Switzerland is currently a non-associated third country in terms of the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation "Horizon Europe" and related programmes and initiatives. Under this status, researchers and innovators in Switzerland can participate in roughly two thirds of the programme. However, they do not receive funding from the European Commission. On 20 October, the Federal Council instructed the EAER to provide direct funding to the players concerned and approved the necessary credit reallocations. In addition, it has instructed the EAER, in cooperation with the FDF, to examine possible complementary and replacement measures to strengthen Switzerland's standing as a location for research and innovation.
As Switzerland is currently considered a non-associated third country in the 2021-2027 Horizon package, Swiss research and innovation actors can only participate in two thirds of the programme. Even where participation is possible, Swiss project partners do not receive funding from the European Commission, but from the Federal Government or rather the EAER/State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI). This direct funding is provided for in the 2020 federal decree on the Horizon package. It covers all elements of the 2021-2027 Horizon package. These include Horizon Europe, the Euratom programme, the Digital Europe Programme DEP and participation in the ITER research infrastructure. The Federal Council initiated the necessary credit reallocations on 20 October 2021. As a result, funding for project participants in Switzerland amounting to around CHF 400 million for 2021 can be secured directly from SERI.
In addition, the Federal Council has instructed the EAER, in cooperation with the FDF, to examine possible complementary and replacement measures to strengthen Switzerland’s long-term standing as a location for research and innovation. Replacement measures should take effect if no association is possible in the long term. The results of these studies will be available by mid-2022 for possible complementary measures, and in the course of 2023 for any replacement measures. However, the Federal Council’s overriding aim remains Switzerland’s association with the Horizon package at the earliest opportunity.
The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon Europe, runs from 2021 to 2027. With an overall budget of EUR 95 billion, it is the largest research and innovation funding programme in the world. Together with the temporary economic stimulus package NextGenerationEU, it aims to promote the green and digital transformation across Europe. Switzerland was fully associated to the predecessor programme Horizon 2020 and is seeking the same status for Horizon Europe and its related programmes and initiatives (in particular the Euratom programme, the Digital Europe Programme, and participation in the ITER research infrastructure).
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