Meeting with Ukraine deputy prime minister: focus on reconstruction and digitalisation

Bern, 27.05.2024 - Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research, met on 27 May in Bern with Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister for Innovation, Education, Science and Technology Development and Minister of Digital Transformation. They discussed the economy and reconstruction, as well as cooperation in education, research and innovation.

A key theme of the meeting was the promotion of private sector involvement in Ukraine's reconstruction. Switzerland's plans to formulate concrete measures to support this process were welcomed by Deputy Prime Minister Fedorov, who also co-chairs the Swiss-Ukrainian Joint Economic Commission. These plans were then discussed at technical level with the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). The focus was on identifying Ukraine's most pressing needs and on risk protection and financing instruments for the companies concerned.

Digitalisation was another priority of the meeting between Mr Parmelin and Mr Fedorov. Both parties presented their respective strategies and agreed that the digital transformation will continue to be a major challenge in education, research and innovation. Discussions therefore focused on intensifying Swiss-Ukrainian bilateral cooperation on digital transformation. For example, in the context of economic development cooperation, SECO is supporting Ukraine in regulating digital assets such as cryptocurrencies. The aim is to promote innovation and protect consumers from risks.

Switzerland and Ukraine maintain scientific relations within the framework of the EU programmes for research and innovation and the EUREKA intergovernmental initiative for cross-border cooperation in innovation. Since 1972, Ukraine has been part of the group of Central and Eastern European and Caucasus countries to which 10 to 15 Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships (ESKAS) are awarded each year.

In 2023, the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) supported more than 25 projects with a cooperation component in Ukraine. In consultation with the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), the SNSF also launched a call for joint research projects together with the National Research Foundation of Ukraine in October 2023. This call is aimed at excellence and, exceptionally, will be funded unilaterally by the SNSF. The EAER / SERI will provide the funds from the budget for bilateral programmes. The maximum total cost is CHF 5.7 million. The results of the evaluation of the proposals will be announced in September 2024.

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Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research

Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research