On 2 February, State Secretary Martina Hirayama attended the launch event for Horizon Europe, the 9th EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, via video conference. On 3 February, she will represent Switzerland at the informal meeting of ministers for research and innovation of the EU member states. The main topic of the Horizon Europe launch is the content of the 9th Framework Programme and how the latter will contribute to stimulating the European Research Area. The ministerial meeting, meanwhile, will focus on how to promote careers in research and the role of national and private research funding institutions. By taking part, Switzerland is underlining the part it plays as an active and integral partner in the European Research and Innovation Area.
2 February saw the launch via video conference of the EU’s 9th Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (FP9), Horizon Europe. The launch event was attended by representatives of the European Commission, the private sector and European universities, and by ministers for research and innovation, including State Secretary Martina Hirayama. Ms Hirayama stressed the importance of European cooperation in research and innovation, especially in the context of global challenges such as Covid-19. Switzerland supports initiatives coordinated at European level and is determined to continue contributing its expertise in ground-breaking fields through its participation in Horizon Europe. Ms Hirayama informed her European partners that Switzerland had completed the necessary steps for association in FP9; the funding dispatch was adopted by the Swiss parliament in 2020, and Switzerland’s negotiating mandate has been approved by the Federal Council. Switzerland is thus ready for negotiations with the EU.
On 3 February, Ms Hirayama will attend the biannual informal meeting of EU ministers responsible for research and innovation. Portugal, which currently holds the EU Council presidency, has proposed the topic of how attractive research careers can be promoted by public and private institutions in the European Research Area. Switzerland welcomes increased European cooperation and initiatives to attract the world’s best talents to Europe and retain them. State Secretary Hirayama will highlight Switzerland’s extensive experience in this area, such as the Swiss National Science Foundation’s projects to promote and support research careers, and partnerships between public institutions and the private sector. Switzerland is willing to share this expertise with its European partners.
Horizon Europe runs from 2021 to 2027 and, with an overall budget of over 95 billion euros, is the world’s largest research and innovation funding programme. Along with the exceptional recovery instrument Next Generation EU, its aim is to promote green technologies and digital transformation across Europe. Switzerland is seeking full association to Horizon Europe, the same status it held in the predecessor programme Horizon 2020. The EU is currently finalising the legislation necessary for the next generation of programmes. It will then launch negotiations on association agreements with non-EU states.