The repercussions of the vote of 9 February 2014 on the initiative against mass immigration were felt immediately within the Swiss research community. Its exclusion from the European Union's framework programme on research and innovation "Horizon 2020" and the high-profile funding schemes of the European Research Council (ERC) were a severe blow for researchers in the country.
By signing the protocol on Croatia, the Federal Council is creating the possibility of a full association of Switzerland with Horizon 2020 at the end of 2016. This would be of the utmost importance for Swiss science and the Swiss economy, giving Switzerland access to tens of millions of francs' worth of research funds per annum from the European budget.
Switzerland currently has only a partial association with Horizon 2020 until the end of 2016. If no solution is found by then, it risks being relegated to the status of a third country once more. Switzerland's internationality and integration into the European research area are crucial for maintaining high research standards, attracting foreign investors and strengthening Swiss high-tech industries, to the benefit of the Swiss economy as a whole.
President of the National Research Council of the SNSF