Brussels, 16.11.2018 - The 23rd meeting of the Joint Committee between Switzerland and the European Union (EU) / Euratom in the areas of research and innovation took place in Brussels today. It provided an opportunity to discuss the implementation of the existing agreement between Switzerland and the EU on the current EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation ’Horizon 2020’, the Euratom Programme and the international fusion reactor ITER. It also allowed for an exchange of information on ’Horizon Europe’, the next research and innovation framework programme starting in 2021.
This year’s meeting of the Joint Committee made up of representatives from the European Commission and from Switzerland included a discussion on the latest figures and developments regarding Swiss participation in Horizon 2020, running from 2014 until 2020, the Euratom programme and ITER. Switzerland reported that participation in Horizon 2020 has been slowly recovering since 2016, but has decreased overall compared to the previous programme generation (FP7; 2007 to 2013). Moreover, the meeting highlighted Switzerland’s active involvement in the development of the European Research Area (ERA). Switzerland played the lead role in the extensive review of the ERA-related groups that took place this year.
The Joint Committee also discussed the EU’s next research and innovation framework programme, ’Horizon Europe’ (2021 to 2027), and the initiatives linked to it. The European Commission’s legislative proposal for ’Horizon Europe’ is currently being debated at EU level.
The meeting of the Joint Committee was co-chaired by Philipp Langer, Deputy Director-General and Head of EU Framework Programmes & ERA at the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), and Signe Ratso, Deputy Director-General of the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation at the European Commission. On the Swiss side, the meeting was attended by representatives from SERI, as well as from the Directorate for European Affairs, the Federal Finance Administration and the Swiss Mission in Brussels.
The Framework Programmes (FPs) are the EU’s main instrument for the financial support of research and innovation as well as for the implementation of pan-European strategies, such as the European Research Area. Switzerland has been fully or partially associated to the FPs since 2004 through the research agreement in the framework of the first series of bilateral agreements, and two consecutive agreements. The association allows researchers from Swiss universities, companies and other entities to participate in the calls for proposals on an equal footing with their colleagues from EU Member States. The FPs have become the second most important source of public funding for researchers in Switzerland after the Swiss National Science Foundation, and the most important one for Swiss companies.