Secretary of State Martina Hirayama at the Eureka Ministerial Conference

Bern, 23.06.2022 – Martina Hirayama, Secretary of State for Education, Research and Innovation, took part in the Eureka Ministerial Council Conference in Lisbon (Portugal) on June 22, 2022. Eureka is an initiative of 47 countries, independent of the EU framework programs for research and innovation, to promote cross-border cooperation projects in market-oriented research and development. Hirayama also exchanged views with German Federal Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger, British Minister George Freeman and South Korean Deputy Minister Soosung Hwang.

For Switzerland, Eureka is a central initiative to promote international innovation cooperation between innovative small and medium-sized companies. In this context, Switzerland not only works multilaterally with the more than 40 member countries, but also bilaterally with Canada, Sweden, Israel and the Netherlands, for example. Innosuisse, the Swiss agency for innovation promotion, represents Switzerland in the Eureka initiative.

At the ministerial conference, the ministers responsible for research and innovation in the member states decided to admit Canada and the Republic of Korea as full members of Eureka. Switzerland welcomes this paradigm shift from a European to an international initiative. Secretary of State Hirayama emphasized the importance of Eureka for all countries around the world that want to cooperate on innovation based on the principle of openness and mutual benefit and that advocate international networking. In addition, Eureka and the EU Commission have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to further strengthen their cooperation. This agreement recognizes Eureka’s important role in the European Research Area and emphasizes its key role in SME-oriented, international funding activities in the fields of research, development and innovation.

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In Lisbon, State Secretary Hirayama also exchanged views with Bettina Stark-Watzinger, German Federal Minister for Education and Research, and the British Minister for Science, Research and Innovation, George Freeman. The talks focused on bilateral relations in the fields of education, research and innovation, as well as association with Horizon Europe as quickly as possible. As part of the signing of a MoU between Innosuisse and the Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology (KIAT), a meeting also took place with the South Korean Deputy Minister for Trade, Industry and Energy, Soosung Hwang.

Swiss participation in Eureka
Eureka was founded in 1985 by 17 countries and the EU Commission as a multilateral organization in the form of an association based in Brussels. Switzerland is also one of the founding states. Today the research initiative has 41 member states and six associated non-European countries. It enables transnational research and innovation projects with a clear market reference, which are developed and implemented according to the bottom-up principle. Research institutions and companies from Switzerland are actively involved in the Eureka programs: since 2008, a total of around 450 projects worth a good 730 million euros have been approved with Swiss participation. Innovative Swiss SMEs are particularly active in the Eurostars program (a joint program run by Eureka and the European Union): Switzerland ranks third behind Germany and the Netherlands in terms of the number of projects.


Address for queries

Communication
State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation SERI
medien@sbfi.admin.ch, Tel. 058 485 67 74


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State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation

http://www.sbfi.admin.ch

Innosuisse – Swiss Agency for Innovation Promotion

https://www.innosuisse.ch

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