The declaration was ratified on Friday by Swiss Economics Minister Guy Parmelin during a diplomatic visit to Canada.
According to a press releaseExternal link by Parmelin’s ministry, the two countries want to deepen research relations by “sharing best practices, facilitating greater access to technology, markets and talent, and building linkages between academia, industry and government”.
The Canadian Minister for Innovation, Science and Industry, François-Philippe Champagne, signed on behalf of Ottawa. The text expands on a similar joint statement from 2018.
The following topics in particular will be the focus of partnerships for the period up to 2028, the Swiss Economics Ministry said: climate and sustainability, life sciences and health, quantum science and technologies, and artificial intelligence.
After Switzerland in 2021 rejected an overarching framework agreement to govern long-term ties with the European Union, Brussels reacted by downgrading the Alpine Nation to non-associate status in the lucrative Horizon Europe research programme, which organises grants and access to prestigious scientific projects. This has led some Swiss researchers and institutions to fear being left out in the cold when it comes to future cutting-edge projects.
On Saturday, Parmelin told SRF public radio that the cooperation with countries inside and outside the EU was however not to be seen as a replacement for full association with Horizon Europe, which remains the top priority of the Swiss government.