As one of six regional Leading Houses, the University of Geneva has been mandated by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) to develop cooperation instruments for bilateral research projects with Russia, the South Caucasus and Central Asia. Consequently, the Swiss delegation included a representative from the University of Geneva, who took the opportunity to establish high-level contacts.
The official visit was a follow up to Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann’s economic mission to Azerbaijan in July. While main objective of that mission was to explore business opportunities, topics related to research and particularly vocational education and training in particular were also touched upon. During his visit, State Secretary Mauro Dell'Ambrogio discussed these topics in greater depth with Azerbaijan’s Minister of Education, Jeyhun Bayramov. In addition to expanding research collaboration with Switzerland, the topic of vocational education and training is currently attracting a lot of interest in Azerbaijan, as it is regarded as a means of diversifying the local economy. The Swiss vocational education and training system was therefore also one of the topics of discussion in the bilateral meeting with President Ilham Aliyev. The Swiss delegation visited ADA University in Baku, which already cooperates with Swiss universities. Further stops included the Azerbaijani-French University, where the State Secretary gave a lecture on vocational education and training, Baku Higher Oil School, where ABB set up a laboratory, and a vocational training centre currently planned by Holcim.
Switzerland and Azerbaijan collaborate closely as members of the same constituency in the Bretton Woods institutions. Relations in the fields of research and education are equally good, but of limited intensity. Cooperation between Swiss and Azerbaijani researchers takes place mainly in the context of direct cooperation between universities, or within the EU framework programmes. Young researchers from Azerbaijan are also eligible to apply for the competitive Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.