On June 28, 2022, Martina Hirayama, Swiss State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation, opened the SwissCore Annual Event in Brussels. During her visit, the State Secretary also held talks with Flemish Minister Jo Brouns and representatives of the Faroe Islands.
SwissCore (Contact Office for European Research, Innovation and Education) is the Swiss liaison and information office in Brussels for cooperation in the field of education, research and innovation (ERI). The main topic of this year’s SwissCore Annual Event was sustainable energy production. State Secretary Martina Hirayama’s opening address therefore emphasised the contribution of ERI to sustainable development, especially in the field of energy. She reaffirmed Switzerland’s willingness to begin negotiations on association to the Horizon package and Erasmus+. The Federal Council is also ready to negotiate a specific agreement covering the participation of third countries in EU programmes. The Faroe Islands was the first country to negotiate and conclude such an agreement with the European Commission and has been associated to Horizon Europe since 24 May 2022.
Jo Brouns has been Flemish Minister for the Economy, Innovation, Work, the Social Economy and Agriculture since 18 May 2022, and in this capacity represents Belgium in the Council of the EU in the configuration responsible for research and innovation. During the meeting, the strong cooperation between the two countries was acknowledged and possibilities for its further development were discussed. They also addressed the importance of large research infrastructures for local actors in the field of research and innovation, as well as for the economy and society.
Horizon package 2021–2027
The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon Europe, runs from 2021 to 2027 and, with a budget of around EUR 95 billion, is the world’s largest research and innovation funding programme. Switzerland was associated to the predecessor programme ‘Horizon 2020’. The Federal Council is seeking the same status for ‘Horizon Europe’ and related programmes and initiatives (Euratom Programme, ITER and Digital Europe Programme). These are collectively referred to as the Horizon package.