Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin to meet Bulgarian president and EU research commissioner in Sofia

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Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, Head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER), will inaugurate the Institute for Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence and Technology (INSAIT) in Sofia on 11 April. During this visit, he will also hold talks on research, innovation and education in the context of Swiss-Bulgarian and Swiss-European cooperation.

With INSAIT, Bulgaria is opening a first-class research institute for computer science and artificial intelligence. The institute was established as a Swiss-Bulgarian collaboration between Sofia University and Switzerland’s EPFL and ETH Zurich. Renowned worldwide as centres of excellence for artificial intelligence and computer science, the two federal institutes of technology will support INSAIT with their scientific expertise. This collaboration underscores Switzerland’s commitment to strengthening the European Research Area as an active and reliable partner.

In Sofia, Mr Parmelin will meet Bulgarian President Rumen Radev, Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, Minister of Innovation and Growth Daniel Lorer, and Minister of Education and Science Nikolai Denkov. These talks will focus on the close cooperation between Swiss and Bulgarian stakeholders that led to the establishment of INSAIT.

A meeting is also scheduled with Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Education. This will include a discussion of Switzerland’s current situation and prospects in the European research and innovation landscape.

Bulgaria is a recipient country of Switzerland’s second contribution to selected EU states. In the exploratory technical discussions held to date, Bulgaria has expressed an interest in furthering its cooperation with Switzerland, both in vocational education and training and in research and innovation. The Swiss National Science Foundation has supported over 70 research projects involving Bulgarian researchers since 2011. Together with Switzerland, Bulgaria is a member of CERN and ITER/Fusion for Energy. Since 1964, a total of 100 Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships have been awarded to Bulgarian researchers and artists.