Science diplomacy: Switzerland intensifies bilateral cooperation with partner countries in the area of higher education, research and innovation

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On 24 January, the Federal Council approved the signing of a memorandum of understanding on bilateral cooperation with Denmark in higher education, research and innovation. This document, like similar ones signed with other countries, is intended to further diversify and strengthen Swiss international cooperation in these areas.

With this MoU, the Swiss and Danish governments express their intention to facilitate cooperation initiatives between their respective higher education, research and innovation communities and funding institutions. The MoU is not a binding agreement and is scheduled to be signed by Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin and Danish Research Minister Christina Egelund on 20 March 2024 in Copenhagen.

At the same time, the Federal Council has authorised the EAER to pursue similar bilateral partnerships with other countries where cooperation in education, research and innovation offers great potential.

International ERI strategy of the Confederation

The pursuit of bilateral partnerships with selected countries and regions is part of the Confederation’s international ERI strategy, which includes membership in multilateral institutions that foster education and research, participation in international education and research programmes and co-funding of international research infrastructures.

One such bilateral partnership already under way is the MoU that Switzerland and the United Kingdom signed in 2022. This MoU enabled Innosuisse and Innovate UK to launch a joint call for project proposals, which drew around 100 submissions for bilateral innovation projects. A total of around CHF 20 million has been set aside to fund selected projects. Another example is the Joint Statement on Cooperation in Quantum Information Science and Technology (QIST) between Switzerland and the United States, which was also signed in 2022.

In 2023, Switzerland also signed joint statements with Canada, South Korea, Japan and Spain, which gave rise, among other things, to cooperation between the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR).

The Federal Council­start.html

Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research