Research, innovation and sustainability

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Emma Belova

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) are jointly launching a new applied research programme focused on the fight against poverty and on sustainable development.

The programme, undertaken in partnership with organisations directly involved in development, is aimed at researchers from Switzerland and the Global South. The SDC will contribute approximately CHF 19 million to the programme, set to run from 2022 to 2026. Research and innovation are key to achieving the objectives of the International Cooperation Strategy 2021–24.

The new programme responds to the scientific and development communities’ expressed need for greater opportunities to conduct transdisciplinary research and deliver innovative solutions that are specifically tailored to the needs of people on the ground.

Spotlight on Swiss research and excellence

This new instrument is specifically designed to involve the Swiss scientific community. About 80% of the SDC’s research funding is targeted at the international scientific community. The SOR4D programme aims to harness and promote the potential of Swiss research institutions active in development.

Once the first call for projects is published, Swiss researchers will be able to submit projects to be carried out in partnership with researchers from developing countries as well as with public and private sector actors active in the field of development. The aim is to conduct research that yields workable, concrete solutions to pressing development challenges.

The submitted project proposals will be evaluated by a committee of international experts in science and development. This competitive approach is designed to ensure that the most interesting and promising ideas and partnerships are taken forward. With an SDC budget of about CHF 19 million over five years (2022–26), the SOR4D programme will facilitate the implementation of up to 28 three-to-four-year projects costing CHF 500,000 to CHF 1,000,000.

SOR4D helps fulfil Swiss commitments

The commitments made by Switzerland in its Foreign Policy Strategy 2020-23, its International Cooperation Strategy 2021–24 and towards its implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda require new approaches to expedite the transfer of knowledge and technology from science to practice.

The SOR4D programme is a direct contribution to these commitments. The programme is in line with the thematic priorities of the Foreign Policy Strategy and the International Cooperation Strategy, i.e. to promote scientific partnerships and harness Swiss innovation and the potential of education and research.

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