The initiative, launched by British and Swiss academic circles, aims to mobilise the European scientific community to re-engage the two countries into the Horizon Europe research programme.
The Stick to Science campaign, initiated by the ETH Board together with leading British and Swiss science stakeholders (see below for the initiating organisations), calls on European leaders to prioritise scientific collaboration over politics and to involve the UK as well as Switzerland in Horizon Europe, the EU’s €95.5 billion (CHF 99.1 billion) research and innovation programme. “Both Switzerland and the UK have a long tradition of cooperation with all countries in the European Research Area,” says Michael Hengartner, President of the ETH Board. “We must not compromise this beneficial relationship.”
Call for open collaboration
The Stick to Science campaign calls for open collaboration in research and innovation in Europe. The participation of the UK and Switzerland in the EU’s research and innovation programme continues to be blocked by political decisions: the UK’s final integration into Horizon Europe remains stalled due to post-Brexit trade agreements, while Switzerland is still excluded from parts of the programme pending government negotiations. In both cases, the EU is putting political differences ahead of scientific collaboration.
Europe is missing out on scientific opportunities
The current situation means that the work of some of the best minds in Europe’s science and excellent research infrastructures are missing out on the additional scientific knowledge and resources of UK and Swiss institutions. “Scientific cooperation undoubtedly benefits all partners, including the European Union, and the EU will be stronger if countries within and outside the EU collaborate intensively. Excluding Switzerland and the UK from Horizon Europe is a political decision that creates collateral damage for both our countries and the EU”, underlines Michael Hengartner.
UK and Switzerland, if to be associated, are estimated to add another €18 billion (CHF 18.7 bn) to the Horizon Europe budget of €95.5 billion (CHF 99.1 bn) representing a top-up of 18%, and allowing greater collaborative resources for Europe to be put into world-leading research projects.
About the supporting organisations
The Board of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology is the strategic unit appointed by the Swiss Federal Council to manage the ETH Domain. It determines the domain’s strategic direction and allocates the funding provided by the Swiss Confederation to the six institutions.
Universities UK is the collective voice of 140 universities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Its mission is to create the conditions for UK universities to be the best in the world; maximising their positive impact locally, nationally and globally. Universities UK acts on behalf of universities, represented by their heads of institution.
Freedom and individual responsibility, entrepreneurial spirit and open-mindedness: ETH Zurich stands on a bedrock of true Swiss values. Our university for science and technology dates back to the year 1855, when the founders of modern-day Switzerland created it as a centre of innovation and knowledge. At ETH Zurich, students discover an ideal environment for independent thinking, researchers a climate which inspires top performance. Situated in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, ETH Zurich is pioneering effective solutions to the global challenges of today and tomorrow.
EPFL, one of the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology, based in Lausanne, is Europe’s most cosmopolitan technical university with students, professors and staff from over 120 nations. A dynamic environment, open to Switzerland and the world, EPFL is centered on its three missions: teaching, research and technology transfer. Find us online
Wellcome supports science to solve the urgent health challenges facing everyone. We support discovery research into life, health and wellbeing, and we’re taking on three worldwide health challenges: mental health, global heating and infectious diseases.
The Royal Society
The Royal Society is a self-governing Fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering, and medicine. The Society’s fundamental purpose, as it has been since its foundation in 1660, is to recognise, promote, and support excellence in science and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity.