President of the Swiss National Science Foundation Matthias Egger and Director of the US National Science Foundation Sethuraman Panchanathan signed a memorandum of understanding in the presence of Guy Parmelin, President of the Swiss Confederation. This agreement will create the basis for the foundations' long-term cooperation in promoting research.
The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the US National Science Foundation (NSF) intend to further intensify and expand their bilateral cooperation in future. "The USA is already Switzerland’s most important national partner in bilateral research cooperation, and this agreement represents the next chapter in our success story," Mr Parmelin said.
One of the first measures in the memorandum of understanding states that researchers in Switzerland and the USA will in future submit a single funding application for joint projects. In this new ’lead agency’ procedure, either the SNSF or the NSF will be responsible for evaluating each joint project proposal; it will no longer be necessary for both organisations to participate in the evaluation. This will significantly reduce the workload for both researchers and funding organisations.
Around 15% of publications by researchers in Switzerland are produced with US participation. In the last 5 years, the SNSF has funded over 5,000 projects in Switzerland that involve an element of cooperation with the USA.
The SNSF has already concluded lead agency agreements with numerous European countries, South Africa and the State of São Paulo in Brazil. It provides funding for several hundred research projects every year under these agreements.
Mr Parmelin, who heads the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER), concluded his visit to the USA with these funding agency meetings.