Note: the texts under all the headings, with the exception of 'Results achieved', describe the situation before the start of the project.
Scientific Exchange Programme (Sciex) Latvia
The Scientific Exchange Programme between the New Member States and Switzerland, Sciex-NMS.ch for short, has given over 500 young researchers from new EU member states the opportunity to complete a short-term residency in Switzerland to further their research.
Promoting economic growth and improving working conditions
Research and Development
- to develop the individual capacities of the young research scientists (human capital)
- to encourage scientific progress and innovation (scientific perspectives for the future)
- to establish or reinforce networks between Swiss and Latvian researchers
- 27 fellowships have been funded under the Sciex programme with 15 doctoral candidates and 12 post-doctoral researchers supported.
- Other Swiss academic and research institutions
By virtue of the 24 March 2006 Federal Act on Cooperation with the Countries of Eastern Europe and the CIS, Switzerland has made available a CHF 1 billion contribution to the benefit of those States which became EU members on 1 May 2004. Against this background, the framework agreement with Latvia foresees the establishment of a fund to provide scholarships for young Latvian research scientists to Swiss research and development institutions for a total sum of more than CHF 2 million.
To contribute to the reduction of the social and economic disparities within the enlarged EU by means of supporting the professional and scientific capacities of young researchers from the beneficiary countries together with promoting sustainable cooperation between Switzerland and the same beneficiary countries.
Young Latvian scientists and researchers
|Directorate/federal office responsible||
Swiss Contribution to the enlarged EU
Swiss Academic and Research Institution
|Budget||Current phase Swiss budget CHF 2’283’788 Swiss disbursement to date CHF 2’185’917|
Phase 1 01.04.2009 - 31.12.2016 (Completed)
- gave over 500 academics from the new EU member states the opportunity to do a research residency in Switzerland;
- promoted and enhanced relations between Swiss universities and universities in the new EU member states;
- helped develop the research skills of young academics from the new EU member states and strengthen the research environment in the countries themselves;
Research Fellowships for Foreign Students in Switzerland
Gathering experience at several research institutes, including abroad, is often a necessary step for people who want to complete a post-doctoral qualification and pursue an academic career. However, many academics from the new EU member states are unable to undertake or complete research abroad because the cost of living is too high. The Sciex-NMS.ch fellowship programme has made it possible for young researchers to complete a period of study at a Swiss university.
International research cooperation – a win-win situation
The research residencies in Switzerland have allowed researchers to develop their individual skills and have promoted academic exchange, allowing the joint development of pioneering new approaches in research. Switzerland has brought its strengths in education and research to the table and at the same time cemented contacts with academic networks in the new EU member states. A prerequisite for applying for a fellowship is a partnership between the home and host universities.
From solar cells to invasive plant species: applied research thanks to Sciex-NMS .ch
The selection of fellowships was based exclusively on qualitative criteria, which meant a very broad range of projects received funding. Edvinas Orentas (30) from Lithuania spent one and a half years researching solar energy at the University of Geneva, investigating how efficient solar cells can be manufactured quickly and cheaply in a consumer-friendly form. Petr Dostal (37) from the Czech Republic also spent a post-doctoral year in Switzerland at the Institute for Biology in Bern. His research involved creating a combined Swiss and Czech database of invasive plant species, and this now serves as a basic research resource in both countries.
Human capital as a factor of production: cooperation between Swiss and foreign universities
The partner countries also benefit from the fellowship programme as it boosts an important factor of production: their human capital. In addition, networks in a large number of research disciplines are established, expanded and strengthened over the long term – which is also advantageous for Switzerland as a research location. The institutional partnerships often continue well beyond the research residency itself, including in new joint research projects.
The maximum length of stay at a Swiss university was set at two years. An upper limit was deliberately set to ensure that researchers did not lose the link to their home university. This fellowship programme aimed to encourage knowledge transfer between the partner countries, not to contribute to a 'brain drain'.
The fellowship programme:
The Rectors' Conference of the Swiss Universities (swissuniversities) was responsible for coordinating the programme. It was implemented by means of collaboration between foreign and Swiss universities and their respective mentors (professors).