Gaining experience in different research institutions, not only in one's own country but also abroad, is essential for the pursuit of an academic career. Many young academics from the new EU member states are however unable to gain such experience abroad because they lack the financial resources.
This is why since 2009 Switzerland's enlargement contribution has included support for the Sciex programme, which has enabled over 500 doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, to complete fixed-term research training placements and to successfully pursue their research. The stated goal of the programme was to advance the researchers' individual skill sets, promote academic exchange and develop joint approaches for path-breaking research. The programme has therefore significantly strengthened the research capacity of participating countries. Switzerland contributes its strengths in education and research and at the same time cements contacts with academic networks in the new EU member states.
The Sciex programme is in line with Switzerland's efforts to promote economic growth in the new EU member states as part of its enlargement contribution. Promoting research capacities in partner countries plays a central role in these efforts and is also the focus of numerous cooperation projects. Switzerland’s contribution to the enlarged EU includes CHF 46.8 million for the Sciex programme. The Rectors' Conference of the Swiss Universities (swissuniversities) is responsible for coordinating the programme.
Today's closing conference at ETH Zurich centred on the experience of the young researchers and their mentors, and the scientific results that were achieved as part of the programme. Thomas Greminger, deputy director of the SDC, was impressed both by how smoothly the Sciex programme ran and by the results achieved by the young researchers: "They all showed great commitment for their respective research projects and thus contributed substantially to the success of this programme."
In November 2006, Swiss voters approved a contribution to reduce economic and social disparities in the EU: the enlargement contribution. Parliament subsequently approved a total of CHF 1.302 billion for projects in the countries that had joined the EU since 2004.
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