About HES-SOHES-SOAbout us

Who we are

Since 1998, the HES-SO University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Western Switzerland has become a great source of skills, ideas, innovation, creativity and knowledge.
HES-SO University of Applied Sciences and Arts is recognised by the Confederation and member of swissuniversities.
With its 28 schools of higher education, the HES-SO plays a preeminent role in the socio-economic and cultural development of the seven cantons of Western Switzerland and is a recognised player within the Swiss and international landscape of higher education.

With 21,000 students, the HES-SO is the largest HES in Switzerland. Its various study streams and research activities fall into six faculties: Design and Fine Arts; Business, Management and Services; Engineering and Architecture; Music and Performing Arts; Health; and Social Work.

Vademecum 2015-2016



The Rectorate directs and represents the HES-SO. It is composed of the Rector, who presides over it, three Vice-Rectors and a Secretary General. The Rectorate is supported by the Central Services in Delémont.

Luciana Vaccaro, Rector

Luciana Vaccaro has been the first female Rector of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Western Switzerland since October 1st, 2013.

Along with the Rectorate team, which assumed office at the beginning of 2014, the Rector pursues the development of academic missions encompassing the reinforcement of the HES-SO’s proximity with the relevant professional environments as well as its promotion within the higher learning, research and innovation landscapes nationally and internationally.

In May 2014, Luciana Vaccaro was designated as successor to Monika Wohler (Fachhochschule Ostschweiz) on the Council of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) as Representative of the Rectors’ Conference of the Swiss Universities of Applied Sciences (KFH). This position, which came into effect in September 2014, marks the first time for the HES-SO.

With an Ph.D. in Sciences from the EPFL, Luciana Vaccaro began her career as Assistant Professor at the Microtechnic Institute of the University of Neuchâtel (Institut de microtechnique de l’Université de Neuchâtel), before taking on the directorship of a MAS (Master of Advanced Studies) programme in Health Economics at the University of Lausanne.

In 2009, she established the Grants Office of the EPFL, which she led up until her nomination to the head of the HES-SO.

See also the presentation by Luciana Vaccaro at the 2014 TEDx Geneva conference on the theme of “Academic liberty, public funding and social ethics” ( «Liberté académique, fonds publics et éthique sociétale»).

Yves Rey, Vice-Rector, Teaching

After directing the faculty of Management and Services in Valais, Yves Rey took on the overall responsibility for this field at the HES-SO in 2007.

As such, he directed the field in 6 schools as well as the HES-SO Master.

As Vice-Rector, Teaching, he is now tasked with reinforcing the academic aspects, as well as guiding the institutional accreditation process and the positioning of the HES-SO study streams.


Patrick Furrer, Vice-Rector, Research and Innovation

Patrick Furrer is responsible for the coordination and reinforcement of research and innovation within the HES-SO.

With strong experience as a researcher, he has built a solid network with partners both nationally and internationally.

Formerly Vice-Director of Euresearch, he led the National Contact Point for Information and Communication Technologies for 12 years.


Denis Berthiaume, Vice-Rector, Quality

Denis Berthiaume brings to the HES-SO broad international expertise gained as a lecturer in university pedagogy and international relations in France, Belgium, Canada, Japan, Morocco, the United Kingdom and Tunisia.

Denis Berthiaume has also led the centre for teaching support of the University of Lausanne.

Prior to joining the HES-SO, he worked as a consultant in teaching development for higher learning, working with 30 institutions of higher learning in six countries.

Sarah Kopse-Scholberg, Secretary General

Sarah Kopse-Scholberg assists the Rector and the Office in the steering and management of the institution.
She was previously a consultant for a project linked to Harvard University, where she earned her MPA.

She also worked for five years with the Federal Parliament as a sub-commissions secretary and scientific staff member.

Before joining the HES-SO, Sarah Kopse-Scholberg was advisor to the Director General of the SRG SSR.


> Organigramme

The Governmental Committe is the highest authority of political oversight of the HES-SO and its organ of strategic direction.

The Strategic Committee offers the HES-SO’s Governmental Committee its external experience and expertise.

The Inter-parliamentary Control Commission is tasked with coordinated oversight of the HES-SO. It is composed of seven cantonal delegations, each including seven members of the relevant cantonal parliament.

The Steering committee is composed of the Rector, five director generals of the schools of the partner cantons/regions as well as the heads of faculties. It ensures the relationship between the faculties, the schools, and the Rectorate. It has say on all submissions to the Governmental Committee.

The Faculties Councils are composed of members of the management of the relevant schools. They are presided by the Head of faculty.

The Consulting Council is composed of 15 to 21 members representing HES-SO students and staff from the schools. They are elected by their peers. 

Each faculty has a Participatory Council composed of a representative from the teaching and research staff, from the administrative and technical staff, as well as students elected by their peers:

The schools of higher education are situated in the partner cantons/regions, who organise them freely in guaranteeing the autonomy necessary to their operation and their independence from the cantonal administration. The leadership of the schools of higher learning is directly linked to the Rector’s Office by a mandate of services.



Dans le cadre d'une nouvelle convention ratifiée par tous les gouvernements et parlements des cantons partenaires  Berne, Fribourg, Genève, Jura, Neuchâtel, Valais et Vaud, la HES-SO se dote d'une nouvelle organisation académique dès 2013.

