The use of automated facial recognition technology and supervision mechanism in UK

The use of automated facial recognition technology and supervision mechanism in UK

I. Introduction

  Automatic facial recognition (AFR) technology has developed rapidly in recent years, and it can identify target people in a short time. The UK Home Office announced the "Biometrics Strategy" on June 28, 2018, saying that AFR technology will be introduced in the law enforcement, and the Home Office will also actively cooperate with other agencies to establish a new oversight and advisory board in order to maintain public trust. AFR technology can improve law enforcement work, but its use will increase the risk of intruding into individual liberty and privacy.

  This article focuses on the application of AFR technology proposed by the UK Home Office. The first part of this article describes the use of AFR technology by the police. The second part focuses on the supervision mechanism proposed by the Home Office in the Biometrics Strategy. However, because the use of AFR technology is still controversial, this article will sort out the key issues of follow-up development through the opinions of the public and private sectors. The overview of the discussion of AFR technology used by police agencies would be helpful for further policy formulation.

II. Overview of the strategy of AFR technology used by the UK police

  According to the Home Office’s Biometrics Strategy, the AFR technology will be used in law enforcement, passports and immigration and national security to protect the public and make these public services more efficient[1]. Since 2017 the UK police have worked with tech companies in testing the AFR technology, at public events like Notting Hill Carnival or big football matches[2].

  In practice, AFR technology is deployed with mobile or fixed camera systems. When a face image is captured through the camera, it is passed to the recognition software for identification in real time. Then, the AFR system will process if there is a ‘match’ and the alarm would solicit an operator’s attention to verify the match and execute the appropriate action[3]. For example, South Wales Police have used AFR system to compare images of people in crowds attending events with pre-determined watch lists of suspected mobile phone thieves[4]. In the future, the police may also compare potential suspects against images from closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV) or mobile phone footage for evidential and investigatory purposes[5].

  The AFR system may use as tools of crime prevention, more than as a form of crime detection[6]. However, the uses of AFR technology are seen as dangerous and intrusive by the UK public[7]. For one thing, it could cause serious harm to democracy and human rights if the police agency misuses AFR technology. For another, it could have a chilling effect on civil society and people may keep self-censoring lawful behavior under constant surveillance[8].

III. The supervision mechanism of AFR technology

  To maintaining public trust, there must be a supervision mechanism to oversight the use of AFR technology in law enforcement. The UK Home Office indicates that the use of AFR technology is governed by a number of codes of practice including Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, Surveillance Camera Code of Practice and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)’s Code of Practice for surveillance cameras[9].

(I) Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984

  The Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) 1984 lays down police powers to obtain and use biometric data, such as collecting DNA and fingerprints from people arrested for a recordable offence. The PACE allows law enforcement agencies proceeding identification to find out people related to crime for criminal and national security purposes. Therefore, for the investigation, detection and prevention tasks related to crime and terrorist activities, the police can collect the facial image of the suspect, which can also be interpreted as the scope of authorization of the  PACE.

(II) Surveillance Camera Code of Practice

  The use of CCTV in public places has interfered with the rights of the people, so the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 requires the establishment of an independent Surveillance Camera Commissioner (SCC) for supervision. The Surveillance Camera Code of Practice  proposed by the SCC sets out 12 principles for guiding the operation and use of surveillance camera systems. The 12 guiding principles are as follows[10]:

A. Use of a surveillance camera system must always be for a specified purpose which is in pursuit of a legitimate aim and necessary to meet an identified pressing need.

B. The use of a surveillance camera system must take into account its effect on individuals and their privacy, with regular reviews to ensure its use remains justified.

C. There must be as much transparency in the use of a surveillance camera system as possible, including a published contact point for access to information and complaints.

D. There must be clear responsibility and accountability for all surveillance camera system activities including images and information collected, held and used.

E. Clear rules, policies and procedures must be in place before a surveillance camera system is used, and these must be communicated to all who need to comply with them.

