Joint research projects with Bulgaria and Romania well underway

Researchers engaged in conversation at a poster presentation in the Romanian National Library in Bucharest. © UEFISCDI

Most of the 39 research projects with Bulgaria and Romania - part of the Swiss enlargement contribution - have reached half-time. Along with its partner institutions, the SNSF organised mid-term meetings where the research teams discussed their projects.

​Switzerland is contributing to the EU enlargement by supporting efforts to reduce economic and social disparities. The countries receiving support include Romania and Bulgaria, who have chosen scientific research as an area of co-operation. In this context, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) commissioned the SNSF to conduct two research programmes, for which a single call was issued in 2012. The call resulted in 13 projects with Bulgaria and 26 projects with Romania.

Half-time for projects

It is half-time for most of the projects with a maximum duration of three years: they completed the first half of the project phase in June 2014. To mark this event, the SNSF held mid-term meetings with the partner organisations in Sofia and Bucharest respectively. The meetings, which were also covered by the local media, offered the Bulgarian and Romanian research teams the opportunity to present their ongoing projects, which they are conducting together with their partners in Switzerland. Numerous results and some publications have already been produced. In addition, most of the research teams have presented their preliminary findings at international conferences.

Golden opportunity for young researchers

This scientific co-operation is highly valued by the Romanian and Bulgarian researchers. They emphasised, in particular, the complementary approach enabling researchers to benefit from the specific strengths of their partners. In addition, the programme offers young researchers from Switzerland, Bulgaria and Romania a perfect opportunity to gain some experience in international research and build networks.

The projects in Romania concern the following areas: major diseases, impacts of waste and pollutants on environment and climate, sustainable energy, economic growth and social disparities. In Bulgaria, the projects are looking at ecological forestry/agriculture and waste management, social disparities and regional differences, and drug development.

The lists of projects can be found on the relevant SNSF web pages (under "Statistics"), the lay summaries of the individual projects in the research database P3.