Continuing successful participation in EU Framework Programmes

Press releases, 27.02.2013

Berne, The Federal Council has referred to parliament two dispatches on funding for Swiss participation in the EU Framework Programmes in the areas of Research and Innovation on the one hand, and education, training, youth and sport on the other. The former is intended to give researchers in Switzerland continued access to the second most significant source of public funding and to the European research network. The second dispatch is designed to continue the mobility opportunities of students in education, training and on youth and sport courses. The total budget set in both dispatches is approximately 4.7 billion Swiss francs (including reserves) for the years 2014 to 2020. Their approval by parliament will allow the Federal Council to conduct negotiations with the EU on renewing both bilateral agreements.

Education, research and innovation (ERI) are essential to the competitiveness and stability of Switzerland. International cooperation is vital if Switzerland is to continue to be one of the world's most innovative countries. Maintaining its well established place in European programmes is a key element in the Federal Council's international ERI strategy.

‘Horizon 2020' opens up prospects for research and innovation

Switzerland first started taking part in the EU's Framework Programmes on a project basis in 1987, and has been an associated state since 2004. In order to continue this successful association in the 8th programme generation from 2014 to 2020, the Federal Council is requesting a budget of CHF 4.4 billion Swiss francs over seven years.

The EU Framework Programmes, which run for several years, are the EU's main instrument for promoting research and innovation. The 2014-2020 programme bears the title ‘Horizon 2020' and will have an estimated budget of 80 billion euros. Funding instruments of particular importance to Switzerland include the FET (future and emerging technologies) flagships, such as the Human Brain Project coordinated at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) and the European Research Council's grants to promote basic research. Special mechanisms to support SMEs are now also part of the Horizon 2020 programme, which further encompasses the European Atomic Energy Community's programme for nuclear research and training activities (Euratom programme). This covers important issues also facing Switzerland, such as the safe disposal of nuclear waste and the dismantling of existing nuclear installations.

In Switzerland the EU Framework Programmes have become the main source of public funding in research and development after the Swiss National Science Foundation. Switzerland takes part in about 600 new projects each year. In the current 7th programme generation, Swiss researchers have benefited from funding worth 1.6 billion Swiss francs. The main beneficiaries are the ETH Domain and the cantonal universities, whilst the universities of applied sciences (UAS), industry, SMEs and non-profit organisations also receive funding from Europe. The Swiss economy also benefits from the country's participation in the EU Framework Programme: since 2007 an estimated 8000 jobs have been created and 240 businesses have been founded in Switzerland as a result. Participation in Horizon 2020 will most likely have a similar impact.

To ensure the extensive participation of Swiss institutions in the programme - participation which on an international scale is very successful - the Confederation uses part of the total budget requested to provide national support measures, in particular an information network for researchers and specific measures to support SMEs and project coordinators.

Erasmus for all

Switzerland has fully participated in the EU's education and youth programmes since 2011. The Dispatch on funding for Swiss participation in the programme for education, training, youth and sport is intended to ensure that participation in the future ‘Erasmus for all' programme generation 2014-2020 can continue uninterrupted. The total budget is set at about 300 million Swiss francs.

The core component of ‘Erasmus for All' is the mobility of students, school pupils, trainees and young people, but also of teachers and staff in educational institutions and youth programmes. In 2011 alone, the current generation of programmes enabled over 6000 Swiss people to study, train or work elsewhere in Europe. ‘Erasmus for All' also organises partnerships between educational institutions, authorities, social partners and youth institutions. In addition, it provides funding for international education reforms and projects.

Negotiations with the EU

If parliament approves the two funding dispatches, the Federal Council will be able to conduct the relevant negotiations with the EU and draft a renewal of the two bilateral agreements. This will ensure that Switzerland's participation in the programmes can continue uninterrupted.

Address for enquiries:

EU Research and Innovation: Philipp Langer,
Head, EU Framework Programmes
State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation
Tel. +41 31 322 96 93,

EU Education, Youth and Sport: Gaétan Lagger,
Deputy Head, International Education Projects
State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation
Tel. +41 31 323 26 74,


The Federal Council

Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research

Additional indications:

EU FP Dispatch external

Erasmus for All Dispatch external

Further information external