• UK inks ‘major’ science co-operation agreement with Switzerland

    960 640 Stuart O'Brien

    The UK and Switzerland have signed a major agreement deepening the relationship between the two countries’ university research and innovation communities.

    The agreement was signed by UK Minister of State for Science, Research and Innovation, George Freeman MP, alongside Federal Councillor Parmelin, Head of Switzerland’s Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research, at a ceremony in London.

    Switzerland – placed top of the global rankings for innovation for the past 10 consecutive years, as well as being home to two of Europe’s top 10 universities, a number of world class research laboratories and companies such as Roche and Novartis, and commercial space and satellite technology companies – is a natural partner for the UK, says the government.

    Together the two nations have 10 of Europe’s top 20 research Universities, and this agreement will deepen an ambitious bilateral relationship in areas of mutual interest across 3 key pillars: deep science, industrial commercialisation and international standards and regulation.

    The UK, with seven universities in Europe’s top 10, and a larger share of its own research among the world’s most highly-cited than any other G7 country, brings its own exceptional research and innovation strengths to the table. The memorandum outlines the principles of the relationship, and specific forms of cooperation, including:

    • coordinated or joint initiatives, programmes or projects
    • meetings, workshops, conferences or symposia
    • exchange of information and documentation
    • mobility, visits and delegations
    • strategy and coordination meetings
    • plans for Ministers to convene a regular annual Anglo Swiss Research Collaboration Council to oversee activities

    Signing the MoU, Minister of State, George Freeman, said: “Being a Science Superpower means deepening our international relationships with leading R&D economies like Switzerland, and pursuing multi-lateral collaborations to tackle urgent global challenges like climate change, biosecurity and space sustainability.

    “Research is fundamentally collaborative, and this will be another key step in realising the UK’s ambitions to deepen international R&D partnerships with leading laboratories, countries and industries around the world.

    “Switzerland is home to world class research in life science – especially neuroscience and vaccines, quantum, space, fintech and cleantech – and with longstanding links with the UK, it is a key strategic partner for us.

    “This agreement is more than a piece of paper: Swiss Ministers and I are clear we want to drive deeper tangible co-operation in research fellowships, industrial innovation and regulatory standards in new technology sectors.

    “The memorandum will encourage particular focus on cooperation in ‘deep science’ and ‘deep tech’ (including life science, energy technology, AI and space), as well as commercialisation through innovation, and policy and diplomacy in science and innovation.”

    Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin said: “The UK and Switzerland are both world leaders when it comes to research and innovation. Our shared principles, values and scientific excellence make us natural partners.

    “In line with Switzerland’s goal to strengthen bilateral cooperation in research and innovation with competitive countries worldwide, the MoU with the UK will provide an excellent framework to further develop our partnership.

    “International scientific cooperation is key to solving many global challenges. We can go further, move faster and achieve more by working together.”


    Stuart O'Brien

    All stories by: Stuart O'Brien

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