State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation, Martina Hirayama, will travel to Prague on 29 March to meet with Petr Gazdík, the Czech Minister for Education, Youth and Sports and Helena Lang¨ádlová, the Czech Minister of Science, Research and Innovation.
Talks will focus on the countries’ bilateral scientific relations, as well as the potential to intensify cooperation in science, research and innovation in connection with the second Swiss contribution and Switzerland’s association to Horizon Europe and Erasmus+. Other agenda items include the Czech Republic’s priorities in research and innovation during its EU presidency in the second half of 2022. State Secretary Hirayama will raise the issue of Switzerland being associated as soon as possible to Horizon Europe and its programmes and initiatives.
The Czech Republic ranks among Switzerland’s 20 most important partners in terms of the number of Horizon 2020 research cooperations, with Swiss and Czech researchers working together on over 370 projects within this framework. The Swiss National Science Foundation and the Czech Science Foundation (GACR) also signed a Lead Agency agreement in 2019. Under this agreement, researchers from the two countries are only required to submit joint proposals to one of the national research funding agencies. The associations also work together at various international research infrastructures, such as CERN (the European Organisation for Nuclear Research) and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). Furthermore, since 1968 Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships have enabled 186 Czech researchers and artists to spend part of their academic careers at a Swiss higher education institution.