On May 2, 2023, State Secretary Martina Hirayama and British Minister of State for Science, Research and Innovation, George Freeman, opened the first meeting of the Joint Swiss-British Committee for Science and Innovation. This meeting between the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) and the British Department for Science, Innovation and Technology was mainly centred on bilateral cooperation in research and innovation.
In November 2022, Switzerland and the United Kingdom signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in research and innovation. This agreement set the stage for further strengthening of their bilateral partnership in these areas. On this basis, the Joint Swiss-British Committee for Science and Innovation held its first meeting in London on May 2, 2023. High-level government officials and representatives of research institutes and research and innovation funding institutions from both countries took stock of progress towards key cooperation objectives. Meeting participants then explored possible avenues for further intensification and expansion of existing cooperation ties. The meeting was followed by a visit to the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus.
During her trip to London, Switzerland’s State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation, Martina Hirayama, and British Minister of State for Science, Research and Innovation, George Freeman, discussed specific areas of bilateral cooperation, namely: Horizon Europe, space, quantum science and technologies as well as science policy and diplomacy. State Secretary Hirayama also visited the UK’s scientific academy, the Royal Society.
In both bilateral and multilateral contexts, the United Kingdom is one of Switzerland’s most important partners in the area of education, research and innovation. There are numerous examples of direct cooperation between institutions and individual researchers from both countries. Cooperation is sustained through a variety of instruments, which are coordinated through the joint efforts of the research and innovation funding institutions of both countries. As a case in point, a joint call for cooperation proposals was launched by national innovation agencies Innosuisse and Innovate UK in March 2023.