F. No more images and information should be stored than that which is strictly required for the stated purpose of a surveillance camera system, and such images and information should be deleted once their purposes have been discharged.

G. Access to retained images and information should be restricted and there must be clearly defined rules on who can gain access and for what purpose such access is granted; the disclosure of images and information should only take place when it is necessary for such a purpose or for law enforcement purposes.

H. Surveillance camera system operators should consider any approved operational, technical and competency standards relevant to a system and its purpose and work to meet and maintain those standards.

I. Surveillance camera system images and information should be subject to appropriate security measures to safeguard against unauthorised access and use.

J. There should be effective review and audit mechanisms to ensure legal requirements, policies and standards are complied with in practice, and regular reports should be published.

K. When the use of a surveillance camera system is in pursuit of a legitimate aim, and there is a pressing need for its use, it should then be used in the most effective way to support public safety and law enforcement with the aim of processing images and information of evidential value.

L. Any information used to support a surveillance camera system which compares against a reference database for matching purposes should be accurate and kept up to date.

(III) ICO’s Code of Practice for surveillance cameras

  It must need to pay attention to the personal data and privacy protection during the use of surveillance camera systems and AFR technology. The ICO issued its Code of Practice for surveillance cameras under the Data Protection Act 1998 to explain the legal requirements operators of surveillance cameras. The key points of ICO’s Code of Practice for surveillance cameras are summarized as follows[11]:

A. The use time of the surveillance camera systems should be carefully evaluated and adjusted. It is recommended to regularly evaluate whether it is necessary and proportionate to continue using it.

B. A police force should ensure an effective administration of surveillance camera systems deciding who has responsibility for the control of personal information, what is to be recorded, how the information should be used and to whom it may be disclosed.

C. Recorded material should be stored in a safe way to ensure that personal information can be used effectively for its intended purpose. In addition, the information may be considered to be encrypted if necessary.

D. Disclosure of information from surveillance systems must be controlled and consistent with the purposes for which the system was established.

E. Individuals whose information is recoded have a right to be provided with that information or view that information. The ICO recommends that information must be provided promptly and within no longer than 40 calendar days of receiving a request.

F. The minimum and maximum retention periods of recoded material is not prescribed in the Data Protection Act 1998, but it should not be kept for longer than is necessary and should be the shortest period necessary to serve the purposes for which the system was established.

(IV) A new oversight and advisory board

  In addition to the aforementioned regulations and guidance, the UK Home Office mentioned that it will work closely with related authorities, including ICO, SCC, Biometrics Commissioner (BC), and Forensic Science Regulator (FSR) to establish a new oversight and advisory board to coordinate consideration of law enforcement’s use of facial images and facial recognition systems[12].

  To sum up, it is estimated that the use of AFR technology by law enforcement has been abided by existing regulations and guidance. Firstly, surveillance camera systems must be used on the purposes for which the system was established. Secondly, clear responsibility and accountability mechanisms should be ensured. Thirdly, individuals whose information is recoded have the right to request access to relevant information. In the future, the new oversight and advisory board will be asked to consider issues relating to law enforcement’s use of AFR technology with greater transparency.

IV. Follow-up key issues for the use of AFR technology

  Regarding to the UK Home Office’s Biometrics Strategy, members of independent agencies such as ICO, BC, SCC, as well as civil society, believe that there are still many deficiencies, the relevant discussions are summarized as follows:

(I) The necessity of using AFR technology

  Elizabeth Denham, ICO Commissioner, called for looking at the use of AFR technology carefully, because AFR is an intrusive technology and can increase the risk of intruding into our privacy. Therefore, for the use of AFR technology to be legal, the UK police must have clear evidence to demonstrate that the use of AFR technology in public space is effective in resolving the problem that it aims to address[13].

  The Home Office has pledged to undertake Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs) before introducing AFR technology, including the purpose and legal basis, the framework applies to the organization using the biometrics, the necessity and proportionality and so on.

