Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Swiss views on the Fifth Framework Programme

The Swiss government has submitted its views on the Commission's "Preliminary guidelines for the Fifth Framework Programme of Research and Technological Development".

The Swiss opinion, based on an extended consultation of scientists, science policy representatives and RTD ma...
The Swiss government has submitted its views on the Commission's "Preliminary guidelines for the Fifth Framework Programme of Research and Technological Development".

The Swiss opinion, based on an extended consultation of scientists, science policy representatives and RTD managers of private industry and of public administration, respects the third country status of Switzerland in relation to the EU Framework Programmes and does not, therefore, comment on policy aspects internal to the EU (Swiss entities have participated in the European RTD Framework Programmes since 1986, but with certain limitations on their participation).

Switzerland considers the analysis and the guiding principles set out in the "Preliminary Guidelines" to be very relevant. It agrees that, in today's political and economic environment, the foremost general goals of European societies are the global competitiveness of the countries of Europe, global human welfare and sustainable development. Research has to and can contribute to the solution of problems in all these fields.

The Swiss paper sets out three main criteria which it believes are essential in order to reach these goals. RTD in Europe must:

- Be competitive globally;
- Close the innovation gap between scientific results and commercialization;
- Establish a research system based on the principles of subsidiarity and complementarity.

Particular emphasis is placed on the need for cooperation at all levels in order to achieve maximum impact. Coordination with specialized research organizations (CERN, ESA, ESO, ESRF, etc.), with other European collaboration frameworks such as COST and EUREKA and with national research programmes is strongly favoured. As a general rule, Switzerland favours an approach in which:

- Concertation activities of national programmes are concentrated in COST (which can also be used as a testing ground for new ideas);
- Generic technological research in RTD-programmes open to all EU and associated countries is executed within the EU Framework Programmes;
- Joint development of products and processes by a limited number of collaborating partners in the short and medium term is the task of nationally funded EUREKA projects.

With regard to the thematic priorities in EU programmes, Switzerland supports the integration of research fields/priority topics and the adoption of a problem-oriented and result-oriented approach aimed at improving flexibility. In this context, the Swiss paper proposes interlinking or combining the following areas presently addressed under separate programmes:

- Informatics, telecommunications and telematics (including multimedia and traffic);
- Material development, industrial processes, manufacturing/production and testing;
- Environment, transport and energy (should have linked objectives);
- Life sciences and technologies, agriculture/nutrition and medical research.

Horizontal measures considered to be of great significance by Switzerland include:

- Increasing funding for support of mobility, particularly through the funding of networks;
- An increased role of the EU in the coordination and development of instrumentation at large-scale national research facilities;
- A simplification of the information structure through the creation of a network of "First Stop Shops" close to users;
- Promoting technology transfer by integrating, into projects, potential users and organizations able to bring applications to market;
- Simplifying application procedures for SMEs.

With regard to the management and overall structure of the Framework Programme, Switzerland stresses the importance of decentralization. It also notes the need to streamline application procedures, reduce the rejection rate and increase transparency of evaluation procedures.

Source: CORDIS Information Collection Unit
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