The Swissnex 2020 annual report: 20 years of unexpected encounters

Swissnex is Switzerland’s international network for education, research and innovation (ERI). It promotes the international exchange of knowledge, ideas and talent, strengthening Switzerland’s reputation in research and innovation excellence. Marking its 20th anniversary last year, Swissnex launched its ’nex20’ campaign to explore future opportunities and challenges for Switzerland as a centre for ERI. The Swissnex 2020 annual report, available at annualreport.swissnex.org, presents the many highlights, challenges and ideas which shaped an extraordinary year.

Twenty years have passed since Swissnex was founded in Boston. The incentive behind it was to increase the visibility of Switzerland’s enormous potential for innovation by establishing a dedicated local presence. Since then, Swissnex has evolved to become a unique networking platform - a global network with the potential to shape tomorrow’s ERI landscape through a mutual exchange of knowledge, ideas and talent.

’nex20’: looking to Switzerland’s future as a centre for ERI
Swissnex used its anniversary in 2020 as an opportunity to reflect on a number of topics for the future. How will Switzerland position itself in the world as a centre for ERI in the next 20 years? What tasks will Swissnex face in 2040, and how will it meet its partners’ changing needs? As part of its anniversary campaign ’nex20 - connecting tomorrow’, a variety of events and activities were held around four individual themes: Learning Tomorrow, Meeting Tomorrow, Working Tomorrow and Living Tomorrow. For example, Swissnex in India organised a 48-hour global hackathon, ’nexHack Edtech’, which brought together 130 participants from 45 countries to collaborate on finding solutions to the challenges facing education today.

In 2020, Swissnex hosted more than 210 events and activities in partnership with some 190 Swiss organisations. It also assisted 53 Swiss start-ups in their internationalisation process and facilitated exchanges between actors on a variety of topics relevant to Switzerland’s ERI landscape. These figures highlight the added value provided by the Swissnex locations: in connecting ERI actors in their respective countries with partners in Switzerland, they bring together people whose paths may never have crossed otherwise. Such unexpected encounters, made possible by Swissnex, enable the project partners to explore new avenues and enhance their international competitiveness. A global approach to ERI promotes knowledge-sharing and personnel mobility, both of which benefit Swiss actors in ERI and Switzerland’s reputation as a centre for research and innovation.

Swissnex is the global network connecting Switzerland and the world in education, research, and innovation. Our mission is to support the outreach and active engagement of our partners in the international exchange of knowledge, ideas and talent. The five main Swissnex locations are established in the world’s most innovative regions. Together with around twenty Science Offices and Counselors based in Swiss Embassies, they contribute to strengthen Switzerland’s profile as a world-leading innovation hotspot.
Swissnex is an initiative of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation and is part of the Confederation’s network abroad managed by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. The Swissnex activities are based on a collaborative approach, relying on public and private partnerships and funding.

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