State Secretary Martina Hirayama pays a working visit to Austria

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State Secretary Martina Hirayama held talks with Martin Polaschek, the Austrian minister of education, science and research, on 16 November. She also discussed innovation with Henriette Spyra, a directorate general head at the Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology.

At their meeting, Ms Hirayama and Mr Polaschek focused on the potential for further deepening the countries- bilateral relations in education, research and innovation (ERI). Other topics on the agenda included the European Research Area and the possibility of Switzerland becoming associated to Horizon Europe, the European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The numerous direct collaborations among universities, research institutes and researchers were highlighted; this fruitful bilateral work in the ERI sector was praised. Ms Hirayama spoke with Henriette Spyra, head of the Innovation and Technology Directorate general at the Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology. Their discussion was centred around intensifying cooperation specifically in the area of innovation.

Austria ranks among Switzerland’s most important partners in the ERI sector. The EU research framework programmes play a significant role in Swiss-Austrian research collaborations, with around 800 joint projects having taken place over the course of Horizon 2020 (2014-20). In the period from 2017 to 2020, the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) provided funding for around 650 projects with an element of cooperation with Austria, placing it eighth among the SNSF’s 145 partner countries. With 110 cooperation projects, Austria is Switzerland’s fifth most important partner (following Germany, France, the Netherlands and Sweden) in Eureka, the initiative which aims to foster cross-border cooperation projects in technologyand market-oriented research and development.

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