No need for EU: UK strikes major post-Brexit science and research deal with Switzerland
The UK and Switzerland have signed a major agreement deepening the relationship between the two countries’ research and innovation communities, the two countries said this morning.
Both countries are excluded from the EU’s science partnerships.
The deal was signed by UK Minister of State for Science, Research and Innovation, George Freeman MP, alongside Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, Head of Switzerland’s Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research, at a ceremony in London.
The UK called Switzerland “a natural partner” because it is “placed top of the global rankings for innovation for the past ten consecutive years, as well as being home to two of Europe’s top ten universities, some of the world’s best research laboratories and companies such as Roche and Novartis, and commercial space and satellite technology companies.
Together the two nations have 10 of Europe’s top 20 research Universities, and this agreement will deepen an ambitious bilateral relationship in areas of mutual interest across 3 key pillars: deep science, industrial commercialisation and international standards and regulation, according to a statement.
The UK, with 7 universities in Europe’s top 10, and a larger share of its own research among the world’s most highly-cited than any other G7 country, “brings its own exceptional research and innovation strengths to the table. The memorandum outlines the principles of the relationship, and specific forms of cooperation,” the governments said.
“Being a Science Superpower means deepening our international relationships with leading R&D economies like Switzerland, and pursuing multi-lateral collaborations to tackle urgent global challenges like climate change, biosecurity and space sustainability.
“Research is fundamentally collaborative, and this will be another key step in realising the UK’s ambitions to deepen international R&D partnerships with leading laboratories, countries and industries around the world,” explained UK’s Minister of State, George Freeman.
“This agreement is more than a piece of paper: Swiss Ministers and I are clear we want to drive deeper tangible co-operation in research fellowships, industrial innovation and regulatory standards in new technology sectors,” he added.
The memorandum will encourage particular focus on cooperation in “deep science” and “deep tech” (including life science, energy technology, AI and space), as well as commercialisation through innovation, and policy and diplomacy in science and innovation.