Brussels, 15 Oct 2003
The Swiss National Fund for the support of scientific research has announced that its second call for proposals since the adoption of priorities in 2001 will not be affected by current financial uncertainties, and will, for the first time, include humanities and social sciences.
The national research priorities were adopted with the intention of strengthening Swiss research in important strategic areas, such as nanotechnology and genetics, whilst increasing its international profile. International expert groups have already examined the programme aimed at achieving these goals, with predominantly positive results. The programme has also had the result of encouraging foreign researchers to work in Switzerland, and encouraging Swiss researchers who had been working abroad to return to their home country.
The Federal Office for Education and Research and the Swiss National Fund are in agreement that these priorities will continue to be financed despite current financial uncertainties. This is in spite of the fact that the recovery plan for the budget has not yet found a solution to the problem. The National Council decided at the end of September that the budget for research and education would be reduced less than other areas, and the research community is now hoping that the budget for the programme can be maintained at the level set in 2001.
Humanities and social sciences will be included for the first time following a study carried out under the first call for proposals into the practise of these sciences in Switzerland. Research found that the framework conditions for teaching and research in these fields has become far worse than in the natural sciences, technical sciences and medicine because of huge increases in the numbers of students choosing to follow these subjects.
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