While Switzerland has always been completely embedded in the Europe of knowledge, it is not a member of the European Union (EU). Therefore there was and is a need for a Brussels-based liaison office bridging between Swiss and European policy making and programme development in research, innovation and education and providing practical support to Swiss institutions complementing the work of Euresearch for research and innovation and of Movetia for education. That is why in 1995, the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the former Bundesamt für Bildung und Wissenschaft (BBW) founded SwissCore as one of the earliest Science & Technology (S&T) liaison offices in Brussels. From the very beginning, close cooperation and collaboration with Euresearch was established. Back then, SwissCore also immediately joined the Informal Group of RTD Liaison Offices (IGLO). Between 1995 and 2007, SwissCore and the Brussels-based Office of the Swedish Innovation Agency (VINNOVA) shared facilities.
With a view on the formal association of Switzerland to the 6th EU Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP6) in 2004, the original small office with a Head of Office and an Office Manager was enlarged with a European Advisor for Research. After the conclusion of a new contract between SNSF and BBW in 2002, SwissCore intensified its cooperation and collaboration with the Science and Technology (S&T) Counsellor at the Mission of Switzerland to the EU (Mission CH EU). Since 2005, SwissCore shares facilities and collaborates closely with Norcore.
With a view on the intensified efforts of the EU in the fields of professional education and innovation, the former Federal Office for Professional Education and Technology (OPET) decided to reinforce SwissCore in 2006. On 1 January 2007, a new contract between the SNSF, the State Secretariat for Education and Research (SER) - which was successor of the BBW - and the OPET entered into force mandating SwissCore to deliver services related to FP7 from 2007 to 2013. An additional post of a European Advisor for Innovation was created.
On 1 January 2012, one year after Switzerland got formally associated to the Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP), the contract between SNSF, SER and OPET was enlarged, mandating SwissCore in the entire knowledge triangle, i.e. research, innovation and all sectors of education. We therefore hired a European Advisor for Education. With the arrival of an additional Assistant shared with the Research Council Norway Brussels Office (now NorCore), the organisation reached its current staffing of 6,53 full time equivalents, including two Student Trainees per year.
On 1 July 2013, the SNSF and RCN (now NorCore) renewed their contract for collaboration within their Brussels offices until June 2019. On 1 January 2014, the day that Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+ started, the current contract between SNSF and the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) - which is the merger of the SER and OPET - entered into force and will last until 2020. The Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI) re-joined SwissCore as a funder by 1 October 2014.