State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation
State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation
Discipline: Research Management, Innovation
- ETH Board
- Foundation for Technology Assessment, TA-SWISS
- Innosuisse, Swiss agency for the promotion of innovation
- Marcel Benoist Foundation
- Science et Cité
- Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences
- Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)
- Swiss Science Council SSC
The State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) is the federal government’s specialised agency for national and international matters concerning education, research and innovation policy. The SERI is responsible for the ETH domain (ETHZ, EPFL, Eawag, EMPA, PSI, WSL). The SERI is also partly responsible on the federal level for the cantonal universities, universities of applied sciences and various research centers. The SERI is part of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research.
On 11 October, the fourth exchange of information and views between the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) took place in Vienna. State Secretary Martina Hirayama and Federal Minister Heinz Fassmann emphasised that both countries attach great importance to their intensive and constructive bilateral collaboration in the education, research and innovation (ERI) sector. The next meeting is expected to be held in Switzerland in 2023.
On 14 September 2021, President Guy Parmelin received Emirati Minister of Education Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi on a courtesy visit. Prior to this, the minister held a working meeting with Martina Hirayama, State Secretary for Research, Education and Innovation. Their talks focused on the Swiss vocational education and training (VET) system and bilateral cooperation in the fields of research and innovation. The World Expo in Dubai was also discussed.
On Saturday, 24 July, following the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Swiss president Guy Parmelin met Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga. Their talks focused on the close cooperation between Japan and Switzerland in trade and research, as well as on global issues. They also announced the opening of a new consulate in Osaka, which will also include a new swissnex location. This is the sixth location of the Swiss network for education, research and innovation.
On 19 July 2021, State Secretary Martina Hirayama took part in an informal meeting of ministers responsible for research and innovation in the EU member states. At the biannual event, held this time in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana, the participants discussed the implementation of the goals of the new European Research Area at national and European level. They also addressed the question of how Europe would like to shape cooperation in the area of research and innovation with its international partners. Switzerland's presence and input at this meeting underscored its active commitment to maintaining a strong European Research Area.
On June 28, 2021, the third meeting of the Italian-Swiss joint committee for cooperation in the area of science met took place in a virtual format. The meeting included both a bilateral discussion between Martina Hirayama, State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation, and Maria Cristina Messa, Italian Minister for University and Research, and an in-depth exchange between the respective high-level delegations of both countries on existing and future scientific cooperation.
State Secretary Martina Hirayama participated in the Africa-Europe Space Earth Observation High-Level Forum in Lisbon on 11 and 12 June. Organised as part of the Portuguese presidency of the Council of the EU, the forum focused on how Earth observation can facilitate sustainable development while fostering new skills and creating jobs. The forum also provided an opportunity for bilateral discussions with the Portuguese minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education, Manuel Heitor.
The Square Kilometre Array, the most sensitive radio telescope developed so far, is being constructed to research the origin of the very first stars and galaxies. It will be operated by the international organisation Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO). The Federal Council is requesting Parliament to increase the guarantee credit already approved so that Switzerland can become a member of the SKAO until 2030. On 4 June it submitted a dispatch to this effect to Parliament.
Switzerland will be treated as a non-associated third country in Horizon Europe, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, and related programmes and initiatives until further notice. Under this status, researchers in Switzerland can still participate in most collaboration projects, but are excluded from individual projects. On 17 September, the Federal Council therefore decided to initiate transitional measures until Switzerland achieves its stated aim of full association.
The Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research EAER was commissioned by the Federal Council to examine Switzerland's startup ecosystem. The subsequent report reveals that this ecosystem is generally in good shape. However, there is room for improvement in a number of areas, namely technology transfer, internationalisation, access to skilled labour and financing. On 25 August, the Federal Council tasked the EAER and the Federal Department of Justice and Police FDJP with examining measures in these areas in greater detail. The findings are expected to be presented in June 2022.
From 22 to 25 July, Swiss president Mr Guy Parmelin will be in Japan, where he will meet Prime Minister Yoshihide and the Japanese foreign minister Toshimitsu Motegi. At a hybrid event held in Tokyo, the establishment of a new Swiss consulate in Osaka will be announced. On Friday 23 July, Mr Parmelin will attend the opening of the Olympic Games, prior to which a reception with Emperor Naruhito is scheduled. The programme also includes a meeting with IOC president Thomas Bach on Saturday.
Switzerland will be treated as a non-associated third country in the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon Europe, until further notice. Researchers in Switzerland can still participate in calls for proposals under the status, albeit to a limited extent, and receive funding directly from the Confederation. However, participation in individual projects, in particular in future calls for proposals from the European Research Council, Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions and the European Innovation Council, is no longer possible. The Federal Council's stated aim remains Switzerland's full association to Horizon Europe.
The European Commission has launched the calls for project proposals under Horizon Europe. Switzerland and the EU have not yet held negotiations on Switzerland's association to the programme. Researchers in Switzerland can nonetheless participate in the calls for proposals, albeit to a limited extent. If there is a delay or no association, Swiss researchers will have the possibility of receiving direct funding from the Confederation.
President Guy Parmelin was received by King Carl XVI Gustaf at the start of his visit to Sweden on Monday, 14 June 2021. He then met separately with Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, Minister for Business, Industry and Innovation Ibrahim Baylan and Minister for Higher Education and Research Matilda Ernkrans, and paid a courtesy visit to Speaker of the Riksdag Andreas Norlén. The innovation agencies of Switzerland and Sweden signed a memorandum of understanding to further deepen their cooperation, which has been ongoing since 2013.
State Secretary Martina Hirayama virtually attended the third Arctic Science Ministerial (ASM3) on May 8-9, 2021. At ASM3, science ministers and representatives of Arctic indigenous peoples' organizations came together to strengthen international cooperation in science and research to advance understanding of the Arctic region, and to support the role of science in policy and decision-making in the Arctic. In her speech, State Secretary Hirayama emphasized the importance of research in response to the challenges of climate change in the vulnerable Polar regions and the urgent need for international cooperation in this area.