After several meetings with the IHEID Administration over the last weeks, I am glad that I can finally present you the results of the discussions regarding the changes in the relationship between IHEID and UNIGE.
A) General overview of the changes
The changes brought by the new convention between UNIGE and IHEID affect IHEID students generally in two areas, the end of their registration at theUNIGE and the end of UNIGE recognition of degrees awarded by the institute. There will be no changes in the access to services at the UNIGE (sports, cultural, housing etc.) and no change in the possibility to attend courses at UNIGE (there might be even an increased number of UNIGE courses open to IHEID students).
The changes do also not affect the private or public nature of the IHEID. The IHEID has always been an institute supported by a not-for-profit foundation. The largest contributors to the budget of the foundation remain the Swiss federal government and the Canton of Geneva.
B) UNIGE recognition of IHEID degrees
With regards to the end of UNIGE recognition of IHEID degrees, the IHEID administration confirmed that this will not affect already enrolled students.Everyone who is presently registered at the IHEID will receive the degree/diploma they could expect to receive at the time of their enrolment. The incoming students starting this year in September have been informed about the changes and with very few exceptions nevertheless confirmed their admission offer.
This also solves most of the issues relating to degree recognition in students’ homecountries, as the degrees received will not change for already enrolled students. In particular, the IHEID is now listed as “Recognised or Accredited Swiss Higher Education Institution” on the website of the Rectors’ Conference of Swiss Higher Education Institutions and the Institute is recognised by the “ecole d’avocature”, important for those intending to obtain their bar qualification in Switzerland.
C) End of UNIGE registration
This leaves issues connected to the end of the registration of IHEID students at UNIGE. The institute could already resolve most of them. In particular, theIHEID is now independently listed with the US government as an academic institution to ensure access of IHEID students to funding and deferrals of loan repayments.
Students who are presently writing a PhD thesis with a co-supervisor from the UNIGE can continue without any changes, this form of academic cooperation is encouraged by the agreement between UNIGE and IHEID. PhD students presently working for UNIGE should also be able to continue their work and extend their contract, the details are discussed on the level of the directorates of UNIGE and IHEID.
There remain, however, two areas where the end of the registration might cause issues for students now or for future generations of students.
1) Government loans & scholarships
There is a number of countries where the possibility to attain government loans or scholarships for studies abroad is depending on the institution where the studies are pursued being listed in international rankings above a certain threshold. If you are receiving such a loan or scholarship from your government and want to verify whether there is any issue for you, please contact directly the Administrative Director of the Institute, Bruno Chatagnat (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please also contact the Administrative Director if you see potential issues for future students from your country, irrespective of whether you presently receive government support, to ensure that the institute can prevent issues for future students.
2) SNSF Funding for PhD Students
Presently, applications for SNSF funding by IHEID PhD students are examined and assessed by the UNIGE research commission. This will no longer be the case in the future, as IHEID students will not be registered as UNIGE students anymore. The IHEID is at the moment in ongoing discussions with the SNSF with the goal to establish equal access to SNSF funding for its PhD students. However, for IHEID PhD students applying for funding in the September 2016 deadline funding round, the UNIGE has been asked to agree to process their applications through their research commission. An answer is expected soon. The IHEID is confident that a permanent independent solution will be established for the subsequent funding rounds in 2017 and later. As only applications by doctoral students are processed by the research commissions, Professors, Post-Doc researchers and research projects & centres apply directly to the SNSF, the changes have no effect on PhD students indirectly funded by the SNSF through contracts with research centres or work for research projects.
If you have any further questions or concerns on this topic, I am fully at your disposal via e-Mail, telephone, during the Master & PhD Forums and in my office hours. In case you have specific concerns relating to your personal situation, I would kindly ask you to contact directly the IHEID Director of Administration directly, as he has a better overview over country- and programme-specific details.
With kind regards
Konstantin Kleine, LL.M. (IHEID)
Ph.D. Student | International Law
Vice-President for the PhD Programmes | Graduate Institute Student Association
Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies
Office hours: Thursday 13:00 – 14:00 (@campus, Cafeteria) and Thursday 14:00 – 15:00 (GISA Office)
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