By their very nature, education, research and science have an international dimension. In all its variety, quality and constant need to develop further, knowledge thrives on global exchange.
This natural tendency has become stronger in the age of globalisation. In Switzerland this can be seen by the constant increase in the mobility of students, the internationalisation of university teaching staff and the interest of researchers in cooperation in European or global networks. So it should come as no surprise that today around 20% of all federal resources for the promotion of education, research and innovation go to international cooperation activities.
Swiss efforts to involve its research community in international cooperation programmes began in 1953 with the considerable support the country gave to the founding of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, CERN, in Geneva. Since then this involvement has constantly increased. Switzerland has also focussed its step-by-step involvement in international organisations and programmes on education and research priorities in which it has developed either a leading position internationally or which it has identified as important fields of development and tasks.
Current activities of the Swiss research and innovation sector in international cooperation include the following:
- Participation in the development of the European Research and Innovation Area through Swiss cooperation in European programmes and organisations in the field of research and technological development;
- Support for global scientific and technological cooperation of Swiss universities and institutions working in research and innovation with their foreign counterparts particularly through the development and promotion of bilateral partnerships with selected countries and regions.