Switzerland re-joins Horizon 2020

Switzerland re-joins Horizon 2020

The Swiss government on Wednesday (23 June) approved accords enabling Swiss researchers to participate in two projects co-funded by H2020, representing the country’s resumption of participation.

Eurostars-2 provides small and medium-sized technology and digital businesses with the opportunity to collaborate with European researchers, the government said in a statement.

A secondary project – Active and Assistive Living (AAL) – aims to develop solutions to enable elderly people to maintain an active and independent life.

Switzerland’s participation in the project forms part of an initiative which aims to combat the shortage of qualified workers.

Wednesday’s accords allowed Switzerland to regain full membership to the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, a seven-year €80bn research and innovation programme.

Their participation has been limited since 2014, when the country voted in favour of anti-immigration measures which would have contravened a free movement agreement with the EU.

In a counteractive effort, Brussels froze funds for Swiss scientists, and despite substitutions from Swiss government, the country’s participation in Horizon 2020 was reduced significantly.

In December 2016, the government decided against full implementation of the anti-immigration initiative and, as a result, enabled it to retain free movement. Subsequently, Switzerland has met the conditions for re-acceptance into Horizon 2020.