Vision + History
We connect people and ideas in science, education and innovation. We are a global network of connections reimagining tomorrow.
Swissnex is the Swiss global network connecting the dots in education, research, and innovation. Our mission is to support the outreach and active engagement of our partners in the international exchange of knowledge, ideas and talent. The five main Swissnex representations are established in some of the world’s most innovative regions. Together with around twenty Science and Technology Offices (STO) and Counselors (STC) based in Swiss Embassies, they contribute to strengthen Switzerland’s profile as a world-leading innovation hotspot.
Working with our partners and introducing them to thriving innovative ecosystems worldwide
Collaborating and advising on trends and opportunities in science, education and technology
Elevating the visibility of Swiss higher education and research institutions, start-ups and other innovation driven partner organizations
Crafting and creating new ideas by promoting knowledge exchange with peers and industry innovators
It has been 20 years since the founding of Swissnex 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, through the exchange of knowledge, ideas, and talent, is dedicated to unlocking the imagination needed to create a different world.
Back in 1958, the first science attaché was hired on the initiative of the Swiss Ambassador in Washington. His main tasks included reporting on technological developments and on the promotion of young scientists by the US government. 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 the increasing mobility of researchers and the European integration process, the number of science attachés grew into a network. And, 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 knowledge.
Against this background, the two science attachés in the United States developed a novel concept of a platform aiming to promote the exchange of knowledge, bring Swiss and American researchers and entrepreneurs together, and to convey the openness and modernity of Switzerland as a center of knowledge and innovation. The intention was to place the platform in a leading research and innovation cluster and not in a leading capital. Boston, home to Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT), seemed like the right location.
This led to the opening of the SHARE – Swiss House for Advanced Research and Education, in autumn 2000, and later renamed “swissnex”. The support of additional private sponsors made it possible to open a new location in the Silicon Valley, San Francisco in 2003, and another one in Singapore a year later and no longer active today. In the following years, Swissnex locations were opened in Shanghai, China (2008), Bangalore, India (2010) and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2014).
As part of Switzerland’s official network abroad, Swissnex co-operates closely with other Swiss organizations, including in particular: Embassies and Consulate Generals, Presence Switzerland, the Swiss Business Hubs (Switzerland Global Enterprise), Switzerland Tourism and Pro Helvetia.
The office was inaugurated in 2014, with the presence of the Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann, at the time head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research, along with a high-profile delegation from the Swiss science, education and economy sectors. A Letter of Intent for joint projects was signed between the Swiss National Science Foundation and the regional research institution FAPERJ at the opening ceremony, setting the first milestone of Swissnex in Brazil. The Brazilian office was expanded with an outpost in São Paulo in October 2016.
In the context of the Swissnex network anniversary in 2020, a communications campaign was launched to increase exchanges between Swiss stakeholders, the various Swissnex locations and the Science and Technology Offices around the world. Presenting insights and ideas from around the world, the nex20 envisioned the role of Switzerland on the global stage in 2040.