Leading education

With its world-renowned university and institutes of higher education, the canton of Vaud has established itself at the forefront of education and research.

Switzerland is one of the countries which devote the largest proportion of their per capita GDP to education. The country has 10 universities, two Federal Institutes of Technology which figure among the top 100 universities in the world according to the famous Shanghai ranking, and seven specialized institutes of higher education.

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Education & Research

A unique model in the world

The Swiss apprenticeship system is virtually unique in the world and enables the country to maintain the industrial expertise that has seen the term "Swiss Made" become a byword for quality abroad. The system, which involves significant practical experience with a company and theory lessons in a professional school, is highly regarded throughout the country. Two-thirds of young people opt for this path and choose one of 250 possible trades, taught in over 56,000 companies which were part of the scheme in 2017.

It means that the students are well-educated professionals who are ready for the job market, and that the canton has a qualified, motivated and multilingual workforce.

Education in the canton of Vaud

Vaud occupies a crucial position in the country in terms of education. It is the only canton, along with Zurich, to have a university, a Federal Institute of Techology (EPFL), and various institutes of higher education.

Higher education excellence

The excellence of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) is regularly highlighted in international rankings. One of EPFL’s biggest success stories is Nexthink, the leader in digital employee experience (DEX) manage- ment software. With $180M in financing, this EPFL spin-off reached a $1.1 billion valuation making it the second unicorn (a startup that has gone on to be valued at over one billion US dollars) after MindMaze. Another unicorn from Vaud is ADC Therapeutics, which in 2019 achieved the best fundraising on a Swiss scale with CHF110 million raised. Despite fewer funds being put into new projects in 2020 due to the pandemic, it is impressive that five Vaud startups raised a total of CHF 272 million in 2020, ranking them in the Top 20 most important fundraising rounds in Switzerland.

EPFL also houses the National Center of Competence in Research Robotics, as well as the Swiss Data Center run jointly with ETH Zurich. These centers aim to accelerate the use of data science and machine-learning techniques for both the academic community and the industrial sector. Of particular importance is the Trust Valley, Switzerland’s center of expertise on digital trust and cybersecurity, launched in 2020.

The University of Lausanne (UNIL) has seen several of its researchers win the Nobel Prize, the most recent being Jacques Dubochet in December 2017 for his cutting-edge and highly promising chemistry research. Switzerland ranks first in Nobel Laureates per capita. The Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne regularly has its MBA programs ranked among the best in the world., while the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) is an international benchmark in hospitality.

Specialized institutes of higher education

The specialized institutes of higher education spread across the canton contribute significantly to its excellence in education. They include the School of Management and Engineering Vaud (HEIG-VD) and the Joux Valley Technical School (ETVJ), which teaches the venerable skill of watch manufacture. The density of research institutes in the canton and the region provides access to a pool of talents that is unparalleled in terms of the cross-disciplinary nature of the institutes and the skills they proffer.

Private Schools

An overview of the educational system here must include one of the most prestigious private schools in the world, Institut Le Rosey, which has been educating international royalty for over a century. In addition, to name but a few of the 60-plus private schools in Vaud, there are the Surval School and Institut Monte Rosa in Montreux, the Collège Alpin Beau Soleil and Aiglon College in Villars, the International School of Lausanne and Collège Champittet in Pully. They all provide an excellent education with advanced programs not only in English and German but also in Mandarin and Russian.