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University of Basel

Implementation of cost-saving measures in the 2018–2021 performance period

The University of Basel has accepted the challenges of the 2018 to 2021 performance period and defined the necessary measures. On the one hand, payments into the real estate fund will be reduced and reserves will be released. At the same time, the budgets of the faculties and departments will be reduced by an average of 2.5 percent. The implementation of these measures will ensure that the University of Basel can continue to develop in strategically important areas during this performance period, despite a decline in its global contribution.

In June 2017, the governments of the sponsoring cantons of Basel-Landschaft and Basel-Stadt presented the funding model for the University of Basel in the period 2018 to 2021. Despite unavoidable additional costs of CHF 27 million, the supporting cantons envisage a funding reduction of CHF 10 million in both 2020 and 2021 in comparison with the base year 2017, resulting in a retrenchment of about CHF 36 million in both years.

Cost-saving measures of the University of Basel

Savings in Million CHF
2018
2019
2020
2021
Total
Savings in Million CHF

Savings in the area of teaching and research

2018

1.0

2019

4.4

2020

7.4

2021

9.3

Total

22.1

Savings in Million CHF

Savings in the area of real estate

2018

-2.41)

2019

5.7

2020

18.6

2021

15.9

Total

37.8

Savings in Million CHF

Reduction of reserves

2018

-

2019

-

2020

10.0

2021

10.0

Total

20.0

Savings in Million CHF

Total saving

2018

-1.41)

2019

10.1

2020

36.0

2021

35.2

Total

79.92)

1) In 2018, expenditure in the area of real estate will increase by CHF 2.4 million, which after savings will translate to additional costs of CHF 1.4 million. This additional expenditure is listed negatively here, as the table refers to savings, which are shown as positive figures.
2) The University of Basel must save a total of CHF 79.9 million in the performance period 2018-2021. However, in numerous other places the amount used is CHF 44 million. This figure originates from the bi-cantonal report of the sponsoring cantons (page 28), published at the end of June 2017.

Savings in the area of teaching and research

The University Management has worked closely with the faculties to implement savings measures in teaching and research over the past few months. The faculties were set financial guidelines by the President’s Board and allowed a high degree of autonomy in identifying and implementing the measures.

IN MILLION CHF (as of October 2018)
2018
2019
2020
2021
Total
IN MILLION CHF (as of October 2018)

No incremental increase1

2018

-

2019

1,5

2020

1,5

2021

1,5

Total

4,5

IN MILLION CHF (as of October 2018)

Saving administration / services

2018

0,6

2019

0,6

2020

0,6

2021

0,6

Total

2,4

IN MILLION CHF (as of October 2018)

Saving faculties

2018

-

2019

2,0

2020

5,0

2021

6,8

Total

13,7

IN MILLION CHF (as of October 2018)

Further cost-saving measures (not yet specified)

2018

0,4

2019

0,4

2020

0,4

2021

0,4

Total

1,6

IN MILLION CHF (as of October 2018)

Measures in in the area of teaching and research

2018

1.0

2019

4.4

2020

7.4

2021

9.3

Total

22.1

1. The suspension of the incremental increase in 2019 will lead to a reduction of personnel costs in subsequent years. Beyond that, there are no plans to further suspend the incremental increase as part of the cost-saving measures.

Measures in the organizational units

The University Management has worked closely with the faculties to implement the savings measures in teaching and research over the past few months. The faculties were set financial guidelines by the President’s Board and were allowed a high degree of autonomy in identifying and implementing the measures. The following table summarizes the savings targets of all faculties.

Savings in the faculties according to the development and structural plan

Faculty
Structural savings in Million CHF, to be achieved by 2021
Faculty

Faculty of Theology

Structural savings in Million CHF, to be achieved by 2021

0.1

Faculty

Faculty of Law

Structural savings in Million CHF, to be achieved by 2021

0.25

Faculty

Faculty of Medicine

Structural savings in Million CHF, to be achieved by 2021

2.8

Faculty

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Structural savings in Million CHF, to be achieved by 2021

0.9

Faculty

Faculty of Science

Structural savings in Million CHF, to be achieved by 2021

2.3

Faculty

Faculty of Business and Economics

Structural savings in Million CHF, to be achieved by 2021

0.07

Faculty

Faculty of Psychology

Structural savings in Million CHF, to be achieved by 2021

0.33

Faculty

University Institutes

Structural savings in Million CHF, to be achieved by 2021

0.05

Faculty

Total savings in the faculties (annually, from 2021)

Structural savings in Million CHF, to be achieved by 2021

6.8

The following list provides an overview of the most important measures in the different organizational units of the University of Basel:

Faculty of Theology

The Faculty of Theology has an annual budget of CHF 3.6 million (as of 2017). It must reduce this budget by 100,000 francs to 3.5 million francs by 2021, which corresponds to a reduction of 2.8 percent. 

Measures
  • The biggest saving made by the Faculty of Theology will relate to the library: the former library of the Faculty of Theology will be fully integrated administratively and organizationally into the University Library.
  • Reorganization of the administration of the Office of the Dean of Research.

Faculty of Law

The Faculty of Law has an annual budget of CHF 12.3 million (as of 2017). It must reduce this budget by 250,000 francs to 12.05 million francs by 2021, which corresponds to a reduction of 2.0 percent.

Measures

The Faculty of Law will meet its savings targets with the following three measures:

  • One postdoc position (start-up funding) will be abolished
  • One doctoral position will be abolished
  • Reduction of teaching assignments by nine credit hours per year

This latter measure will result in certain Master’s courses no longer offered every two semesters, but instead every three semesters.

The last two cost-saving measures will take effect from 2021.


