A high-level delegation of university rectors will visit Switzerland this week. The delegation will hold formal talks in Bern at the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation and also visit universities and universities of applied sciences in Basel, Geneva, Lausanne and Zurich.
Discussions will cover developments, priorities and internationalisation goals in education and research in Switzerland and Iran, the Swiss government said in a statementexternal link on Monday.
The Iranian delegates’ main interests are medical research and environmental science, and their primary aim is to identify how much potential there is for cooperating with Swiss partners in these areas using existing national research support mechanisms, it said. The delegation will therefore visit various Swiss universities of applied sciences to talk directly to potential partners.
Switzerland and Iran enjoy good relations in research, according to the Swiss the government, but the scale of cooperation has so far been rather limited. Bilateral cooperation mostly takes the form of direct cooperation between individual researchers and universities.
Several Swiss higher education institutions have signed cooperation agreements with Iranian institutions in recent years. Since 2011, the Swiss National Science Foundationexternal link has supported 16 Swiss projects with an Iranian cooperation element. Most of the cooperation takes place in mathematics, natural sciences and engineering, but there have also been some cooperation projects in the humanities and social sciences.
Since 1961, 90 Swiss Government Excellence Scholarshipsexternal link have been awarded to young Iranian researchers. Over 600 Iranian students are currently enrolled at a Swiss higher education institution, making Iranians the third-largest group of Asian students.