A year of dispatches

Federal Council and EAER objectives for 2020 in SERI’s field of activities

This year, the Federal Council and the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER) are focusing on maintaining continuity in SERI’s field of activities, the objective being: ‘Switzerland remains a leader in Education, Research and Innovation and exploits opportunities presented by digital transformation’. Landmarks will be the adoption of the Dispatch on the Promotion of Education, Research and Innovation 2021–2024 and the associated funding decisions, and the Dispatch on Funding for EU Measures in Research and Innovation 2021–2027.

bundesratszimmer
The Federal Council chamber. In 2020 the Federal Council will decide on a number of items of business in Education, Research and Innovation. Photo: FOBL / A. Gempeler

Mission statement 1: Switzerland maintains its prosperity long term and exploits the opportunities of digitalisation


Objective
The Federal Council adopts the Dispatch on the Promotion of Education, Research and Innovation 2021–2024 (ERI Dispatch).
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V

ERI is currently one of the largest federal funding areas. The Federal Council establishes its ERI funding policy and determines the amounts necessary in the ERI Dispatch.

Objective
The Federal Council adopts the dispatch on funding for Switzerland’s participation in the European programmes and initiatives in research and innovation 2021−2027.
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V

Switzerland and the EU have a long and successful history of cooperation in research and innovation. In the dispatch, the Federal Council will ask Parliament to approve funding for Switzerland’s participation in the next EU Framework Programme – Horizon Europe, in the Euratom programme, the ITER project (fusion research), the Digital Europe Programme and possibly some other European initiatives.


* based on the Federal Council’s objectives for 2020


Objective
The negotiating mandate is approved for Switzerland’s association to the next generation of EU Framework Programmes, Horizon Europe, and participation in other EU R&I initiatives that are of relevance to Switzerland.
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V

Switzerland’s participation in the EU Framework Programmes (FPs) forms part of the first package of bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the EU, from 2002. Official negotiations with the EU on Switzerland’s participation in Horizon Europe are planned for 2020.

As soon as negotiations with the EU over Horizon Europe are concluded and Parliament has approved the funding (see above), the actual scope of  participation for researchers in Switzerland will be clarified (association, partial association or participation as a third country). The aims is for researchers in Switzerland to be able to take part in the first calls for proposals in Horizon Europe.

Objective
The Federal Council amends the Ordinance on Measures for Swiss participation in the European Union Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (RIPPO) to adapt it to the new programme generation from 2021.

V

As in the past, national support measures are required to ensure as many Swiss researchers and businesses as possible can take part in the FPs.
These might include information and consulting, financial support in drawing up project proposals and representing Swiss interests on EU bodies. The support measures are regulated in an existing Federal Council ordinance, which will be revised for the start of Horizon Europe.


Objective 5: Switzerland remains a leader in Education, Research and Innovation and exploits the opportunities of digitalisation


Objective
The Federal Council approves the negotiating mandate for Swiss participation in the Erasmus programme 2021–2027.
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V

A motion submitted by the Council of States Science, Education and Culture Committee (SECC-S) requires the Federal Council to enter as soon as possible into negotiations with the EU on association to the EU Erasmus Programme from 2021. The EAER will present a negotiating mandate for approval by the Federal Council based on a preliminary assessment of the costs and benefits of association.

Objective
The Federal Council adopts the Ordinance to the Federal Act on International Cooperation and Mobility in Education.
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V

Late last year the Federal Council presented the draft act to Parliament. The law extends the scope for action and provides a sound basis for promoting international cooperation and mobility in education in the coming years. The fully revised act provides the legal basis for both association in EU education programmes and for implementing domestic funding programmes. It creates a general framework for a range of funding measures. Once the act has gone through Parliament, the Federal Council will revise the associated ordinance.

Objective
The Federal Council approves the Dispatch on Amending the Research and Innovation Promotion Act RIPA.
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V

The consultation procedure on the proposed revision was held in the final three months of 2019. The amendments proposed by the Federal Council primarily concern funding via Innosuisse, with improvements including a more flexible approach to calculating federal funding for innovation projects and greater support for start-ups.

Objective
The fifth series of the National Centres of Competence in Research (NCCRs) is launched, with a particular focus on digital transformation.

V

In late December 2019 Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, the head of the EAER, launched the fifth series of NCCRs. From 2020, the six new national centres are part of the Swiss National Science Foundation’s funding portfolio. The federal government is boosting Swiss research and innovation long term in major fields such as automation, antibiotics resistance and quantum technology, with funding of around CHF 100 million for the new NCCRs between 2020 and 2023. Higher education institutions and the private sector also contribute financially to the centres.

Objective
The Federal Council revises and passes the Ordinance for the Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (SFIVET) and passes this and the SFIVET Act.

V

Last November the Federal Council presented the Federal Act on the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training and the associated dispatch to Parliament. In line with the Confederation’s corporate governance policy, the new law creates a legal basis for SFIVET in the form of a separate organisational decree. SFIVET is the federal centre of expertise for professional training, development and international cooperation in VET.

Objective
As part of the ERI Dispatch 202–2024, the Federal Council signs off reports on efficiency and quality gains in the Swiss education system (in response to the de Courten postulate 16.3474) and on creating study places in human medicine (in response to the Bulliard-Marbach postulate 18.3631).
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V

Reporting on postulates as part of the ERI Dispatch 2021−2024 (see ERI Dispatch 2021–2024).

Objective
The EAER and EDK approve the joint work programme [Confederation and cantons] on cooperation in education.

V

Article 61a paragraph 1 of the Federal Constitution states that the Confederation and the cantons shall, within the scope of their powers, jointly ensure the high quality and accessibility of education in Switzerland. Under the agreement between the federal and cantonal authorities on cooperation in education (ZSAV-BiZ) of 16 December 2016, the education system is monitored by both parties, information on education in Switzerland is collected and compiled on an ongoing basis, joint quality standards are set and quality assurance measures are drawn up, promoted and applied (Art. 6 ZSAV-BiZ). The joint work programme in education cooperation sets out in detail the activities required to achieve these aims. The current 2017–2020 work programme needs to be updated for 2021 to 2024.

Objective
Projects in the VPET 2030 initiative are supported by all VPET partners and progress according to schedule.

V

In the VPET 2030 joint initiative between the Confederation, cantons and professional organisations, a mission statement has been drawn up providing a framework for the further development of the Swiss vocational and professional education and training system in the coming years. With the launch of the implementation phase in summer 2018, the VPET 2030 steering committee drew up a list of detailed activities and a range of measures in the key focus areas. Further measures may be included; these will also be implemented jointly by the VPET partners.


* based on the Federal Council’s objectives for 2020


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