Horizon package: Confederation funds further transitional measures for mono-beneficiary projects

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The Confederation will provide funding for transitional measures for the 2024 Starting and Consolidator Grants of the European Research Council (ERC). This was decided by the Federal Council on 25 October 2023. Owing to Switzerland’s current non-association status in the Horizon package, researchers here are not eligible to participate in the corresponding European calls for proposals.

The grants of the European Research Council promote excellence in basic research and are a central funding instrument for top researchers in Switzerland. In past calls for proposals, these researchers have excelled in international comparison. For this reason they should be offered an adequate national alternative, as in previous years. The Federal Council is making a maximum of CHF 84 million available for this purpose. To that end, funds that Parliament had allocated for Switzerland’s participation in the Horizon package at the end of 2020 will be used instead. The State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) will task the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) with the calls for proposals for 2024 SNSF Starting Grants and, if applicable, SNSF Consolidator Grants.

The Federal Council continues to pursue the goal of attaining association status for Switzerland with the Horizon package as soon as possible. However, the 2024 calls for proposals for the ERC Starting Grants and ERC Consolidator Grants will close in October and December 2023 respectively, so they will not be accessible to researchers in Switzerland even in the event of association in 2024.

Horizon Europe

Horizon Europe, the ninth EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, 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. Switzerland was associated to the predecessor programme, Horizon 2020. The Federal Council is seeking to attain the same status in Horizon Europe and related programmes and initiatives (Euratom programme, ITER and the Digital Europe Programme) as soon as possible. It has already adopted transitional measures amounting to CHF 1.85 billion for the 2021, 2022 and 2023 calls for proposals.