(II)The limitations of using facial image data

  The UK police can collect, process and use personal data based on the need for crime prevention, investigation and prosecution. In order to secure the use of biometric information, the BC was established under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. The mission of the BC is to regulate the use of biometric information, provide protection from disproportionate enforcement action, and limit the application of surveillance and counter-terrorism powers.

  However, the BC’s powers do not presently extend to other forms of biometric information other than DNA or fingerprints[14]. The BC has expressed concern that while the use of biometric data may well be in the public interest for law enforcement purposes and to support other government functions, the public benefit must be balanced against loss of privacy. Hence, legislation should be carried to decide that crucial question, instead of depending on the BC’s case feedback[15].

  Because biometric data is especially sensitive and most intrusive of individual privacy, it seems that a governance framework should be required and will make decisions of the use of facial images by the police.

(III) Database management and transparency

  For the application of AFR technology, the scope of biometric database is a dispute issue in the UK. It is worth mentioning that the British people feel distrust of the criminal database held by the police. When someone is arrested and detained by the police, the police will take photos of the suspect’s face. However, unlike fingerprints and DNA, even if the person is not sued, their facial images are not automatically deleted from the police biometric database[16].

  South Wales Police have used AFR technology to compare facial images of people in crowds attending major public events with pre-determined watch lists of suspected mobile phone thieves in the AFR field test. Although the watch lists are created for time-limited and specific purposes, the inclusion of suspects who could possibly be innocent people still causes public panic.

  Elizabeth Denham warned that there should be a transparency system about retaining facial images of those arrested but not charged for certain offences[17]. Therefore, in the future the UK Home Office may need to establish a transparent system of AFR biometric database and related supervision mechanism.

(IV) Accuracy and identification errors

  In addition to worrying about infringing personal privacy, the low accuracy of AFR technology is another reason many people oppose the use of AFR technology by police agencies. Silkie Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch, said the police must immediately stop using the AFR technology and avoid mistaking thousands of innocent citizens as criminals; Paul Wiles, Biometrics Commissioner, also called for legislation to manage AFR technology because of its accuracy is too low and the use of AFR technology should be tested and passed external peer review[18].

  In the Home Office’s Biometric Strategy, the scientific quality standards for AFR technology will be established jointly with the FSR, an independent agency under the Home Office. In other words, the Home Office plans to extend the existing forensics science regime to regulate AFR technology.

  Therefore, the FSR has worked with the SCC to develop standards relevant to digital forensics. The UK government has not yet seen specific standards for regulating the accuracy of AFR technology at the present stage.

V. Conclusion

  From the discussion of the public and private sectors in the UK, we can summarize some rules for the use of AFR technology. Firstly, before the application of AFR technology, it is necessary to complete the pre-assessment to ensure the benefits to the whole society. Secondly, there is the possibility of identifying errors in AFR technology. Therefore, in order to maintain the confidence and trust of the people, the relevant scientific standards should be set up first to test the system accuracy. Thirdly, the AFR system should be regarded as an assisting tool for police enforcement in the initial stage. In other words, the information analyzed by the AFR system should still be judged by law enforcement officials, and the police officers should take the responsibilities.

  In order to balance the protection of public interest and basic human rights, the use of biometric data in the AFR technology should be regulated by a special law other than the regulations of surveillance camera and data protection. The scope of the identification database is also a key point, and it may need legislators’ approval to collect and store the facial image data of innocent people. Last but not least, the use of the AFR system should be transparent and the victims of human rights violations can seek appeal.


[1] UK Home Office, Biometrics Strategy, Jun. 28, 2018, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/home-office-biometrics-strategy (last visited Aug. 09, 2018), at 7.

[2] Big Brother Watch, FACE OFF CAMPAIGN: STOP THE MET POLICE USING AUTHORITARIAN FACIAL RECOGNITION CAMERAS, https://bigbrotherwatch.org.uk/all-campaigns/face-off-campaign/ (last visited Aug. 16, 2018).

[3] Lucas Introna & David Wood, Picturing algorithmic surveillance: the politics of facial recognition systems, Surveillance & Society, 2(2/3), 177-198 (2004).

