Benefit of European cooperation in education, research and innovation undisputed in Brussels

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At the SwissCore Annual Event in Brussels on 27 June, State Secretary Martina Hirayama emphasised that Switzerland has a major interest in strengthening European cooperation in education, research and innovation. There was agreement that a unilateral approach is not viable.

Cross-border cooperation is crucial to advancing education, research and innovation in Europe and across the globe. Switzerland has a long-standing tradition of creating networks with partner universities around the world, particularly in the area of higher education.

The 2023 SwissCore Annual Event focused on two academic networks that enable universities to position themselves in an optimal way in the European higher education landscape and to exploit the potential of international cooperation. One is the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) network, which has been promoting cooperation in science and technological research activities in Europe and beyond since 1971. The other is the European Universities Initiative, which has been in existence for almost five years and promotes ambitious transnational alliances between higher education institutions in Europe aimed at establishing long-term structural and strategic cooperation.

While State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation Martina Hirayama outlined the added value of international cooperation and the Swiss federal government’s funding policy based on it, the rector of the University of Zurich, Professor Michael Schaepman, highlighted the opportunities and challenges for Swiss universities to participate in such networks. In the panel discussion that followed, decision makers and experts from Switzerland and the European Union exchanged views with the audience in Brussels, noting that optimal framework conditions for students, researchers and innovators can only be achieved together. Only through active cooperation in numerous international academic networks is it possible today to maintain a leading position in the international education and research landscape. Overall, the unanimous opinion was that strengthening Europe in the area of education, research and innovation was important for European competitiveness and thus for common welfare.