Switzerland reaches out to Iran

Ministerial mission aims to help forge tighter links in education and research

May 9, 2018
Tehran skyline

At a time of intense debate about Western engagement with Iran, Switzerland is stepping up the level of contact and collaboration.

In 2016, the two countries signed off on a “road map” for achieving closer bilateral relations. Last week, Mauro Dell’Ambrogio, the Swiss state secretary for education, research and innovation, led a delegation to Iran consisting of representatives of universities, the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute and the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Meetings were scheduled with both Mansour Gholami, the Iranian minister of science, research and technology, and Mohammad Bagher Larijani, deputy minister of health and medical education.

Most current examples of cooperation between Swiss and Iranian researchers take place at the level of direct contacts between individual researchers and universities, primarily in mathematics, natural sciences and engineering.

Yet several Swiss universities have signed agreements with Iranian institutions and, between 2013 and 2017, the Swiss National Science Foundation supported almost 20 research projects with an Iranian partner. The Swiss delegation’s visits to the University of Tehran, Sharif University of Technology, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan University of Technology and Isfahan University of Medical Sciences were designed to explore what further progress is possible in the framework of existing funding instruments.

matthew.reisz@timeshighereducation.com

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