[4] Supra note 1, at 12.

[5] Id, at 25.

[6] Michael Bromby, Computerised Facial Recognition Systems: The Surrounding Legal Problems (Sep. 2006)(LL.M Dissertation Faculty of Law University of Edinburgh), http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.197.7339&rep=rep1&type=pdf , at 3.

[7] Owen Bowcott, Police face legal action over use of facial recognition cameras, The Guardian, Jun. 14, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jun/14/police-face-legal-action-over-use-of-facial-recognition-cameras (last visited Aug. 09, 2018).

[8] Martha Spurrier, Facial recognition is not just useless. In police hands, it is dangerous, The Guardian, May 16, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/may/16/facial-recognition-useless-police-dangerous-met-inaccurate (last visited Aug. 17, 2018).

[9] Supra note 1, at 12.

[10] Surveillance Camera Commissioner, Surveillance camera code of practice, Oct. 28, 2014, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/surveillance-camera-code-of-practice (last visited Aug. 17, 2018).

[11] UK Information Commissioner’s Office, In the picture: A data protection code of practice for surveillance cameras and personal information, Jun. 09, 2017, https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-data-protection/encryption/scenarios/cctv/ (last visited Aug. 10, 2018).

[12] Supra note 1, at 13.

[13] Elizabeth Denham, Blog: facial recognition technology and law enforcement, Information Commissioner's Office, May 14, 2018, https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/news-and-events/blog-facial-recognition-technology-and-law-enforcement/ (last visited Aug. 14, 2018).

[14] Monique Mann & Marcus Smith, Automated Facial Recognition Technology: Recent Developments and Approaches to Oversight, Automated Facial Recognition Technology, 10(1), 140 (2017).

[15] Biometrics Commissioner, Biometrics Commissioner’s response to the Home Office Biometrics Strategy, Jun. 28, 2018, https://www.gov.uk/government/news/biometrics-commissioners-response-to-the-home-office-biometrics-strategy (last visited Aug. 15, 2018).

[16] Supra note 2.

[17] Supra note 13.

[18] Jon Sharman, Metropolitan Police's facial recognition technology 98% inaccurate, figures show, INDEPENDENT, May 13, 2018, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/met-police-facial-recognition-success-south-wales-trial-home-office-false-positive-a8345036.html (last visited Aug. 09, 2018).

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[14] New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Taxpayer Guidance Division, New York State Business Incubator and Innovation Hot Spot Support Act, Technical Memorandum TSB-M-14(1)C, (1)I, (2)S, at 1-6 (March 7, 2014), URL:http://www.wnyincubators.com/content/Innovation%20Hot%20Spot%20Technical%20Memorandum.pdf (last visited:December 18, 2019). [15] Enterprise Income Tax Law of the People’s Republic of China Chapter 4 “Preferential Tax Treatments”: §25 to §36 (2008 revised).

Taiwan Recent Regulatory Development- Promoting Biotech and New Pharmaceuticals Industry

