​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Status of Swiss institutions in EU knowledge programmes

Horizon ​​​2020​

Since 1 January 2017, Swiss researchers and institutions are able to participate in all parts of Horizon 2020.

Switzerland ratified the protocol extending the free movement of persons to Croatia on 16 December 2016. As a result, Switzerland can participate in Horizon 2020 as a fully Associated Country.


The negotiations with the European Union on the association of Switzerland to Horizon 2020 had been suspended following the adoption of the popular vote against mass immigration on 9 February 2014. Meanwhile, an agreement with the European Commission (EC) providing a partial and provisory association to Horizon 2020 had been found. The agreement offered companies, researchers​ and institutions in Switzerland access to priorities 'Excellent Science' and 'Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation' as well as to activities falling under EURATOM and International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) until the end of 2016. 


The condition to be fully associated to Horizon 2020 as of 1 January 2017 was the ratification of the protocol extending the free movement of persons to Croatia. With this condition fulfilled, Swiss researchers and institutions can since 1 January 2017 participate in all parts of Horizon 2020, under the same conditions as Member States of the EU and other Associated Countries.


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Since 2014 and until the end of the current programme, Switzerland participates with the status of a 'partner country' (i.e. third country) in Erasmus+.


Following the adoption of the Mass Immigration Initiative on 9 February 2014, negotiations on a Swiss association to the Erasmus+ programme were suspended on 26 February 2014 and Switzerland became a 'partner country'. The status of 'partner country' means that Swiss organisations are not eligible for bilateral mobility activities under Erasmus+ and eligible (for funding) only under spe cific conditions for certain activities. By mutual agreement in spring 2017, negotiations between Switzerland and the European Commission were not reopened. The Swiss Federal Council assumes that association in the 2018–2020 period is no longer realistic. As soon as the key elements of the future programme (as of 2021) are known, the Federal Council will evaluate a possible Swiss association.


In order to ensure the continuity of activities with the Erasmus+ programme countries, Switzerland had designed an interim solution for Erasmus+ for 2014 (approved on 16 April 2014), renewed it for 2015-2016 on 19 September 2014 and extended it to 2017 on 7 September 2016. The interim solution prioritised bilateral mobility activities and secured funding for both outgoing and incoming mobility. In addition, it also made available funds for Swiss partners who engaged in cooperation projects as 'associated partners' (i.e. without applying for European funding).


In April 2017, the Swiss Federal Council submitted a dispatch to the Swiss Parliament in order to have a Swiss solution for 2018-2019. In winter 2017, the Swiss Parliament adopted a legal basis and a budget for this new strategy; on 10 January 2018, the Swiss Federal Council thus established the legal basis. The strategy builds on the Swiss interim solution for Erasmus+ between 2014 and 2017, but also includes funding for pilot projects on international mobility and cooperation, i.e. beyond Europe.


Movetia  is responsible for implementing the Swiss strategy and, for this purpose, publishes special calls for proposals for Swiss organisations wishing to participate in Erasmus+ approved cooperation projects as 'silent' partners with Swiss funding.


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