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Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences featured in International Innovation | 15.10.14

 

The International Innovation Journal (No 146) has published an interview with Professor Thierry Courvoisier, one of EASAC's Vice Presidents, in which he discusses his role as President of the Swiss Academy of Arts and Sciences and describes the future of both the Academy and the research landscape in Switzerland after Switzerland's recent vote to stop mass immigration.

Professor Courvoisier speaks of the process of bringing together the four individual Swiss academies for medical sciences, technical sciences, humanities and natural sciences under one umbrella union, the Swiss Academy of Arts and Sciences. He grants that this process is not always easy, but argues that "it is absolutely essential to join forces, because the problems confronting our society will require an interdisciplinary approach. For example, a country cannot imagine solving energy questions with just natural sciences or just technology; a solution will require several aspects that deal with society's structure and the way in which we live."

Courvoisier worries that as a consequence of the Swiss vote on immigration, Switzerland's international research communities and the country's relationship with Europe and European science and research could be at stake, as the EU has now excluded Switzerland from the Horizon 2020 programme and the Erasmus exchange programme: "This is very bad because it will prevent people from the European-wide community from working in Swiss institutes, and it excludes Switzerland from the competition within the research community."

"The essence of the problem of this exclusion from Europe is not in the money itself, but in the fact that for a research community to be successful globally, it needs a base that is much larger than a country of 7 million people. Europe can do that, it must do that and any individual country that thinks it is sufficient to do this on its own is wrong. Switzerland absolutely needs to be a part of a continental approach to research and innovation. This is what the Academy has to explain, and this is what I am aiming to continue doing as President."

Read the full article here.