Swiss government again plugs gaps for European research funding

A space shuttle made in Switzerland - the country has been a founding member of ESA and contributes CHF190 million annually. © Keystone/Walter Bieri

The government has extended measures to support Swiss scientists unable to receive funding for the European Union’s flagship research and innovation programmes.

This content was published on May 4, 2022

A total of just over CHF1.2 billion ($1.2 billion) for 2021 and 2022 were earmarked to bridge the funding gap for Swiss researchers wishing to take part in Horizon EuropeExternal link, the economics ministry said on Wednesday.

The package includes financial help for participation in digital technology projects and participation in a major fusion energy research infrastructure.

The funds pledged were part of Switzerland’s mandatory contribution to the EU for participation in the 2021-2027 programmes.

But Switzerland was effectively locked out of it until further notice and relegated to non-associated member status last July.

The move by the EU came shortly after the Swiss government walked away from seven years of negotiations concerning an overarching institutional framework agreement to simplify bilateral relations with Brussels.

The Swiss government reiterated its goal for a “rapid association” to Horizon Europe. Martina Hirayama, State Secretary in the for Education, Research and Innovation, announced the situation would be reviewed next year. 


In addition to the transitional measures, the government approved the launch of bilateral and multilateral research cooperation initiatives with partners outside the EU.

“Together with existing investments by universities and the government, this will be crucial in strengthening the foundation of international partnerships,” a ministry statementExternal link said.

Switzerland also plans to boost international cooperation in space. It is due to sign an agreement with the European Space Agency (ESA)External link and its member states later this month.

Horizon Europe has an overall budget of €95 billion and is the largest research and innovation programme in the world.

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