science 30.1.2019 17:17

Slovenia agrees research cooperation with Switzerland

Brussels, 30 January - The Slovenian Research Agency (ARRS) has become only the second agency from the countries that joined the EU since 2004 to sign a direct cooperation agreement with the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) as part of the Lead Agency Procedure.

Brussels, Belgium
Angelika Kalt, director of the Swiss National Science Foundation, and József Györkös, director of the Slovenian Research Agency (ARRS), sign a lead agency procedure agreement.
Photo: ARRS

The agreement was signed by ARRS director Jozsef Györkös and SNSF director Angelika Kalt in Brussels on Wednesday.

The ARRS said the accord would substantially reduce the administrative burden on the applicants of joint research projects because the evaluation procedure is conducted only by one of the agencies.

If the project gets positive assessment and is proposed for co-financing by the lead agency, the partner agency assumes its part of the co-financing without having to conduct an additional evaluation procedure.

The ARRS and SNSF agreed to take turns as the lead agency on an annual basis. This year it will be the Swiss foundation which will perform the role of the lead agency.

On signing the document, Györkös said that the procedure to draw up the accord had been demanding. "The signing in fact means mutual recognition of procedures to select research projects and an expression of mutual trust."

A public call for Slovenian applicants for joint projects is expected to be published by the SNSF in late February.

The SNSF is the fourth national research founding organisation to have signed a Lead Agency Procedure agreement with the ARRS, after those in Austria, Hungary and the Belgium - Flanders region.

The Slovenian agency is also preparing to sign such agreement with its Croatian counterpart, while preparations are also under way for an agreement on a multilateral all-European lead agency with 18 European agencies involved in the taskforce.