The Swiss government has earmarked up to CHF28 billion ($28.6 billion) for the promotion of education and research over the next four years. That’s an increase of just over 2% compared with the previous period.
“The aim is to ensure that Switzerland remains an international leader in the field of education, research and innovation,” Education Minister Guy Parmelin told a news conference on Wednesday.
One of the key challenges for the government is digital transformation, according to Parmelin.
The government set priorities for vocational and professional training, for continuing education and higher education both at the Federal Institutes of Technology and the cantonal universities and colleges as well as for the promotion of research and innovation, notably with the National Science Foundationexternal link and the innovation agency, Innosuisseexternal link.
Most of the money is to go towards universities and research institutes but the government also wants to increase spending to boost adult basic skills courses as part of further training.
The funds, which still need to be approved by parliament, do not include Switzerland’s financial contribution for participation in European Union programmes in the field of research and innovation, notably Horizon Europeexternal link and Erasmusexternal link.
Parmelin said the key to Switzerland’s successful promotion of training, research and innovation is continuity, a long-term perspective and close cooperation between the 26 cantons and the federal authorities.
He said he was optimistic about planned talks with Brussels on associating Switzerland with EU research and education programmes.
Bilateral relations between the 27-nation bloc and Switzerland have stalled over the past few months amid uncertainty about a deal over the future of an umbrella accord.