Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW)

21 Oct Technology Outlook

Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW)
2015
Switzerland has a significant industrial sector today, which contributes almost 20 percent to the country’s gross domestic product. If we look at the next five to ten years, however, new technologies and processes are already emerging, the mastery of which will be fundamental to the success of Swiss industry. SATW has compiled the Technology Outlook which takes up these technological challenges and shows their relevance to Swiss Industry. For the Technology Outlook, experts from an academic and industrial background analysed comparable reports from major economic powers and compared international trends in the Swiss export industry. This revealed that certain key technologies will be crucial for the success of all sectors. These technologies have been illuminated with the help of industry representatives in a context where they should enable the breakthrough of essential innovations. Clear recommendations for decision-makers in the political and economic world conclude the outlook.
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21 Oct Measuring the use of natural resources and its impacts (20 pages) German French English

Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW)
2012
Natural resources are essential for all life – and they are finite. The growing consumption of resources per capita and the rapid growth of the world population are increasing the pressure on the Earth’s ecosystem and could become a burden for future generations. Must we limit our consumption? Or can we combat the scarcity of natural resources through technological advances and greater efficiency alone? It is up to society to decide how it wants to use natural resources. It must however quantify and measure the use of natural resources and the problems associated therewith, for example by means of indicators. In this brochure “Measuring the use of natural resources and its impacts” current methods and indicators for the four natural resource categories materials, land area, energy and water are presented and – as an example of how they are used – applied to the production of one kilogram each of the metals copper, lithium, neodymium and platinum. The spectrum of users today extends from individuals (for example in purchase decisions) and companies (for example in improving production processes) to nations or international communities of states (for example in political decisions as to whether to promote new technologies). The “100-year GWP” for example found practical application in Swiss legislation13 on the taxing of fuels.
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21 Oct Cloud Computing

Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW)
2014
Die Veränderungen der Informationstechnologie durch Cloud Computing (CC) birgt ein grosses Potenzial für Innovationen und Effizienzsteigerungen in sich. Diese sollen in allen Sektoren der Schweizer Volkswirtschaft bestmöglich genutzt werden. Entsprechend hat die SATW-Themenplattform ICT im April 2012 einen Workshop unter Experten zum Thema CC durchgeführt. Als Resultat wurde ein White Paper aus der Perspektive der Schweiz mit einer Situationsanalyse, Fokusthemen und einem Aktionsplan zum Thema Education Cloud erstellt. Die Studie soll Chancen und Defizite aufdecken, um sicherzustellen, dass die Schweiz eine führende Rolle in der Thematik übernehmen wird.
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21 Oct Towards a knowledge-based research policy?

Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering (IVA)
2014
A comparative study of some European countries, IVA project Research Outlook, 2014, 44.
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18 Oct Rare Metals

Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW)
2010
Through their increasing use in innovative technical products our society is dependent upon rare metals as never before. It is unclear how the rising demand can be satisfied in the future. Workable deposits of rare metals are often restricted to just a few regions, resulting in political and economical critical dependencies. Generally, moreover, rare materials are not mined in isolation, but occur as by-products of the extraction of other elements. Thus the availability of rare materials is not just influenced by the direct demand for a specific element. An added complication is that rare metals are nowadays only recycled to a limited extent. The concrete examples in this paper show that the way we handle rare materials today could lead to critical situations in the future. We therefore need to find more sustainable ways of handling them. This will require a better understanding of the corresponding material cycles and specific, coordinated measures anchored in international institutions.
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18 Oct Is nano sustainable?

Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW)
2010
If we are to achieve sustainability and meet the great challenges of our time, such as climate change or the increasing scarcity of resources, we have to have the will as well as the right instruments. These latter undoubtedly include technical innovations. And today the nanotechnologies are delivering these many times over. Thanks to synthetic nanoparticles, harmful substances can now be replaced with harmless ones; resource and energy-intensive processes are becoming more efficient. It is important, however, to recognize at an early stage the possible risks that could ensue from nanotechnologies, and to carefully evaluate these risks and discuss them openly. Switzerland is making every endeavour to ensure that nanotechnologies are used safely, thereby helping this discipline to find long-term success
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18 Oct Circular economy – improving the management of natural resources

Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW)
2014
This brochure gives an insight into the current implementation of Circular Economy at national level by presenting three country case studies and their different approaches to achieving the same goal of a more sustainable planet. China, besides being a huge economy, has the political power for a top-down approach to shape a completely restructured industrial and social system. Germany on the other hand is subject to external constraints in the form of EU directives along with national, regional and local demands. Finally Switzerland adopts a step-by-step approach based on finding solutions through the involvement of all stakeholders. In the section Analysis and Comparison, the three countries are investigated according to a number of indicators and consideration is given to the kind of indicators that could serve for a meaningful annual audit of countries’ Circular Economy performance. In the concluding section we give recommendations for possible future actions to take relevant steps towards the vision of a Circular Economy.
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18 Oct Future Education Switzerland

Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW)
2009
In the future, over two thirds of a class should gain a qualification for tertiary education. At the same time the development of interpersonal skills need to be supported. Education should not just provide the knowledge to perform professional duties; it should also provide a deeper understanding in order to deal appropriately with the world and society. This is what the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences are proposing in their under the lead of SATW established white paper “Zukunft Bildung Schweiz” (Future Education Switzerland). It defines the requirements on the Swiss education system in 2030 using a scenario to describe the future understanding of education in Switzerland. Based on this it makes recommendations on the Swiss education strategy and describes its implementation in a roadmap.
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18 Oct STEM Careers Barometer

Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW)
2014
The STEM Careers Barometer is a Swiss study investigating several questions based on the sister study by the German National Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech). Its main objectives are to determine people’s motives for choosing or rejecting studies or a career in the STEM subjects, to gain insights into how students and those employed in STEM areas perceive their study routine or career progression, and to examine whether interest in studying STEM subjects at school has changed over the years. Any divergences from the results of the acatech study Career Barometer for Science and Engineering are also of interest. For this reason the concept and methods used in this study closely followed those of the acatech study. In the STEM Careers Barometer, three groups of people were surveyed in German-speaking and French-speaking Switzerland in summer 2012 by means of questionnaires. These groups were: school pupils at secondary stages I and II (N = 3,507), students of STEM disciplines, and also for comparison of economic sciences (N = 1,598), and people in employment, again predominantly in STEM areas (N = 945). Generally it can be stated that the results of the Swiss survey align with those of the German study in many areas.
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18 Oct Fostering informatics education German

Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW)
2014
Information and communications technology (ICT) may be viewed as the key technology of the 21st century. According to a report published by the Technische Gesellschaft Zürich, over 80% of current jobs in Switzerland require more or less thorough knowledge of ICT. Healthcare, finance, transportation, the machine industry, chemistry – i.e. all the technology-based professions – would by now be inconceivable without ICT. It would therefore seem logical for informatics to also play a significant role in schools. Yet this is not the case: ICT education is close to non-existent in Swiss schools. With the exception of the canton of Solothurn, at the level of compulsory education there are few content-related directives and even fewer obligations to provide classes in media education and informatics. At gymnasium level, informatics is only offered as an elective course. Even the “Lehrplan 21” (the planned common curriculum for compulsory education in German-speaking cantons) involves no major changes: in its structure, informatics only appears in a subsection. The term “informatics education” covers the academic topics linked to computers: informatics, computer technology, ICT applications and others. This terminology, which originated in Germany, allows for a comprehensive view of relevant educational contents relating to ICT and for the formulation of coherent and level-appropriate educational concepts. Informatics education aims not only to train pupils as users but to turn them into veritable agents.
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