Photo credit: Swissnex in Boston & NYC

Our mission

Swissnex - connecting Switzerland and the world in education, research and innovation

Who we are

What we do

The core value of Swissnex consists of

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    Connecting its partners to thriving innovation ecosystems worldwide

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    Advising on trends and opportunities in science, education and innovation

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    Promoting the visibility of Swiss higher education and research institutions, startups and other innovation-driven partner organizations

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    Inspiring new ideas by promoting knowledge exchange

Swissnex is an initiative of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation and is part of the Confederation's network abroad managed by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. In its operations, Swissnex takes a collaborative approach, relying on public and private partnerships and funding.

Photo credit: Swissnex in Boston & NYC

Our history

The origins of the Swiss science attaché network

In the years following the Second World War, many states saw the United States as a model for the promotion of research and development of new technologies. In light of the above, the first science attaché was hired at the initiative of the Swiss ambassador in Washington in 1958. His main tasks included reporting on technological developments and the promotion of young scientists by the US government. Staying in touch with Swiss scientists living in the US with a view to their possible return to Switzerland had already established itself as a central concern. The positive experiences in Washington led to the creation in 1969 of two other posts for science attachés in Moscow and Tokyo.

In the 1990s, owing to researchers’ increasing mobility and the European integration process, the number of science attachés grew into a network. In 1990, a science attaché was dispatched to the Swiss mission in Brussels for the first time. In 1994, career diplomats in Seoul and Bonn carried out the tasks of a science attaché on a part-time basis. Three years later, the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation’s predecessor, the Swiss Science Agency (SSA), dispatched a science attaché to the Consulate General of Switzerland in San Francisco. Soon afterwards, in 1998, the Council of States adopted a postulate instructing the Federal Council to forge ahead with the development of a network of science attachés to ensure the international competitiveness of Swiss science and innovation expertise.

Revealing the Dots

In 2020, as part of our 20th anniversary, we embarked on a series of interviews to discover Swissnex's story from the perspective of some of Swissnex's most pivotal figures. The resulting publication, Revealing the Dots, gives unprecedented insights into the inception of Swissnex and its development into our global network.

Read it now

nex20

It has been 20 years since Swissnex was founded in Cambridge, USA. Driving this adventure was a vision for the future of Switzerland and its formidable innovation potential. Today, Swissnex represents an unparalleled platform for connecting tomorrow: a global network, which uses the exchange of knowledge, ideas, and talent, to unlock the imagination needed to create a different world. For its 20th anniversary in 2020, Swissnex engaged researchers, entrepreneurs, and visionary leaders to imagine the role of Switzerland on the global stage in 2040. Called nex20, the core of the program consisted of various activities in different formats addressing five themes.