SNSF supports the Horizon Fund Law
The SNSF welcomes the proposed Horizon Fund Law and hence the parliamentary initiative to provide Swiss research with more support. It has communicated its position to the federal government.
For over 18 months, Switzerland has been excluded from key areas of the EU's "Horizon Europe" Research Framework Programme. This poses a threat to Switzerland as a centre of research and thus also to social and economic progress: ultimately, only full association with the programme can preserve the appeal of Switzerland as a location for research for the long term. The Horizon Fund Law proposed by the Science, Education and Culture Committee of the Council of States will at least limit the financial harm caused by the current difficult situation.
Therefore, the SNSF welcomes the present legislative project and hence also the efforts being made to sustainably safeguard for Swiss research the funds Parliament already earmarked for research and innovation in connection with Horizon Europe. "This is vital for preserving trust in Switzerland as a centre of research: it facilitates forward planning and gives researchers greater security," says SNSF Director Angelika Kalt.
SNSF proposes modifications
The SNSF thus explicitly supports the proposed federal law on a fund to promote international cooperation and excellence in research and innovation ("Horizon Fund Law"). As part of the consultation process, however, it is proposing a number of modifications. For one thing, the draft law envisages that, wherever possible, research applications will be evaluated by international panels of experts. By contrast, the SNSF feels it would be more effective if the national institutions Innosuisse and SNSF were still responsible for evaluating research and innovation submissions rather than creating new, parallel structures.
According to the Council of States Committee, moreover, the fund's resources would in future be allocated according to a priorities formula. The SNSF considers it crucial to consult the research, education and innovation-related institutions concerned before approving the priorities, and proposes that this be explicitly written into the Fund Law.
And finally, the SNSF is suggesting that all the fund's resources should continue to be allocated to researchers in Switzerland on a competitive basis. “This is in the interests of continuity and research quality in Switzerland and leads to effective and sustainable research funding,” says SNSF Director Angelika Kalt.