Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research EAER, considers the signing of the agreement to be an important step for Switzerland in securing international research cooperation. Switzerland's outstanding research activities must not be allowed to lose touch with those in the European Research Area. For Federal Councillor Schneider-Ammann the goal is still to achieve full association for Switzerland from 2017.
The agreement was signed with Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, and Stefania Giannini, the Italian Minister for Education, Universities and Research, and the representative of the Italian EU Council presidency. The Federal Council approved the agreement on 22 October. Partial association has been applied provisionally since 15 September. It allows researchers from Switzerland to participate in the following areas until the end of 2016:
Switzerland can continue to participate as a fully associated country in the first pillar, ‘Excellent Science'. This includes the valuable European Research Council grants and the Marie Curie Actions to which foster career development and mobility. The ‘Human Brain Project', which is coordinated by the EPFL also forms part of this pillar.
Furthermore, researchers from Switzerland can also participate as associated and equal partners in the programme section on ‘Spreading excellence and widening participation'. They can also take part in the Euratom research programme and the ITER fusion research project.
As an associated partner, researchers from Switzerland will again be funded through EU contributions. For all other areas of the Horizon 2020 programme Switzerland retains third country status: researchers from Switzerland may join European collaborative projects, but will not receive any financial contribution from the EU for their part of the project. Swiss project elements will be funded directly by the federal government in accordance with the transitional measures adopted by the Federal Council in June. Detailed information can be found at http://www.h2020.ch/.
If a solution can be found by 9 February 2017 regarding the free movement of persons and its extension to Croatia, the agreement will automatically be extended to all parts of the Horizon 2020 programme from 1 January 2017. If that is not the case, the agreement will expire and Switzerland will only be able to participate in Horizon 2020 as a third country from 1 January 2017.
Address for enquiries:
Noé Blancpain, Head of Information EAER
Tel. +41 78 748 61 63
State Secretariat for Education,
Research and Innovation SERI
Philipp Langer, Head, EU Framework Programmes
Tel. +41 58 462 96 93