Working at SERI: Isabella Brunelli

Gain insight into the work of SERI: Isabella Brunelli is the Deputy Head and Scientific Advisor of the Higher Education Policy Unit.

Author: Simone Keller
An SERI employee stands in the stairwell

What do you do exactly?

My work mainly revolves around the Federal Act on the Funding and Coordination of the Higher Education Sector (HEdA). Among other things, I draft ordinances and provide legal support and guidance to members of our unit. The Swiss Conference of Higher Education Institutions (SHK), which is the joint federal-cantonal policymaking body for the Swiss higher education sector, is also managed by our unit. Depending on the topic at hand, I prepare and finalise the SHK's files. As deputy head, I need to maintain an overview of our unit's activities on an ongoing basis.

What do you like about your work in particular?

I like the wide range of topics and issues covered. At the same time, I find working as a civil servant and engaging with partners outside the public sector to be very interesting and dynamic. I value the dialogue and cooperation with my colleagues both in and outside our unit. Legislative work is also very exciting: formulating concepts in clear legal language and finding solutions to problems are often quite challenging. I enjoy working in several languages, which is a reflection of our country’s rich cultural heritage. 

What challenges do you expect in the near future?

There are several challenges that our unit has had to address in order to maintain the high quality, competitiveness and coordination of the Swiss higher education sector. Funding authorisation procedures had to be rolled out for eleven universities by the end of 2022. In addition, one or two ordinances will need to be revised based on the decisions soon to be reached by the SHK. And finally, HEdA funding mechanisms and project-based subsidies are currently undergoing evaluation. The results of these evaluations will serve as the basis for preparation of the ERI Dispatch for 2025-2028. 

Isabella Brunelli, SERI Deputy Head of Unit Higher Education Policy +41 58 462 96 64
Simone Keller