Switzerland’s status as third country confirmed

21/02/2014 13:09

Following the outcome of the Swiss referendum on immigration last weekend, the European Commission announced on 10 February that it had suspended negotiations to include Switzerland as an associated country to Horizon 2020 and to the higher education program Erasmus+. Even though the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) nonetheless recommended Swiss researchers “to continue to respond to and actively participate in open calls for Horizon 2020”, a document posted on the Participant’s Portal now confirms Switzerland’s status as a Third Country.

“As the negotiations on Switzerland’s association to Horizon 2020 could not be completed,” it says, “Switzerland has to be considered a non-associated country. This means that for the 2014 calls for proposals the participation of Swiss entities will be in accordance with Horizon 2020 provisions governing the participation of third country entities.”

Apart from being a blow for Swiss researchers, this non-association also holds a number of consequences for other researchers planning on including Swiss colleagues in their applications. In order to avoid ineligible applications due to false consortium partners, it is therefore best to consider that:

  • for standard collaborative projects “Swiss participants are not automatically eligible for funding and will not count towards the minimum number of [three] participants required for a project”,
  • for single-beneficiary calls such as the ERC grants or the SME instrument “[r]esearchers, institutions and companies established in Switzerland will not be eligible to take part”,
  • for the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Swiss entities will not automatically be eligible for funding in host-driven actions like the Innovative Training Networks (ITN) or the Research and Innovation Staff Exchanges (RISE),
  • and for projects funded under FP7 nothing will change.

The document can be found on the Participant’s Portal. The official SERI note can be read here. Should the situation evolve, the information on the Participant’s Portal will be updated immediately.