Challenging Cuts and a Clear Commitment to Joint Sponsorship
The governments of the University of Basel’s supporting cantons Basel-Landschaft and Basel-Stadt this morning released their proposal for the 2018–2021 funding of the University of Basel and submitted it to their parliaments. The proposal will be taken up in the fall in the Cantonal Parliament in Liestal and the Grand Council in Basel. The University of Basel is confident that the parliaments will approve the proposal and is happy to achieve clarity regarding the financial outlook for the next four years.
Less money for the same mandate
As the University described in detail in its October 2016 report and application for the 2018–2021 performance period, if it is to maintain its current level of performance and competitiveness, it will face further cost increases in comparison to 2017 both in real estate (+ CHF 16.8 million by 2021) and teaching and research (+ CHF 10.2 million by 2021).
Despite this overall increase in costs of CHF 27 million, the supporting cantons envisage a funding reduction of CHF 10 million in both 2020 and 2021 in comparison to the base year 2017, which will lead to cutbacks of around CHF 37 million in both years. As the University’s mandate is to remain the same and it intends to continue taking part in national and international projects in the years ahead, this budget reduction presents a major challenge.
Close cooperation with the faculties
“The University of Basel has long been aware that it would have to tighten its belt in light of the financial environment in the supporting cantons,” highlights Ulrich Vischer, President of the University Council, “it recognized and accounted for this in its submission to the parliaments in October 2016 and also adjusted its financial planning to account for the expected reductions.”
In order to meet the now concrete cost-cutting measures and any additional costs, the University of Basel will use its own reserves and will need to make some internal reallocations and cutbacks. “The university management is working closely with the faculties to implement the cost-saving measures,” explains Andrea Schenker-Wicki, President of the University. The faculties will receive financial targets from the President's Office, “but they will retain a great deal of autonomy in identifying and implementing the necessary measures,” says the President.
Commitment to joint sponsorship
The bi-cantonal proposal submitted by the parliaments shows that the governments have placed a strong focus on their university, made joint decisions, and plan to continue to deal with university issues together in the years ahead. “We see this as a clear commitment to the joint sponsorship – for which we are grateful,” says Vischer. In light of this, the 2018–2021 performance period should be interpreted as a transitional period and consolidation phase. “After this period, the University of Basel should once again have the opportunity to invest in key strategic areas so that it can maintain its position as one of the best universities in the world,” says President Schenker-Wicki.
Matthias Geering, University of Basel, Head of Communications & Marketing, Tel. +41 79 269 70 71, email: firstname.lastname@example.org