Organigramme de la HES-SO
Nouvelle convention
Nouvelle convention avec commentaires
Loi fédérale sur l’encouragement des hautes écoles et la coordination 
dans le domaine suisse des hautes écoles LEHE

Plan d'intentions HES-SO

La HES-SO avec ses hautes écoles et domaines se dote d’une planification stratégique à l’horizon 2020

Pour relever les défis majeurs de l’enseignement supérieur en Suisse, la HES-SO établit un plan d’intentions quinquennal (2015-2020). Outre le renforcement de l’enseignement, de la recherche et des prestations de services, les seize objectifs de développements énumérés dans ce document doivent également contribuer à accroître la cohérence de l’institution et à améliorer sa visibilité.   

 picto pdf   Lire le communiqué de presse

 picto pdf   Plan d'intentions HES-SO



La HES-SO dispense un enseignement de niveau tertiaire universitaire axé sur la pratique et qui s’inscrit prioritairement dans le prolongement d’une formation professionnelle de base. Ses formations sont sanctionnées par un diplôme de Bachelor et Master HES-SO. L’offre comprend également des études postgrades et du perfectionnement professionnel.

La HES-SO réalise des projets de recherche appliquée et de développement dont elle intègre les résultats à ses enseignements. Elle fournit des prestations à des tiers et assure les échanges avec les milieux de la pratique.

La HES-SO encourage le transfert de connaissances, de technologies et de pratiques artistiques. Pluridisciplinaire, elle est orientée vers l’innovation et la créativité. Elle contribue à l’élargissement des connaissances et à leur mise en valeur au profit des étudiantes et étudiants ainsi que de la société. Elle veille également à assurer un développement économique, social, écologique, environnemental et culturel durable et prend en compte le bilinguisme dans les cantons concernés.

La HES-SO collabore avec d’autres institutions de formation et de recherche en Suisse ou à l’étranger.





The Conference of the cantonal offices for professional training of French-speaking Switzerland and Ticino (CRFP) decides to create a single UAS for Western Switzerland.


The Swiss Parliament votes in the Federal law on UASs.


The Ordinance for the creation and management of the Universities of Applied Sciences (OHES) of 11 September 1996 sets out the Federal law on the UASs. It specifies in particular the degree courses, the approved qualifications, as well as the measures relating to professional development and applied research and development.


The Intercantonal Concordat on the HES-SO is signed. It binds the cantons involved and determines the structures and operational methods of the HES-SO in the fields of Engineering Sciences and Architecture, Business, Management and Services and Applied Arts.


The Intercantonal Agreement on the UASs regulates access to the UAS at intercantonal level, together with the contributions to be made by the students’ home cantons to the UAS authorities.


The Intercantonal HES-S2 Convention creates the UAS of Health and Social Work of Western Switzerland (S2). The degree courses start a year later.


Merge of SO and S2: the fields Engineering Sciences and Architecture, Business, Management and Services, Design and Health, Social Work are brought together under the label of HES-SO.


Integration of music into the HES-SO provision. The Intercantonal Agreement on the Universities of Applied Sciences (AHES) of the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education comes into force. This text specifies the contributions to be made by the students’ home cantons to the UAS authorities.


Start of the integration of the Fine arts into the HES-SO provision.


The HES-SO is given the authority to launch eight new Master programmes (Engineering Sciences, Business, Management and Services, Music, Design and Fine Arts) that augments the existing offer in Architecture and Cinema.


In April 2008 the Federal Council confirms the HES-SO’s management authorisation. At the end of November the Strategic Committee of the HES-SO submits a preliminary draft of the Agreement to the Federal Council.


In February, the Federal Department of Economic Affairs authorizes the launch of the Master in Nursing Sciences offered jointly by the HES-SO and the University of Lausanne. In August, the group of experts appointed by the Federal Council submits its report on the preliminary draft of the Agreement.


In January, the Federal Council unconditionally approved the HES-SO’s preliminary draft agreement.


The Federal Department of Economic Affairs authorises the launch of the two Master programmes en Ingénierie du territoire (Geomatics, Land Management and Civil Engineering) and in Theatre with the Master Campus Theater CH. In July, the new agreement is submitted for consultation by the cantonal governments. In November, the first cantonal Parliament (Valais)
validates this document unanimously.


The new inter-cantonal agreement is validated by the parliaments of all the HES-SO cantons (Be-Ju-Ne, Genève, Fribourg, Valais, Vaud). HES-SO//Transition is launched in order to streamline the transition towards this new agreement and to prepare for the future institutional accreditation.


New agreement enters into effect. The Governing Committee nominates the first Rector of the HES-SO. A full Rector’s Council, composed of three Vice-Rectors and a Secretary General, is nominated in December. The HES-SO celebrates its 15th anniversary.


In March, accession of a new Rectorate. Launch of a Bachelor of Science HES-SO in Oesteopathy (September 2014), a Master in Interdisciplinary Innovation for Product & Business Development (INNOKICK – September 2015), a Master of Science HES-SO in Global Hospitality Business (September 2015).


First elections at the HES-SO and the HES-SO Valais-Wallis.

A collaborative council and six disciplinary 

participatory councils are elected for the entire HES-SO and a representative council for the HES-SO Valais-Wallis.


HES-SO Rectorate
Route de Moutier 14
2800 - Delémont
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