One step ahead

Anyone can create a SWITCH edu-ID. This is the first step. Universities can then file a reference in the SWITCH edu-ID and grant access to their services. How do you proceed and what advantages do representatives of the universities anticipate?

Text: published on 02.10.2018

Independent of a university, anyone can create a SWITCH edu-ID. Things get interesting when a person can demonstrate their status at a university (e.g. as a student or professor) via their SWITCH edu-ID. This expanded identity allows for the use of services reserved for university members. Membership status at a university – affiliation – can be easily added to a SWITCH edu-ID and altered by the university. If the individual leaves the university, they lose their associated affiliation. Only the private SWITCH edu-ID, which is owned and controlled by the individual, remains permanent.

If a university switches from SWITCHaai to SWITCH edu-ID, from a technical standpoint this means that mechanisms are implemented to ensure that the university status of each member is automatically shown as a SWITCH edu-ID affiliation.

Integration scenarios

What do these mechanisms look like? Universities differ greatly in how the personal data of their members is managed through identity management processes and processed in the IT infrastructure. SWITCH holds a detailed discussion with every university that wishes to integrate SWITCH edu-ID. Together, the ideal link between identity management processes and IT infrastructure is developed. In order to be able to support a multitude of integration scenarios, SWITCH already has numerous technical interfaces available.

Some universities will soon be fully integrating SWITCH edu-ID: for example, the University of Lucerne and the Swiss Distance Learning University will do so later this year.

Improved processes

There are around 600 employees, 300 lecturers and 2,800 students at the University of Lucerne. IT services are planning to gradually simplify their identity management processes and to introduce SWITCH edu-ID. In addition to the processes improved immediately, the potential of SWITCH edu-ID will also be exploited in the medium term in order to better manage alumni and students undertaking further training.

With 2,000 members, the Swiss Distance Learning University is around half the size of the University of Lucerne, and most of its 300 lecturers also work at other universities. They will benefit from SWITCH edu-ID, especially in the long run, as they will be able to combine all their affiliations into one identity. The Swiss Distance Learning University has used an internal reconfiguration of its campus administration and restructuring of its online student enrolment as an opportunity to introduce SWITCH edu-ID.


Jörg Andenmatten

Head of Informatics
Swiss Distance Learning University

"The migration to SWITCH edu-ID allowed us to generate added value for the students: for example, the lifetime validity of the new personal ID."



Armin Schibli

Project Manager
University of St.Gallen

"The centrally implemented feature enhancements from SWITCH are available to all universities. We did not need to carry out our own implementation, which meant less work for us."



Alexandre Roy

Senior IT Architect
University of Lausanne

"All universities must quickly plan this transition to SWITCH edu-ID and integrate it into their IT strategy with the support of their management."



Abdel Benhauresch

Head of ICT
Zug University of Teacher Education

"The majority of our students attend our professional training courses after completing their studies. We hope that by using SWITCH edu-ID, we will no longer have to provide them with logins."


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