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‘Reliable’ Switzerland ready to play role in EU research

Swiss Scientist working in a laboratory
While outside of the Horizon Europe programme, Swiss researchers might find it harder to apply for funding. © Keystone / Christian Beutler

Switzerland is ready to enter negotiations on association to the EU’s research and innovation programme “Horizon Europe”, says Swiss State Secretary Martina Hirayama.

In a meeting with EU politicians, Hirayama suggested that European and worldwide collaboration on research and innovation that aimed to find long-term solutions to global issues was increasingly important, the government said in a statementExternal link on Tuesday.

The informal meeting, held in Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana on Monday, centred on discussing the collaboration between EU states and international partners on matters of research and innovation.

European collaboration is currently facilitated in part by the European programme “Horizon Europe”, the biggest research and innovation funding programme in the world. Switzerland lost access to the programme last week after it ended negotiations on its framework agreement with the EU in May.

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While outside of the Horizon Europe programme, Swiss researchers can still apply for funding, albeit in a limited capacity.

The government’s aim therefore remains to gain full association with the programme, Hirayama emphasised on Monday. She said Switzerland remained “a reliable and valuable partner in research and innovation”, and that the country was ready to enter negotiations to regain association with the EU’s research programme.

Hirayama also welcomed the emphasis that was placed by Slovenia’s six-month presidency of the Council of the EU on achieving gender equality in the fields of research and innovation. This emphasis falls in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Hirayama said Switzerland remained a driving force behind the push to achieve these goals, and that research and innovation played a key role in realising these targets.

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