Switzerland strengthens links with the European University Institute in Florence

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Bern, 12.10.2017 - On 12 October, State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation Mauro Dell’Ambrogio visited the European University Institute near Florence, where he signed an agreement that will allow Swiss higher education institutions to continue their existing collaboration with this prestigious institute and strengthen their links with it. Switzerland has collaborated with the Institute since 1991, notably funding doctoral scholarships for Swiss researchers each year. The Swiss Chair in Democracy and Federalism was created there in 2001.

Situated in Fiesole, near Florence, the European University Institute (EUI) is an international organisation created in 1972 by the six founding member states of the European Union. The research university institute offers doctoral and postdoctoral degrees in disciplines such as history, political and social sciences, economics and law.

Over the years, the EUI has gained an international reputation for excellence and for the quality of its research. It has a very international profile, with researchers from over 50 countries.

A Swiss chair was created at the institute in 2001 to promote systematic and comparative research into topics of interest to Switzerland, such as democracy and federalism. In its Dispatch on Education, Research and Innovation for 2017-2020, the Federal Council expressed its wish for Switzerland to pursue its collaboration with the EUI. The agreement signed on 12 October during State Secretary Dell’Ambrogio’s visit will mean that the Swiss chair will continue to receive funding and ties between the EUI and Swiss higher education institutions can continue to flourish. 

In addition to the six scholarships funded each year by Switzerland, the EUI hosts many other Swiss academics, even though Switzerland, as a non-EU state, cannot be a formal member of the Institute.

The Swiss chair will also develop a special partnership with the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, leading to even closer links with the Swiss academic community.