State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation pays official visit to Kazakhstan

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Bern, 11.09.2017 - Between 6 and 8 September, the State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation, State Secretary Mauro Dell’Ambrogio, paid an official visit to Astana in Kazakhstan, where the Expo 2017 is being held. He was accompanied on the trip by Walter Steinlin, the President of the Commission for Technology and innovation (CTI). State Secretary Dell’Ambrogio held talks with Yerlan Sagadiyev, the Minister for Education and Science, after which they signed a joint declaration. Citing the friendly partnership that exists between the two countries, the signatories stated their desire to continue to facilitate and encourage relations and direct contacts between the scientific communities in their two countries. The delegation also visited a number of higher education institutions in Astana and held talks with leading figures from the Kazakh scientific community.

Astana is the first city in central Asia to host a world exhibition. The Expo 2017 is dedicated to the theme of ’Future Energy’. Thanks to cooperation between Presence Switzerland and the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation, the Swiss Pavilion has for the first time featured a ’swissnex Lab’, which serves as a laboratory for ideas and interaction. As such, over the course of the last three months, the venue has welcomed around forty representatives from the Swiss education, research and innovation sectors, organised more than 50 scientific events, workshops and temporary exhibitions in collaboration with universities and industry partners, and presented various innovative projects in the field of energy. This initiative not only aims to promote Switzerland as a global leader in science, research and innovation, but also to strengthen ties and establish exchanges with Kazakhstan.

State Secretary Dell’Ambrogio took part in a roundtable event organised in the Swiss Pavilion on the topic of innovation in the energy sector and attended by high-level official representatives from the canton of Ticino.

The delegation also held talks with the rectors of Nazarbayev University and the Eurasian National University and met with representatives from the National Agency for Technology and Development.

Scientific cooperation between Switzerland and Kazakhstan is good, although rather modest. Cooperation projects are mainly funded through European framework research programmes and the SCOPES programme (Scientific Cooperation between Eastern Europe and Switzerland), jointly financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), part of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.

Over 40 young Kazakh researchers have benefitted from Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships since 1978.