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Education, science and space travel
The Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) cooperates closely with the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation SERI of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research EAER in the education, research, technology and space sectors. The main aim of this cooperation is to ensure that these sectors are incorporated into general foreign policy in a coherent manner.
These sectors are essential cornerstones of prosperity and the efficient operation of a modern society. They require substantial efforts by the government (investment) and are mainly focused on international cooperation, especially in multilateral organizations.
One of the FDFA's main focuses of action is to assist with the operational design of the way Swiss interests are represented, by participating in organizations including
- the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)
- the European Space Agency (ESA)
- the joint planning committees of the European Union (EU)
- the committees of the ESA responsible for developing new programmes
The issues dealt with are very varied and relate to international cooperation in the organizations and the formulation of a European policy in areas such as space, earth observation (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security, GMES) and the environment.
The network of scientific attachés and swissnex outposts in 23 FDFA offices is jointly managed with the SERI. It plays a major part in observing the above-mentioned policies in the target countries and in Switzerland's bilateral cooperation in the areas of education, research, technology and space.
As part of its development cooperation, Switzerland promotes research also in and with developing and transitional countries.