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swissnex > About > Governance


Organization and structure of swissnex

The Federal Act on the Promotion of Research and Innovation (RIPA) and the Federal Act on International Cooperation in Education, Professional Education and Training, Youth Affairs and Mobility provide the legal basis for the activities of the swissnex Network, the Swiss foreign network for education, research and innovation. The ERI foreign network is also based on the organization ordinances of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER) and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). The State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) in the EAER is responsible for the professional and operational management of the swissnex Network. SERI’s International Relations Division works with the FDFA to coordinate and manage the network. swissnex and the Science and Technology Offices and Counselors are administratively incorporated into the FDFA’s foreign network. The swissnex Committee advises the State Secretary on strategic issues relating to the swissnex Network. It comprises ten high-ranking representatives from the most important ERI institutions (Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), Innosuisse, swissuniversities), the foundations sector, and the public and private sector. The responsible at the FDFA (Directorate for Resources) and SERI (International Relations) are also ex officio members of the swissnex Committee. The swissnex Committee members are:
  • Christine Bulliard-Marbach, National Council, Swiss Parliament
  • Tania Dussey-Cavassini, Head of the Directorate for Resources, FDFA (ex officio)
  • Matthias Egger, President of the National Research Council, SNSF (ex officio)
  • Beatrice Fasana, Managing Director Sandro Vanini SA and member of the ETH Board
  • Yves Flückiger, President swissuniversities (ex officio)
  • Michael Hengartner, President ETH Board
  • Pascal Marmier, Head of Engagement Americas, Swiss Re
  • Mauro Moruzzi, Ambassador and Head of International Relations, SERI
  • Nicola Thibaudeau, CEO MPS Microp Precision and member of the Innosuisse Board (ex officio)
  • Pascale Vonmont, CEO Gebert Rüf Stiftung and member of the Swiss Foundations Board

The swissnex model – four basic principles

The organizational and business model of the swissnex sites has evolved steadily since the network’s foundation. However, four basic principles can be established for the swissnex model.
  • Strategic location selection: The swissnex offices are located in leading regional and global innovation hubs and in emerging markets with significant economic and scientific potential. The science counsellors, on the other hand, are located in the political capitals of important ERI partner countries to conduct bilateral cooperation.
  • Partnership funding model: Partners of swissnex locations include public and private stakeholders in the Swiss and local education, research and innovation landscape. These partners cover at least two-thirds of the costs of swissnex’s activities.
  • Autonomy and decentralised governance: The swissnex Network has lean management structures and decentralised governance. The head office at the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation is responsible for implementing the overall strategy, setting the objectives of the four-year mandate and of the annual Lettre de Mission, and for controlling and management of the swissnex heads.
  • Entrepreneurial organizational culture: The driving force behind the swissnex locations are entrepreneurial, open-minded and creative employees who strongly identify with swissnex’s mission and organization culture. The swissnex leaders and their teams see themselves as connectors, scouts, and knowledge brokers.