Swiss and UK research chiefs urge European Commission to depoliticize science

© Keystone / Jean-Christophe Pot

The directors of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology have signed an open letter to the President of the European Commission requesting assistance in opening access to Horizon Europe research projects.

This content was published on Jun 24, 2022 – 15:15

The open letterExternal link It was sent on Thursday on behalf of the Stick to the Science campaign as part of an effort to accelerate the readmission of Switzerland and the United Kingdom into the European Union-led Horizon Europe research collaboration. Both countries were excluded from the Horizon program due to ongoing political disagreements.

The letter was also signed by the heads of major British scientific bodies such as royal societyAnd the Wellcome Trust s Universities

It states that Swiss and UK researchers still have a lot to offer science in Europe and that collaboration will benefit everyone, particularly in the face of challenges such as climate change and future pandemics. The authors asked von der Leyen (President of the European Commission) to separate science from political issues.

“Political relationships can be addressed, but the impact of research fragmentation now will continue to be felt for decades to come,” the letter reads.

In 2021, Switzerland decided to break a draft treaty that ties it closely to the European Union. The European Union responded by referring Switzerland to the status of a non-linked country in Horizon Europe, thus excluding Swiss researchers from European Commission funding. Horizon Europe spans from 2021 to 2027 and has a total budget of €95 billion (CHF98 billion).

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