Switzerland committed to international cooperation in research and innovation

Bern, Press releases, 14.01.2014

Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research, gave a speech at the national conference in Bern to inaugurate the 8th European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation "Horizon 2020". In his speech, he stressed the great importance that international cooperation in research and innovation has for Switzerland. "International cooperation will continue to increase in response to major global challenges", explained Federal Councillor Schneider-Ammann. The conference took place in the presence of EU Commissioner for Research and Innovation Ms Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, who stressed that "Horizon 2020" will improve living standards in Europe and strengthen Europe's economy in the face of international competition.

In his address to guests from the European Union as well as to academic, business and policymaking figures, Federal Councillor Schneider-Ammann reminded participants that major challenges such as climate change, energy supply, disease prevention and treatment, improvements in living conditions, and equal opportunities for all exceed the capacities of any individual country. "Switzerland therefore wishes to continue pursuing joint research endeavours with other countries as well as with the EU. We wish to achieve innovative breakthroughs together", stated Federal Councillor Schneider-Ammann. He went on to say that the EU research framework programme "Horizon 2020" will provide significant added value.

Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn and Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann met before the conference to discuss further development of the European Research Area, European research infrastructures and negotiations for the agreement on Swiss participation in "Horizon 2020".

Research framework programmes are the main means used by the EU to implement its common science and innovation policy. The eighth programme generation, "Horizon 2020 - European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation", began on 1 January 2014. Horizon 2020 will run through the end of 2020 and has a total budget of nearly EUR 80 billion. Covering fundamental research, applied research, technological development and demonstration projects, it encompasses nearly the entire value chain. Horizon 2020 will place greater emphasis on improving innovation capacities and encouraging cooperation between researchers and industry. In addition, over half of the budget will be devoted to projects relating to sustainable development.

Switzerland intends to once again contribute CHF 4.4 billion to maintain its associated member status. As was the case with FP6 and FP7, an agreement is currently being negotiated with the EU for Swiss participation in Horizon 2020. This agreement is expected to be signed over the course of 2014 and retroactively come into effect on 1 January 2014. This will ensure that there is no interruption in Switzerland's associated member status. Although the agreement has not yet been signed, researchers in Switzerland are already fully entitled to take part in Horizon 2020 projects and submit project proposals.

The conference organised by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) and the Euresearch information network in Bern will last from 14 to 17 January 2014. It is intended to raise awareness regarding the new European research framework programme "Horizon 2020" among decision-makers from the worlds of science and industry, politics as well as among researchers in Switzerland.

Further information:

Conference website

Address for enquiries:

Bruno Moor, State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation SERI
Head of International Cooperation in Research and Innovation Division
Tel. +41 31 322 96 78, bruno.moor@sbfi.admin.ch


Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research