A Common Code for the Geneva Institutions of Higher Education

The HES-SO Geneva and the UNIGE now have a common code of ethics and professional conduct shared by a community of 30,000 people.




The University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Western Switzerland - Geneva (HES-SO Geneva) and the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, have adopted a common Code of ethics and professional conduct that commits both institutions and members of their academic community. The Code highlights the key values guiding their missions and activities and recalls the ethical guidelines in the fields of teaching, research, service to the community and service provision. The Code was drafted by the Committee on Ethics and Professional Conduct (CEP), an external and independent body common to both institutions. It pays particular attention to respect for the individual.


Following the entry into force of the new law on the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Western Switzerland - Geneva in 2017, the State Council of the Republic and Canton of Geneva decided to set up a joint Ethics and Professional Conduct Committee for the UNIGE and the HES-SO Geneva. In accordance with the legislator's wishes, the CEP examines and deals with ethical and deontological issues concerning both institutions. The CEP drafted a new Code by integrating the specificities of the HES-SO Geneva into the UNIGE Code. "We have reflected on the ethical foundations that apply to both institutions, rather than on their specific fields of expertise; this allows us to enforce a common approach and find synergies," explains its president Dominique Biedermann.


Respect for the individual

The Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct lists the principles that must guide the missions and activities of both institutions: the search for truth, freedom of teaching and research, commitment and responsibility towards the academic community, the society as a whole and the environment. It focuses on respect for the individual, which implies fair treatment for all members of the academic community, especially those in vulnerable situations. "The two institutions thus very clearly reaffirm certain principles that they consider fundamental, explain François Abbé-Decarroux, Director General of the HES-SO Geneva, and Yves Flückiger, Rector of the UNIGE. In particular, they shall promote equality of opportunity, a spirit of equity and respect, and shall prohibit all forms of discrimination, sexist behaviour and psychological or sexual harassment."

The Code is binding for both institutions and for all the members of their academic community: faculty, honorary professors, teaching and research collaborators, administrative and technical staff and students. In total, more than 30,000 people adhere to its ethical foundations and the rights and duties that flow from them for the academic community as a whole.

The Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct was adopted by the HES-SO Geneva Governing Board on 7 October 2019 after it was given pre-approval by the HES-SO Geneva Representative Council on 2 October 2019. It was adopted by the UNIGE Rectorate on 18 November 2019, upon pre-approval by the University Assembly on 30 October 2019. It enters into force as of today.



Founded in 1559 by Jean Calvin and Théodore de Bèze, the University of Geneva (UNIGE) is amongst the 100 best universities in the world. It welcomes nearly 18,000 students to its nine faculties and fourteen interfaculty centres, and constantly strengthens its links with international and non-governmental organizations in Geneva, one of the world's capitals of multilateralism. As a member of the League of European Research Universities (LERU), UNIGE pursues three missions: teaching, research and service to the community. It works closely with the City and the Canton, companies and public or private institutions to spread the knowledge, academic skills and spirit of openness that characterize it. www.unige.ch


About HES-SO Geneva

HES-SO Geneva is a key player in Geneva's economic, social and cultural fabric. Its six schools offer tertiary education at university level, focused on professional practice and euro-compatible; they offer 26 Bachelor's and 22 Master's programs. Its 12 research institutes are involved in numerous regional, national and international projects. A member of the University of Applied Sciences of Western Switzerland, HES-SO Geneva includes the following six schools: Geneva School of Engineering, Architecture and Landscape (HEPIA); Geneva School of Business Administration (HEG); Geneva School of Art and Design (HEAD); Geneva School of Music (HEM); Geneva School of Health Sciences (HEdS); and Geneva School of Social Work (HETS). www.hesge.ch

5 Dec 2019


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