Switzerland and Germany exchange views on education, research and innovation in Berlin

Bern, 16.09.2021 - On 16 and 17 September 2021, the annual exchange between the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) took place in Berlin. The heads of delegation Maria Peyro Voeffray, acting Head of International Relations at SERI, and Susanne Burger, Director General of European and International Cooperation in Education and Research at the BMBF, welcomed the well-established close collaboration in education, research and innovation. The meeting also provided the opportunity for Innosuisse and the German Federal Agency for Disruptive Innovation SPRIND, which was founded at the end of 2019, to meet for the first time.

At the 14th working meeting in Berlin, delegation participants exchanged views on political developments that influence events in the field of education, research and innovation (ERI) and which have an impact on bilateral cooperation between Switzerland and Germany. The most important points on the agenda were ERI measures to address the COVID-19 situation, the European Research Area and a possible future association of Switzerland to Erasmus+, the European framework programme for research and innovation Horizon Europe, as well as non-European forms of cooperation. The meeting also included talks between the Swiss innovation agency Innosuisse and the recently established German Federal Agency for Disruptive Innovation SPRIND.
The two delegations also discussed international cooperation in vocational and professional education and training, and the updated agreement on the mutual recognition of higher education qualifications, which was signed in February 2021 by SERI State Secretary Martina Hirayama and Federal Education Minister Anja Karlicze. The agreement came into force on 1 September.

Germany is by far Switzerland's most important partner in the field of ERI. Approximately 1,650 German–Swiss collaborative projects were funded under the EU’s 8th research framework programme Horizon 2020 (2014–2020) and these are testimony to the significant amount of cooperation and excellent ties between scientists and research and innovation institutions in the two countries. The Swiss National Science Foundation supported around 4,700 projects between 2016 and 2021, while Innosuisse funded almost 110 projects in which Germany participated. German students form the largest group of foreigners studying at Swiss higher education institutions, there being around 12,000 in number (foreign-educated only in 2020–2021). In comparison, there are around 3,700 Swiss currently studying in Germany.


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