Research program in Europe – “Horizon Europe”: Switzerland is only classified as a third country
– “Horizon Europe”: Switzerland is only classified as a third country
In future, the European Union will treat Switzerland as a non-associated third country. Switzerland now wants to finance top researchers itself.
For the time being, Switzerland only has the status of a non-associated third country in the EU research program Horizon Europe. According to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), the EU Commission announced this to Switzerland on Monday. While Switzerland now wants to finance top researchers itself, Brussels suggests that they will receive EU funding if they move to an EU country.
Researchers in Switzerland can participate in certain tenders. As a rule, however, they no longer received any funding from the EU, according to the SERI communication. Therefore, wherever participation is possible, “SERI funding” takes place.
Researchers from Switzerland are excluded from participation in individual projects of the European Research Council (ERC) – the Champions League in science -, the Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions and the European Innovation Council (EIC).
Top researchers could leave Switzerland
According to SERI, there are exceptions to the calls for ERC grants that have already been closed: project applications from researchers at Swiss host institutions would be fully evaluated. In the event of a positive assessment, SERI also offers direct financing.
For its part, the EU Commission writes on a website aimed at researchers that there is EU funding for researchers from Switzerland if they are located in an EU member state or in a country associated with Horizon Europe. Researchers could see this as an invitation to leave Switzerland.
Possibly later participation
According to SERI, Switzerland is still striving for full association with the EU research program. However, Brussels sets conditions for an association: the payment of the second cohesion contribution and the conclusion of an umbrella agreement.
Details of this umbrella agreement – which has nothing to do with the framework agreement – are not yet known. In addition, the EU Commission places the start of negotiations in the context of the overall relationship between Switzerland and the EU.
The Horizon Europe program lasts from 2021 to 2027 and, with a total budget of more than 95 billion euros, is the world’s largest research and innovation funding program.