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The current price of oil lessens the urgency of replacing fossil with renewable base materials. Yet due to oil’s finite nature, one day this replacement will become inevitable. Addressing this issue today, launching and intensifying research and development activities, therefore represents a major opportunity for Switzerland. Thanks to its academic institutions, its existing infrastructure and its industry, the country is starting from a good position despite difficult economic framework conditions.
The new SATW brochure “Renewable instead of fossil resources – An opportunity for Switzerland” describes the current state of technology as regards the production of basic materials, active substances and reusables. It makes the distinction between quasi-available technologies and processes as yet only existing at a conceptual level. It also addresses the necessary and promising industrial combination of biotechnology and chemistry. The survey ends with biorefineries, which in Switzerland have not yet moved beyond the conceptual stage. The brochure closes with a brief list of conclusions and four recommendations, which one can only hope will meet with constructive interest within industry, politics and the population at large, so that this “opportunity for Switzerland” may truly be seized.
Handling data in a safe and resilient way is possible. In order to do so, however, citizens must take on an active role and acquaint themselves with the basics of cyberspace. The publication “Resilient Data Handling” provides an overview of five important topics in this context: data management, archival storage, confidentiality and secrecy, big data analytics, and privacy.
The state must also step in. The following topics are addressed in this context: open government data, IT and critical infrastructures, and cybercrime.
The Internet plays an increasing role both in terms of teaching material and of preparing classes. The SATW topical platforms edu-tech and ICT have conducted a number of workshops on the topic of “Cloud computing in education and research”, aiming to deepen the dialogue among experts of all levels of education, educational authorities and institutions, specialist platforms and networks, as well as selected members of the cloud computing community. In this context, an issue of SATW INFO was published.
Theme: Demography, Education, …
Im September 2014 trafen sich Fachleute unterschiedlicher Fachbereiche wie Vermittlung, Pädagogik, Technik, Kunst, Design und Kulturwissenschaften zu einem SATW-Workshop, organisiert von der Pädagogischen Hochschule der FHNW. Sie beschäftigten sich mit der Aufgabe, Nutzen und Herausforderungen von Augmented Reality für die Bildung herauszuarbeiten. Als Resultat des Workshops ist diese Broschüre entstanden. Sie informiert darüber, was unter Augmented Reality zu verstehen ist, welche Rolle die Technologie in der schulischen und musealen Vermittlungstätigkeit einnehmen kann, und stellt schliesslich konkrete Umsetzungen aus dem Schul- und Museumsbereich vor, die in der Schweiz realisiert wurden.
Biotechnological research is no longer limited to specialist laboratories: a growing community of biologists, amateur enthusiasts and technophiles is experimenting in kitchens, workshops and DIY laboratories. Some people view the democratisation of biotechnology as a threat, others as an opportunity to gain a better understanding of complex scientific interrelationships within society.
A few years ago, something which occurred in software development in the early 1990s also began to emerge in the field of biotechnology: “open source” and “do-it-yourself” (“DIY”) strategies are opening up a field of knowledge traditionally occupied by experts, universities and large companies to a broader community.
In 2008, a handful of technology enthusiasts in Boston set out to drag biotechnological research out of established institutions into garages and kitchens in urban and rural settings. Since then, Europe, the USA and Asia have seen the emergence of dozens of garage laboratories with scales, mixers, refrigerators and incubators, all purchased cheaply from eBay. Some laboratories are also equipped with homemade bioanalytical devices. Inquisitive laymen and experienced researchers conduct experiments shoulder to shoulder, pursuing personal biotech research projects or simply indulging in the satisfaction of DIY.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In der Schrift erörtern die Autoren die prinzipiellen Möglichkeiten zur Förderung des erneuerbaren Stroms und analysieren diese in knapper Darstellung. Alle vier untersuchten Förderinstrumente (Einspeisevergütung, Bonusmodell, Quotenregelung und Ausschreibungen) zeigen dabei Stärken, aber auch Schwächen und es gibt keine einfache Regel für die Wahl eines solchen Instrumentes. Es zeigt sich aber doch, dass – eine weitsichtig planende Politik vorausgesetzt – bei längerfristig stabilen Fördermassnahmen die grossen Ziele für 2030 erreichbar sein sollten.