Netzwerk FUTURE hit the nail on the head when they said: cooperation is a key to success. This key is as important in the fields of education, research and innovation as it is in politics and business. An international cooperation project can have the goal of promoting the research and development of innovative products or services. That is just one example of the opportunities presented by cooperation. Working together with other institutions strengthens and bolsters Switzerland’s reputation as an attractive location for industry, research and innovation. The added value for the entire educational system and society as a whole should not be underestimated
Since Switzerland left Erasmus+ in 2014, it has missed out on opportunities to be involved in international educational projects. The consequences are clearly visible when we compare Switzerland with Austria. Austria has a similar educational system as well as a comparable population size.
In total, between 2014 and 2020, Swiss universities were able to participate in just 42 Erasmus+ cooperation projects. Swiss institutions were excluded from project management. Austria, on the other hand, has participated in 11 times as many (460 cooperation projects) in this time. 88 of those projects were managed by Austrian institutions.
The results are clear: The difference amounted to more than EUR 300 million. Austria had access to a project volume of EUR 346 million in total. Switzerland, on the other hand, only had access to a volume of EUR 20.5 million.
Participating in international cooperations on global issues and challenges such as the digital transformation, sustainability and equal opportunities not only improves the visibility of the individual institutions involved, but also offers them additional expertise and strengthens the institutions’ own experts and networks. Often, cooperation projects are the first step towards longer-term educational and research cooperation between institutions.