About the project Swiss edu-ID

The project Swiss edu-ID was part of swissuniversities' program "Scientific information".
Development, implementation and deployment at universities was supported by federal funding.

Project results

Project duration

1.5.2014 - 30.6.2021
The project was split in two implementation phases for the service and four steps for the implementation at Swiss universities between 2016 and 2021.

At the beginning, there was an intensive exchange with members of the university IT on various topics related to the development of the new infrastructure (Swiss edu-ID Working Groups).
After that, the adoption could be supported mainly with workshops at the individual universities with their IT.


Swissuniversities has provided funding for the the development and implementation of the new infrastructure, as well as planning and adoption activities of universities (max. 50%).

Project motivation

Since 2003 SWITCH is developing and operating the well adopted SWITCHaai infrastructure for authentication and authorization. Swiss edu-ID was an initiative to further develop SWITCHaai and overcome some of its shortcomings, together with the Swiss Higher Education institutions.

The main features of SWITCH edu-ID are

Long-term identification

Users who own a SWITCH edu-ID account can keep it forever. Depending on the current status of a user (student, alumnus, post-doc, ...) the user has varying rights to access services and resources.

User-centric paradigm

The identity is owend and managed by the user. A user decides who will get access to personal information. It is in the responsibility of a user to keep the personal core data of the identity up-to-date.

Institution independence

The SWITCH edu-ID account is independent of the affiliation to an institution. It does not matter if a user is affiliated with one, multiple or no university - the user has always one SWITCH edu-ID identity.

Institutions are attribute authorities

A university decides about the attribute content that can be released for a user. Only universities can tell, what the current status of users at their institution is.

Attribute aggregation

If a user is affiliated with multiple universities, the SWITCH edu-ID infrastructure allows to aggregate attributes from multiple sources. With the user's consent aggregated attribute sets can be made available to services and resources.

Serve non-web resources

SWITCH edu-ID is designed to support authentication beyond web resources like mobile applications.

Link to other identities

The user is able to declare and prove links to researcher identities like ORCID or social identities. In a transition phase, SWITCH edu-ID should be linked by their users to the current aai-identities.

Broad target group

Basically, SWITCH edu-ID is available to all users who get in touch with an university: Students, researchers, staff, library clients, conference participants and guests, further education students, research guests, etc.

Flexible quality requirements

Users can edit most of their core profile information. Self-declared user attributes may be sufficient for some services, but most of them will require better attribute quality. SWITCH edu-ID attributes can be individually verified to raise their quality. Services decide what attribute quality they require.