milan and ETH

Here are two of our current alternatives:

IDEA League and IDEALiStiC

The IDEA League, founded in 1999, is a strategic alliance between five European universities of science and technology – TU Delft (NL), RWTH Aachen (DE), TH Chalmers (SE), Politecnico Milano (IT) and ETH Zürich. Its purpose is to enable networking, foster innovation, and promote the joint pursuit of ambitious goals. For ETH students in particular, it facilitates access to some of Europe’s best engineering and science schools with grants, summer schools, and a joint master’s programme in applied geophysics.

Particularly interesting for university politics is IDEALiStiC: the union of the IDEA League Schools Student Councils. It was founded to include the students’ opinions and ideas in matters of educational policy and student welfare. Representatives from every school meet once a semester to exchange and work on common problems. The last conference happened just a couple of weeks ago in Aachen (DE). The main topics discussed were 1) how to ensure quality of teaching and 2) performance pressure and mental health. The exchange resulted in concrete action plans for each university like obligatory didactic courses for new professors and lowering the hurdles for crediting extra work. We exchanged on best practices when it comes to student surveys and reflected on our ways of approaching mental health issues.

IDEALiStiC is a great example of European exchange and collaboration between school representatives towards common goals.


Following an initiative from the EU Commission to strengthen European research networks and promote student exchanges, ETH also joined another alliance: ENHANCE. Technically, we are not full members of the alliance, as only universities from EU member states can be members and profit from EU funds. However, ETH’s involvement sets a clear sign to continuously present ourselves as a European university, even after our exclusion from Horizon.

ENHANCE is still quite young and there are still many technical details to be figured out. But just as with IDEALiStic, student involvement is key. Student representatives from all ten universities will meet in a student forum and at the general assembly. The first of these meetings are planned for later this year.

Léa Le Bars, 23, VSETH-HoPo board member, had a lot of fun bonding with the Swedish delegation at the last IDEALiStiC in Aachen.

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