Strengthening of cooperation between Switzerland and Japan on science and technology

- EN - DE
Bern, 05.03.2018 - Since the signing of the agreement between the Swiss Federal Council and the government of Japan on scientific and technological cooperation in 2017, cooperation in the fields of research and innovation between the two countries has increased significantly. At the fourth meeting of the joint committee for scientific and technological cooperation between Switzerland and Japan, which took place in Tokyo on 28 February, steps were taken to further strengthen cooperation and gauge additional possibilities for cooperation.

Eleven years after the signing of the agreement on scientific and technological cooperation between Switzerland and Japan the balance is extremely positive: the efforts undertaken and the funding instruments made available have resulted in a significant strengthening and facilitation of bilateral cooperation. At the fourth meeting of the joint committee for scientific and technological cooperation in Tokyo, the already well-established direct cooperation between the various research funding agencies was further strengthened: the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and its Japanese counterpart, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), signed a Memorandum of Understanding intended to further extend and facilitate their direct cooperation. The ground was also prepared for a joint project call to be launched by the SNSF and the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) in the spring. The members of the Swiss delegation were also able to sound out further possibilities for cooperation with representatives from the Japanese institutions.

Japan is one of the most important Asian partner countries for Swiss researchers. Between 2013 and 2017 Swiss researchers from over 160 SNSF-funded projects worked with researchers from Japan. Particular attention is given to enabling young researchers to travel: So far over 200 Japanese researchers have been able to conduct research at Swiss universities for a limited time thanks to the Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships. Since 2014 the ETH Zurich has offered travel grants to young researchers from Japan in cooperation with JSPS. Since 2008 the ETH Zurich has been the Leading House for cooperation between Swiss universities and researchers with Japanese partners. In the period 2017-2020 the ETHZ is taking on that role also for China, South Korea and the ASEAN member states and has further expanded the existing measures and instruments to promote bilateral scientific cooperation.
There is also close direct cooperation between universities and research institutions from Switzerland and Japan; there are currently over 60 partnerships between Swiss universities and partner institutions in Japan.

The Swiss delegation, consisting of representatives from funding agencies and institutions from the higher education and research sector and led by Ambassador Mauro Moruzzi, was received in Tokyo by a Japanese delegation comprising representatives from the Cabinet Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), as well as by Japan’s leading research institutions and funding agencies.

The State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation, Mauro Dell’Ambrogio, was also in Tokyo at the same time to attend the second International Space Exploration Forums (ISEF2). During the event he held talks with Yoshimasa Hayashi, the Japanese minister for education, culture, sport, science and technology.