- A network of Swiss science and technology counsellors, who are stationed in strategically important regions around the world;
- swissnex, Swiss houses for scientific and technological exchange abroad, that help raise the level of awareness of Switzerland as a location for expertise and know-how;
- Specific programmes to promote research cooperation with selected priority countries.
It is in Switzerland’s interest to increase awareness of its strengths as an internationally competitive location for scientific research and technological development and to promote its worldwide cooperation in these fields at personal and institutional levels. That is why foreign scientific policy is an important element of Swiss foreign policy. In principle, individual Swiss universities and research institutions pursue their own international strategies, while the federal government takes a subsidiary role in this field.
Federal support of international cooperation in research and development is mainly carried out on a multilateral level through European research organisations (such as ESA, CERN and many others) and research programmes (such as the EU's framework programmes in particular). Specific programmes to promote bilateral cooperation European (neighbour) states are also supported.
In addition to this foreign scientific policy focussed almost exclusively on continental Europe, the federal government has recently set a new initiative for bilateral cooperation with priority partner countries outside Europe.
The federal government has three main instruments to implement its bilateral foreign scientific policy: