At two major European research sites outside the EU, people are concerned about prestige, money and career opportunities.
Following the failure of the Structure Agreement, Switzerland is no longer a member of the “Horizon Europe” – EU Research and Innovation Program. This has repercussions: In a recent federal study, most of the researchers surveyed said they felt a “bad” in their work since being excluded.
The situation is similar in Great Britain. According to experts, the country is in danger of losing its top international position in research.
The research community complains unanimously (almost)
Nearly 900 researchers and inventors from universities, institutes and other institutions took part in a study conducted in February by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI). They wanted to know how Switzerland’s so-called “unrelated third country” status would affect their work.
Horizon’s decision in Switzerland
The State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) asked researchers, organizations and institutions in Switzerland about the implications of the Horizon Exclusion. The results of the survey can be found here On the website Of SERI.
As SERI’s media spokesman Simon Keller explained when asked, the results were relaxed, but not surprising. Above all, he emphasizes the networking aspect. A large number of researchers in particular said their international networks have become smaller.
In addition to personal careers, it also has an impact on research, because local scientists are still allowed to participate in Horizon Europe’s joint ventures, but are not allowed to lead them, even in the worst case scenario. “A lot of time, money and prestige can be lost that way,” Keller says.
The “superpower” Great Britain is also affected
The situation is similar in Great Britain. After Brexit, the homeland of the two elite universities, Cambridge and Oxford, was no longer part of the European research collaboration. Martin Smith, of the academic think tank “Welcome”, regrets this and sees the similarities between Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Politics stands in the way of science.
“We hope the UK will be a member of the Horizon again soon,” he said. However, no agreement has been reached at present.
Negotiations did not stop
According to Martin Smith, negotiations with the European Union are currently stalled. The so-called Northern Ireland Protocol is the bone of controversy. Nothing will happen until this is resolved. It annoys those responsible for the policy: “Politics stands in the way and science falls victim”.
Great Britain seeks to maintain its status as an “educational superpower” internationally. However, in Smith’s view, if you are excluded from Horizon, it will fail in the long run. The brightness of the program is very large. “In the future, countries like South Africa or Canada may be involved. It is questionable whether Great Britain can continue.
National programs help – but small
For this reason, “Welcome” puts pressure on the EU and national governments. The company is one of the signatories to the “Stick to Science” initiative, which includes several Swiss universities. “Like our Swiss colleagues – we believe that research knows no national boundaries.
This is Horizon Europe
The EU’s framework for research and innovation “Horizon Europe” runs from 2021 to 2027, and is the world’s largest research and innovation fund with a good budget of 95 95 billion. Along with the extraordinary economic stimulus measures of the “next generation EU”, it helps to promote green and digital change across Europe.
Switzerland is associated with the previous project “Horizon 2020”. The Federal Council strives for the same status as “Horizon Europe” and related projects and initiatives (Euratom program, ITER and “Digital Europe program”).
Switzerland continues to be considered the third unrelated country in the Horizon package. In this case, the actors in the research and innovation will participate in two-thirds of the calls for tenders, but they have not received any funding from the EU.
Meanwhile, both Switzerland and the United Kingdom are trying to offset the loss of the “Horizon Network” with alternative plans. Last but not least, the results of the SERI survey show that researchers do not see these as a complete alternative to the no longer used European network.
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