Switzerland’s approach in promoting international exchange in education, research and innovation is to create favorable framework conditions to encourage and facility bottom-up driven initiatives

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Switzerland’s policy for international education, research and innovation

Dispatch on the Promotion of Education, Research and Innovation (ERI) for 2017-2020

With its Dispatch on the Promotion of Education, Research and Innovation (ERI) for 2017-2020, the Swiss Federal Council has formulated its policy guidelines and measures for the various areas of the ERI system that fall under the constitutional and legislative authority of the Swiss Confederation. It is the mission of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) to implement this policy in accordance with Switzerland’s international ERI strategy. The swissnex Network is an important instrument of this strategy and supports activities and programs to develop and enhance bilateral and cooperative ties with selected partner countries in the areas of ERI.

Switzerland’s bottom-up approach

In the Swiss ERI system, which is characterised by federalism, institutional autonomy and a strong commitment on the part of research companies, the individual actors develop and maintain their own international strategies tailored to their particular needs. The federal government’s strategy is thus essentially decentralised subsidiary. It allows Swiss actors to benefit from the globalisation of the ERI sector, by facilitating cooperation with foreign countries, strengthening the attractiveness of Switzerland through the quality of its research and innovation, and supporting and promoting the mobility of talented people.

Priority countries and regions

According to the Confederation’s international strategy in the fields of education, research and innovation, the EU member states – particularly Switzerland’s neighbours – as well as the other countries in Europe are Switzerland’s most important partners in ERI collaboration. Cooperation with these partners is established and often takes place in a multilateral context (EU framework programmes in research and education). Back in 2005, the Federal Council decided to establish and cultivate special relations with countries outside of Europe, too. For this reason, the strategy named an expanded circle of partner countries in addition to European countries with whom ERI collaboration was to be stepped up: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS), Japan and South Korea, the USA and Singapore. For all other countries, cooperation is less intensive and may be occasionally supported. Learn more about Switzerland’s strategy for the promotion of education, research and innovation and its participation in multilateral and bilateral programmes in the field of education, research and innovation: For more detailed information about the existing cooperation programmes and institutions, see also the page Resources.