In a press release published at the beginning of the year, the Round Table on Swiss Representation in International Organisations and Research Infrastructures (RoTIORI) from the Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT) announced that Switzerland has been excluded from participating in the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI). This is because Switzerland is no longer associated with Horizon Europe, the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation. Switzerland's exclusion applies to its ESFRI delegation and all of its experts who had been participating in ESFRI working groups, including the Health and Food Strategy Working Group.
Every four years, the ESFRI publishes its Strategy Report on Research Infrastructures Roadmap. Since 2006, the European Clinical Research Infrastructure Network (ECRIN) has been an integral part of the ESFRI’s roadmap. Switzerland has been involved with ECRIN as an observer country since 2015, with the Swiss Clinical Trial Organisation (SCTO) serving as its representative. Moreover, Switzerland is involved in an additional 24 ESFRI roadmap infrastructures, and several highly developed research infrastructures, such as the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, are based in Switzerland. Switzerland’s heavy involvement in European infrastructures should be reflected in political cooperation as well, which is why the SCTO supports RoTIORI’s call for swift, pragmatic solutions.
Given this situation, the SCTO is all the more encouraged that shortly before the end of last year, the National Council and the Council of States unanimously approved Switzerland becoming a full member of ECRIN. As a full member, Switzerland contributes to ECRIN's core funding and has full access to ECRIN’s services at no additional cost. In addition, Switzerland is now represented in ECRIN's Assembly of Members, so it can actively participate in decision-making. For the SCTO, one thing is clear: researchers achieve better results when they combine forces and work together. As a clinical research infrastructure, the SCTO has created a network that brings together national and international research communities from various disciplines and institutions.