Over the past twenty years, the Government has sought to cultivate the biopharmaceutical industry as one of the future major industry in Taiwan. Back in 1982, the Government has begun to regard biotechnology as a key technology in Technology Development Program, demonstrated that biotechnology is a vital technology in pursuit of future economic growth. Subsequently, the Government initiated national programs that incorporated biotechnology as a blueprint for future industrial development. In order to enhance our competitiveness and building an initial framework for the industry, The Executive Yuan has passed the Biotechnology Industry Promotion Plan. As the Government seeks to create future engines of growth by building an environment conducive for enterprise development, the Plan has been amended four times, and implemented measures focused on the following six areas: related law and regulations, R&D and applications, technology transfer and commercialization, personnel training, investment promotion and coordination, marketing information and marketing service. In 2002, the Executive Yuan approved the Challenge 2008, a six-year national development plan, pointing out biotechnology industry as one of the Two Trillion, Twin Stars industries. The Government planned for future economic growth by benefiting through the attributes of the biotechnology: high-tech, high-reward and less pollution. Thus, since 1997 the Strategic Review Board (SRB) under the Executive Yuan Science and Technology Advisory Panel has taken action in coordinating government policies with industry comments to form a sound policy for the biotechnology industry. Additionally, a well-established legal system for sufficient protection of intellectual property rights is the perquisite for building the industry, as the Government recognized the significance through amending and executing related laws and regulations. By stipulating data exclusivity and experimental use exception in the Pharmaceutical Affair Act, tax benefits provided in Statute for Upgrading Industries , Incentives for Production and R&D of Rare Disease Medicine, Incentives for Medical Technology Research and Development, provide funding measures in the Guidance of Reviewing Programs for Promoting Biotechnology Investment. Clearly, the government has great expectation for the industry through establishing a favorable environment by carrying out these policies and revising outdated regulations. Thus, the Legislative Yuan has passed the “Act for The Development of Biotechnology and New Pharmaceuticals Industry” in June, 2007, and immediately took effect in July. The relevant laws and regulations became effective as well, driving the industry in conducting researches on new drugs and manufacturing new products, increasing sales and expanding the industry to meet an international level. For a biopharmaceutical industry that requires long-term investment and costly R&D, incentive measures is vital to the industry’s survival before the product launches the market. Accordingly, this article will be introducing the recent important regulation that supports the biopharmaceutical industry in Taiwan, and analyzing the government’s policies. Biotechnology is increasingly gaining global attention for its potential in building future economic growth and generating significant profits. In an effort to support the biotechnology industry in Taiwan, the Government has made a step forward by enacting the “Act for the Development of Biotech and New Pharmaceutical Industry”. The biopharmaceutical industry is characterized as high-risk and high-reward, strong government support and a well-developed legal system plays a vital role from its establishment throughout the long term development. Therefore, the Act was enacted tailor to the Biotech and New Pharmaceutical Industry, primarily focuses on tax benefits, R&D activities, personnel recruitment and investment funding, in support of start-up companies and attracting a strong flow of funding worldwide. To pave the way for promoting the biopharmaceutical industry and the Biotech and New Pharmaceutical Company, here the article will be introducing the incentive measures provided in the Act, and supporting development of the industry, demonstrating the efforts made by the Government to build a “Bio-tech Island”. Reference “Act for Development of Biotech and New Pharmaceutical Industry”, webpage of Law and Regulations Database of the Republic of China. 4 July, 2007. Ministry of Justice, Taiwan. 5 Nov. 2008 http://law.moj.gov.tw/Eng/Fnews/FnewsContent.asp?msgid=3180&msgType=en&keyword=undefined

Impact of Government Organizational Reform to Research Legal System and Response Thereto (2) – Observation of the Swiss Research Innovation System

