Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin and Minister George Freeman have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) and the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Representatives of the research funding agencies Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) were in attendance. The MoU is intended to create stronger networking and cooperation between the research and innovation communities of both countries. Fields in deep science and deep tech, such as quantum technology and artificial intelligence, are among the focus areas. Other key points include the commercialisation of innovative concepts and science and innovation policy and diplomacy. A joint innovation forum is planned for next year, and there will be regular exchanges to review cooperation priorities and expand them if necessary.
Researchers and institutes in the two countries are already in regular contact and work together on numerous projects in the areas of research and innovation. Certain key figures illustrate the importance of their cooperation, in bilateral as well as multilateral contexts: the UK is Switzerland's third most important partner in terms of the number of joint projects being carried out as part of Horizon 2020. In addition, the SNSF approved some 1,100 grants between October 2017 and September 2022 that include a collaborative component with researchers in the UK or will be carried out there. Researchers from both countries also work together at international research institutes such as CERN, the European Organisation for Astronomy or the Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO).
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