Faculty of Medicine

The Faculty of Medicine has an annual budget of 123.0 million Swiss francs (as of 2017). It must reduce this budget by 2.8 million francs by 2021, which corresponds to a reduction of 2.3 percent. 

Measures

The following professorships will no longer be filled:

  • Macroscopic Anatomy
  • Reproductive Medicine/Endocrinology
  • Child and Adolescent Developmental Psychopathology 
  • Inflammation and Infection Pathology (one of five pathology professorships)
  • Physiology (one of four physiology professorships)

In addition, the research facilities of the professorships of the university dental clinics (UZB) will be reduced significantly from 2020.

Despite the cost-cutting measures, the following professorships can be newly established thanks to newly acquired third-party funds:

  • Infectious diseases and hospital hygiene
  • Emergency medicine
  • Ophthalmology Research Professorship

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

The Faculty of Philosophy and History has an annual budget of CHF 35.7 million (as of 2017). It must reduce this by 900,000 francs by 2021, which corresponds to a reduction of 2.5 percent.  

The Faculty of Humanities based its decisions not only on the individual subject but also on the faculty’s overall situation. Solutions had to be found for subjects with different capacities and resource requirements, and strategic aspects relating to the future development of the faculty also had to be considered.

In areas where it has already been possible to create solutions by leveraging synergies between two subjects, new permanent professorships have been announced. For example, Sociology and Political Science have decided to establish a joint professorship for Political Sociology.

Measures

Two professorships will be abolished:

  • Historical-Comparative Linguistics
  • Near Eastern Classical Studies

Near Eastern Archeology and Historical-Comparative Linguistics, two very minor subjects with just a few students, will be discontinued. Neither are run under a full professorship, but in one case by a titular professor with teaching assignments and the other under a half professorship.

The following will be announced as new, temporary assistant professorships:

  • Professorship in Ibero-Roman Studies
  • Professorship in German Studies
  • Professorship in Media Science
  • Professorship in History  

With this approach, the Faculty of Humanities can achieve the required savings and now start carefully planning the longer-term solutions.


Faculty of Science

The Faculty of Science has a budget of 95.9 million Swiss francs (as of 2017). It must reduce this by 2.3 million francs by 2021, which corresponds to a reduction of 2.4 percent.

To avoid interrupting the current dynamics of the faculty’s development, the plan is to make the necessary savings largely without removing any professorships. Instead, the targets will be met mainly by structural savings in the departments’ central budgets, and through cuts to the personnel and operating budgets of the research groups. A professorship will have to be abolished only in the Department of Environmental Sciences. The savings targets of the individual organizational units will be achieved mainly by the following measures:

Measures
  • Department Biozentrum:
    → Reduction in assistant positions by 6.9
    → Reduction in central personnel and operating resources

  • Department of Environmental Sciences
    → Removal of a vacant professorship in earth sciences

  • Departement of Physics
    → Removal of a position in the field of astrophysics (research assistant)

  • Department of Mathematics & Computer Science
    → Reduction in assistant positions by 1.0

  • Department of Chemistry
    → Reduction in central staff resources

  • Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
    → Making cuts to central staff resources

In addition, various smaller cuts to personnel and operating resources are planned for both the individual research groups and the central departments.

The personnel cuts can be fully realized through non-replacement of vacant positions.


Faculty of Business and Economics

The Faculty of Economic Sciences has a budget of CHF 10.4 million (as of 2017). It must reduce this by 70,000 francs by 2021, which corresponds to a reduction of 0.7 percent.

From 2019, the Faculty of Business and Economics will no longer receive the external funding used to co-finance a structural professorship. In addition, the faculty’s staff-student ratio is unfavorable compared with that of other faculties. As a result, the savings contribution made by Business and Economics is below average.

Measures
  • The required savings will be made by not filling an administrative position that will become vacant (retirement).
  • Non-renewal of two junior fellowships (Laspeyres Fellowship) and non-appointment of an assistant professorship will free up funds to create two university lectureships (each 60%), which will improve the staff-student ratio.

Faculty of Psychology

The Faculty of Psychology has a budget of CHF 10.3 million (as of 2017). It must reduce this budget by 330,000 francs by 2021, which corresponds to a reduction of 3.2 percent.

Meaures
  • Non-appointment of a vacant professorship in clinical psychology and neuroscience. This professorship should be filled as a priority as soon as the necessary funds are available again.


Interdisciplinary areas

The interdisciplinary areas have a budget of CHF 3.5 million (as of 2017). They must reduce this by 50,000 francs by 2021, which corresponds to a reduction of 1.4 percent.

The four university institutes – Educational Science, Biomedical Ethics, Philanthropy Studies and European Global Studies – will contribute a total of CHF 50,000 pa with smaller measures.

Savings in the area of real estate

Savings target (structural, to be achieved by 2021) in CHF million: 15.9

Measures

  • The largest contribution will be made by a reduction in the size of the real estate fund, which is intended to finance future university construction projects.
  • Further savings will be made in the area of facility management, mainly through bundling, optimizing and re-tendering of external services.

The reduction in contributions to the real estate fund means that less money will be available for future construction projects at the University of Basel. Construction projects are prioritized in a rolling plan on the basis of available funds.

Strategy 2030

The performance period 2018–2021 is seen as a transitional period and consolidation phase by the University of Basel. In the subsequent period, the University of Basel should once again have the opportunity to invest in key strategic areas in order to maintain its position as one of the best universities in the world.

The University Council and University Management are currently formulating Strategy 2030, which should be finalized by fall 2019. On the basis of Strategy 2030, the supporting cantonal governments will then set the targets for the performance period 2022–2025 in the fourth quarter of 2019. The governments thus define a framework on the basis of which the University of Basel can start planning for the performance period 2022–2025.

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