On June 23, 2023, State Secretary Martina Hirayama attended the Europa Forum Wachau in Stift Göttweig (Austria). The theme this year is ‘Building a resilient, green and competitive Europe’. While at the conference, State Secretary Hirayama also held bilateral talks with Martin Polaschek, the Austrian Minister for Education, Science and Research.
The Europa Forum Wachau, the theme of which this year is ‘Building a resilient, green and competitive Europe’, was organised in cooperation with the Austrian Ministry of Education, Science and Research. This annual conference brings together high-level participants from the fields of politics, business, culture, media and diplomacy to discuss important issues regarding European integration and political dialogue. State Secretary Martina Hirayama attended the Forum and took part in a plenary discussion on ‘Excellence in research’ where she emphasised the importance of European cooperation in research and innovation. Cooperation allows urgent challenges of general social relevance to be tackled efficiently, and by joining forces, sustainable solutions can be developed for the common good. A complementary set of bilateral and multilateral cooperation instruments plays an important role and competition is the decisive driver for success.
At a bilateral meeting, Federal Minister Martin Polaschek and State Secretary Hirayama discussed arrangements for the regular exchange of information and opinions between Austria and Switzerland that have been taking place on a regular basis for a good ten years, and which are next due to be held in Bern in the autumn.
As a neighbouring country, Austria is one of Switzerland’s most important partners in the ERI sector. The EU Framework Programmes are of great importance for Swiss-Austrian research and innovation cooperation, with around 800 collaborations under the Horizon 2020 programme (2014-2020). In addition, the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) supported almost 650 projects with a cooperation component in Austria between 2018 and 2022, which puts Austria in 8th place among all 145 SNSF partner countries. In the intergovernmental Eureka initiative to promote cross-border cooperation in technologically oriented, market-oriented research and development, Austria is Switzerland’s fourth-largest partner with 124 cooperation projects. Further important instruments in Swiss-Austrian cooperation include research organisations such as CERN in Geneva, the European Organisation for Astronomy ESO and the European Space Agency ESA, of which both countries are full members.
State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation