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Horizon Europe is partially open again to researchers in Switzerland

A researcher writes on a white board and explains something to another person in the foreground
Since the spring of 2021, researchers in Switzerland have been cut off from access to the Horizon Europe program. Keystone / Ennio Leanza

Researchers in Switzerland can once again apply for certain Horizon Europe programmes starting on Wednesday. For the university association, Swissuniversities, this makes Switzerland a more attractive centre for higher education.

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The European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grants are open until August 29, 2024. Researchers in Switzerland can apply for these grants for the first time in three years. The ERC is part of the European Union’s (EU) Horizon Europe research programme.

“The participation of Swiss universities in the ERC is important for the recruitment of top researchers from around the world,” Martina Weiss, Secretary General of Swissuniversities, told the Keystone-SDA news agency. For researchers, the “very well-funded, highly competitive Advanced Grants” are an essential step in their careers.

+ Swiss researchers regain access to certain European programmes

However, access to these grants is not a valid substitute for full association with Horizon Europe, Weiss added. Swissuniversities emphasises the desire for Switzerland to be fully associated with Horizon Europe and the EU education programme Erasmus+.

Government funds participation with 600 million

Since the spring of 2021, researchers in Switzerland have been cut off from access to Horizon Europe. At that time, the Federal Council broke off negotiations on a framework agreement with the EU, and the EU classified Switzerland as a non-associated third country regarding its programmes.

+ Switzerland and EU want to negotiate, but optimism is limited

With the resumption of negotiations between the Federal Council and the EU Commission in March 2024, Switzerland will once again be treated as an associated third country for ERC Advanced Grants. However, the government will fund researchers’ participation. The Federal Council made CHF600 million ($657 million) available for this purpose in April.

Adapted from German by DeepL/dkk/sb

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