Bottles for use in research
The research agreement ensures that Switzerland can participate in EU research cooperation. ©Rolf Weiss

With the conclusion of the research agreement in 1999 as part of Bilaterals I, Switzerland laid the foundation for full participation in the research framework programmes of the European Union (EU).

These programmes aim to achieve greater impact and more efficient bundling of European research efforts, including in the areas of information and communication technologies, health, energy, nanotechnology, aerospace and the environment. The opportunity to participate in the research framework programmes brings Switzerland scientific, technological and economic benefits. Since 1 January 2017, Switzerland has been fully associated with the eighth research framework programme, ‘Horizon 2020’, after being only partly associated following the vote in favour of the ‘Stop Mass Immigration’ initiative.


  • 01.01.2017: Swiss full association in ‘Horizon 2020’, the 8th research framework programme
  • 15.09.2014: Swiss partial association in ‘Horizon 2020’
  • 2004–2013: Swiss association in the 6th (2003–2006) and 7th (2007–2013) research framework programmes, in accordance with the agreements of 16 January 2004 and 25 June 2007 respectively
  • 01.06.2002: Entry into force of the Agreement, with Swiss participation initially continuing on a project-by-project basis
  • 21.05.2000: Approval of the Agreement by the electorate in the popular vote on Bilaterals I (67.2% in favour)
  • 21.06.1999: Signing of the Agreement (in the framework of Bilaterals I)

Status: November 2019