Representatives of Swiss universities and companies have urged the country’s government to ensure it can fully participate in the Horizon Europe funding scheme by the end of this year.
Horizon Europe is the European Union’s main funding program for research, business and innovation with a budget of €95.5 billion.
The program facilitates collaboration as well as strengthens the impact of innovation and research in the development, support and implementation of EU policies while addressing global challenges at the same time.
However, since Switzerland withdrew from a draft binding treaty, its access to the program has been hampered, TheSchengen.com reports.
After this event, Switzerland received the status of an unaffiliated state, and the European Union Commission cut off funding for Swiss researchers.
As a result, representatives of Swiss universities, as well as representatives of companies, issued a joint decision, which requires the government to take the necessary measures and ensure that Switzerland will be able to fully participate in the program.
According to the decision by Head of Science Industries Matthias Leuenberger, Chairman of the Board of Directors of ETH, Michael Hengartner and Yves Flückiger of Swiss universities, researchers face dire consequences as they can no longer lead European projects or apply for European Research Council (ERC) grants or grants scholastic.
In addition, the fear of researchers leaving Switzerland for another country where they can apply for EU scholarships has also increased.
“Given its current status as an unrelated third country, Switzerland should expect that researchers from leading and innovative companies will leave Switzerland or not come here. This will result in a significant weakening of research and innovation in Switzerland, based on the attractiveness of our economic standing. Our country risks losing its foothold at the level international,” as stated in part of the resolution.
To address the current situation, the Swiss Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) has indicated through its latest status update, published on January 27, 2022, that it is examining potential transitional measures for further 2022 calls.
“SERI is currently studying possible transitional measures for the 2022 ERC AdG to be initiated if Switzerland’s position in Horizon Europe does not change by the end of April 2022. The corresponding action is expected to be expected for the second half of 2022. SERI will provide more information in due course,” Siri added.
Given the current situation in Switzerland, researchers and innovators can participate in the majority of Horizon Europe calls and other related initiatives. However, they cannot obtain funding from the European Union Commission.
>> The Council approves the allocation of €95.5 billion to the European Union Research Program for the period 2021-2027