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Switzerland steps up research and innovation cooperation with the EU

Brussels, 22 December 2016

Swiss researchers and organisations will now be able to fully participate in Horizon 2020, the European Union's research and innovation funding programme, on equal terms with entities from EU Member States and other associated countries. This is because on 1 January 2017, Switzerland will become fully associated to Horizon 2020. Until now, Switzerland has only been associated to parts of the programme.

The change is due to Swiss ratification, on Friday 16 December 2016, of the Protocol extending the EU-Switzerland Free Movement of Persons agreement to Croatia, which was the condition for Swiss association to all areas of Horizon 2020.

Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: "Switzerland has now fulfilled the EU's condition on free movement of people and can be fully associated to Horizon 2020. This is good news for Switzerland, and good news for the EU. It will further strengthen our scientific communities and our very substantial cooperation in research and innovation."

Today, President Jean-Claude Juncker welcomed the ratification of the Protocol, saying that this long awaited decision will allow Croatia to become a full member of the agreement and hence Croatia's citizens will fully benefit of the free movement of persons.

Background:

Cooperation in research, science and innovation between the European Union and Switzerland has a long history, and Swiss researchers and organisations have been very active participants in successive EU framework programmes for research and innovation.

From 15 December 2014 to 31 December 2016, Switzerland has been associated to parts of Horizon 2020 (actions under the "Excellent Science" pillar, containing the European Research Council, Future and Emerging Technologies, Research Infrastructures and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions, as well as in actions under the specific objective “Spreading excellence and widening participation"), the Research and Training Programme of Euratom and the activities carried out by the European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion for Energy for 2014-2020.

Despite only partial association, Swiss participation in Horizon 2020 has been high. So far, there are 1,333 participations from Switzerland in 1,001 signed grant agreements, which ranks Switzerland at first place among the Associated Countries in terms of participations.

The full association also covers the Euratom Programme (2014-2018) complementing Horizon 2020, and the activities carried out by Fusion for Energy (F4E)/ITER (until 31 December 2020).

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