Risk management

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ETH Board

2020 was an unusual year. EPFL’s Risk Management Committee continued its efforts throughout the year to anticipate and mitigate the risks our School faces. It placed a particular focus on the legal, financial, organizational and safety risks that arose from the pandemic, remote working, the suspension of certain activities and the transformation of certain processes.

Risk management at EPFL

Risk management at EPFL is overseen by our Risk Management Committee, which carries out wide-scale assessments to identify and measure the risks to which our School is exposed.


Our primary risk management principles

  • Protecting and promoting our School’s core asset – our reputation – by instilling a culture that encourages being aware of and addressing risks rather than avoiding them.
  • Upholding our School’s shared values of integrity, innovation, creativity, excellence and open-mindedness.
  • Encouraging staff and students to think about and discuss important decisions, so that they can better understand all possible options and potential consequences.
  • Fostering an open dialogue, especially about uncertain situations, the environment and different ways we can reach our School’s objectives.

The main risks we face

These are risks that could have a major impact on our School’s reputation or finances. They mainly concern the following areas: Protecting our human capital.

  • Maintaining and managing our funding.
  • Providing high-quality teaching (logistics and teaching programs).
  • Ensuring research quality and integrity.
  • Transferring the technology we develop.
  • Protecting our data and IT systems.
  • Managing our infrastructure effectively.


Our internal control system

EPFL’s internal control system (ICS) is based on legal requirements and is used to monitor major financial processes and the corresponding risks, which are assessed and covered by key controls. The ICS includes processes and measures to ensure that accounting, reporting and the financial statements drawn up under IPSAS are compliant. The ICS is audited by the Swiss Federal Audit Office and the ETH Board’s internal audit team.

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