State Secretary Mauro Dell'Ambrogio on exploratory mission to Iran

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Bern, 07.05.2018 - In the wake of the signing of a road map for achieving closer bilateral relations between Switzerland and Iran in 2016, Mauro Dell'Ambrogio, State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation, is leading a scientific exploratory mission to Iran from 5 to 9 May. Several visits to universities in Tehran and Isfahan enable participating Swiss researchers to explore cooperation opportunities with Iranian partners. The programme also includes official meetings at the Ministry of Health and Medical Education and the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology where the participants will sign joint statements.

The Swiss delegation - consisting of representatives of universities, universities of applied sciences, EMPA, the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute and the Swiss National Science Foundation - will meet officials and researchers from renowned Iranian universities in Tehran and Isfahan. The delegation’s range of topics and fields of interest is very broad and includes medical research, mathematics and engineering, but also environmental sciences, linguistics and literature. The participating researcher’s main objective is to determine the extent to which future cooperation with Iranian partners is possible within these topics and within the framework of existing funding instruments on both sides. In this spirit, the delegation will visit the University of Tehran, Sharif University of Technology, the Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan University of Technology and the Isfahan University of Medical Sciences.

State Secretary Mauro Dell’Ambrogio and his delegation will also meet with the Iranian Minister of Science, Research and Technology, Mansour Gholami, and the Deputy Minister of Health and Medical Education, Mohammad Bagher Larijani, to discuss Iran’s developments, priorities and internationalisation goals in the fields of education, research and innovation.

Relations between Switzerland and Iran in the field of research are good, but modest in terms of quantity. Nevertheless, Iran’s research landscape is on the raise; the volume of Iranian publications, particularly in technical sciences, physics and chemistry, has increased significantly.

Cooperation between Swiss and Iranian researchers takes place mainly in the context of direct contacts between individual researchers and universities. In recent years, several Swiss universities have signed cooperation agreements with Iranian institutions. Between 2013 and 2017, the Swiss National Science Foundation supported almost 20 Swiss projects with an Iranian cooperation element (volume: approx. CHF 3 million). Cooperation takes place primarily in the fields of mathematics, natural and engineering sciences, but also in the humanities and social sciences. Since 1961, 74 Federal Excellence Fellowships have been awarded to young Iranian researchers. With 600 enrolled students at a Swiss higher education institution, Iranians are furthermore the third largest faction from Asia.