SNSF and ERI partners fear service cuts with serious consequences for Switzerland

© © Pok Yin Victor Leung, CC-BY-NC-ND

The SNSF and its ERI partners are calling for sufficient funding in coming years and for the Federal Council to adjust the ERI Dispatch 2025-2028. Otherwise, services may need to be cut, with serious consequences for Switzerland.

The deadline for the Federal Council's consultation on its draft Dispatch on the Promotion of Education, Research and Innovation 2025-2028 (ERI Dispatch) expired on 24 September 2023. In the Dispatch, the Federal Council proposes only a low degree of growth for the ERI institutions (SNSF, swissuniversities, ETH Board, Innosuisse, Academies of Arts and Sciences).

Due to the expected inflation and planned budget cuts, even zero or negative growth is possible in real terms, and a reduction in services at the ERI institutions concerned is foreseeable. The institutions firmly believe that this jeopardises social and economic progress in Switzerland as well as its above-average innovative strength. In their joint press release, they are therefore calling for annual real growth for the entire ERI sector of between 2.5 and 3.5 per cent for the 2025-2028 period. Only then can they continue to contribute to progress and prosperity in Switzerland.

SNSF calls for real growth of 3.5 per cent

The "nominal growth of 2.7 per cent" in combination with other budget cuts would also force the SNSF to reduce its services. In its statement on the draft ERI Dispatch 2025-2028, it has therefore called for average real growth of 3.5 per cent per year. The SNSF intends to continue investing the majority of its funds in projects proposed by the researchers themselves. In doing so, it can help to ensure that society, the economy and politics in Switzerland are fit for current and future challenges and crises and can play an active part in shaping ongoing societal and technological change. For example, the SNSF intends to implement targeted measures to advance sustainability research and digitalisation. Another priority is strengthening international networking and competitiveness. This is aimed at counteracting the looming isolation of Swiss research and, for example, at attracting young talent from abroad to Switzerland. In addition, the SNSF wants to exploit the full potential of research, so that society and the economy benefit more rapidly and extensively from research findings in the future. Conversely, the SNSF will need to balance this by discontinuing some of its current funding measures.