State Secretary Martina Hirayama travels to Sweden, Denmark and Finland

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From 20 to 22 November, Martina Hirayama, State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation, will be holding bilateral talks with her counterparts in Stockholm, Copenhagen and Helsinki. She is meeting Malin Cederfeldt Östberg, state secretary in the Swedish Ministry of Higher Education and Research; Agnete Gersing, state secretary in the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science, and Jari Partanen, state secretary in the Finnish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. With all three, talks will focus on current and future cooperation, in particular in the EU Framework Programmes for Research and Innovation.

Switzerland has had full association to the eighth European Framework Programme, Horizon 2020 (2014-2020), since 2017. Project submissions from Switzerland have a very high success rate. The follow-up to Horizon 2020, Horizon Europe (2021-2027), is currently being developed; the EU institutions involved are negotiating the legal framework, programme details and opportunities for third country participation.

Researchers and institutions in the three Scandinavian countries have many strong links with their counterparts in Switzerland in the Horizon 2020 programme. According to available figures, Swiss researchers and innovators have participated in over 1,100 multilateral project cooperations with Swedish, Danish and Finnish partners in projects which have attracted a total of almost EUR 1.6 billion in funding. Cooperation takes place in a wide range of research areas, and is particularly strong in the health sciences, food science and research infrastructure.

Meanwhile, between mid 2014 and mid 2019 the Swiss National Science Foundation, which funds basic scientific research, supported around 600 bilateral projects involving Swiss researchers working with colleagues in Sweden, Denmark and Finland.

During her trip to Scandinavia, Ms Hirayama will also attend two events devoted to research and/or innovation policy.

On 20 November she will speak at the Research Policy Day in Stockholm, along with the Swedish Higher Education Minister, Matilda Ernkrans and the Dutch Minister for Education, Culture and Science, Ingrid Van Engelshoven. Ms Hirayama has been invited by the Swedish organisers to speak about Switzerland’s successful research and innovation landscape. The conference provides a discussion platform for representatives from the fields of research, politics, higher education, the science community and funding agencies; around 350 people are expected to attend.

The internationally focused start-up event ’Slush’ takes place in Helsinki on 21 and 22 November and will attract around 25,000 visitors, well over 2,000 start-ups, more than 1,000 venture capitalists and 600 plus journalists. At the event, Ms Hirayama will be meeting representatives of 15 selected Swiss start-ups invited to attend ’Slush’ by the Finnish organisers.