Impact of Government Organizational Reform to Research Legal System and Response Thereto (2) – Observation of the Swiss Research Innovation System I. Foreword   Switzerland is a landlocked country situated in Central Europe, spanning an area of 41,000 km2, where the Alps occupy 60% of the territory, while it owns little cultivated land and poor natural resources. In 2011, its population was about 7,950,000 persons[1]. Since the Swiss Federal was founded, it has been adhering to a diplomatic policy claiming neutrality and peace, and therefore, it is one of the safest and most stable countries in the world. Switzerland is famous for its high-quality education and high-level technological development and is very competitive in biomedicine, chemical engineering, electronics and metal industries in the international market. As a small country with poor resources, the Swiss have learnt to drive their economic and social development through education, R&D and innovation a very long time ago. Some renowned enterprises, including Nestle, Novartis and Roche, are all based in Switzerland. Meanwhile, a lot of creative small-sized and medium-sized enterprises based in Switzerland are dedicated to supporting the export-orientation economy in Switzerland.   Switzerland has the strongest economic strength and plentiful innovation energy. Its patent applications, publication of essay, frequencies of quotation and private enterprises’ innovation performance are remarkable all over the world. According to the Global Competitiveness Report released by the World Economic Forum (WEF), Switzerland has ranked first among the most competitive countries in the world for four years consecutively since 2009[2]. Meanwhile, according to the Global Innovation Index (GII) released by INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) jointly, Switzerland has also ranked first in 2011 and 2012 consecutively[3]. Obviously, Switzerland has led the other countries in the world in innovation development and economic strength. Therefore, when studying the R&D incentives and boosting the industrial innovation, we might benefit from the experience of Switzerland to help boost the relevant mechanism in Taiwan.   Taiwan’s government organization reform has been launched officially and boosted step by step since 2012. In the future, the National Science Council will be reformed into the “Ministry of Science and Technology”, and the Ministry of Economic Affairs into the “Ministry of Economy and Energy”, and the Department of Industrial Development into the “Department of Industry and Technology”. Therefore, Taiwan’s technology administrative system will be changed materially. Under the new government organizational framework, how Taiwan’s technology R&D and industrial innovation system divide work and coordinate operations to boost the continuous economic growth in Taiwan will be the first priority without doubt. Support of innovation policies is critical to promotion of continuous economic growth. The Swiss Government supports technological research and innovation via various organizations and institutions effectively. In recent years, it has achieved outstanding performance in economy, education and innovation. Therefore, we herein study the functions and orientation of the competent authorities dedicated to boosting research and innovation in Switzerland, and observe its policies and legal system applied to boost the national R&D in order to provide the reference for the functions and orientation of the competent authorities dedicated to boosting R&D and industrial innovation in Taiwan. II. Overview of Swiss Federal Technology Laws and Technology Administrative System   Swiss national administrative organization is subject to the council system. The Swiss Federal Council is the national supreme administrative authority, consisting of 7 members elected from the Federal Assembly and dedicated to governing a Federal Government department respectively. Switzerland is a federal country consisting of various cantons that have their own constitutions, councils and governments, respectively, entitled to a high degree of independence.   Article 64 of the Swiss Federal Constitution[4] requires that the federal government support research and innovation. The “Research and Innovation Promotion Act” (RIPA)[5] is dedicated to fulfilling the requirements provided in Article 64 of the Constitution. Article 1 of the RIPA[6] expressly states that the Act is enacted for the following three purposes: 1. Promoting the scientific research and science-based innovation and supporting evaluation, promotion and utilization of research results; 2. Overseeing the cooperation between research institutions, and intervening when necessary; 3. Ensuring that the government funding in research and innovation is utilized effectively. Article 4 of the RIPA provides that the Act shall apply to the research institutions dedicated to innovation R&D and higher education institutions which accept the government funding, and may serve to be the merit for establishment of various institutions dedicated to boosting scientific research, e.g., the National Science Foundation and Commission of Technology & Innovation (CTI). Meanwhile, the Act also provides detailed requirements about the method, mode and restriction of the government funding.   According to the RIPA amended in 2011, the Swiss Federal Government’s responsibility for promoting innovation policies has been extended from “promotion of technology R&D” to “unification of education, research and innovation management”, making the Swiss national industrial innovation framework more well-founded and consistent[8] . Therefore, upon the government organization reform of Switzerland in 2013, most of the competent authorities dedicated to technology in Swiss have been consolidated into the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research.   Under the framework, the Swiss Federal Government assigned higher education, job training, basic scientific research and innovation to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), while the Commission of Technology & Innovation (CTI) was responsible for boosting the R&D of application scientific technology and industrial technology and cooperation between the industries and academy. The two authorities are directly subordinate to the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER). The Swiss Science and Technology Council (SSTC), subordinate to the SERI is an advisory entity dedicated to Swiss technology policies and responsible for providing the Swiss Federal Government and canton governments with the advice and suggestion on scientific, education and technology innovation policies. The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) is an entity dedicated to boosting the basic scientific R&D, known as the two major funding entities together with CTI for Swiss technology R&D. The organizations, duties, functions and operations of certain important entities in the Swiss innovation system are introduced as following. Date source: Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research official website Fig. 1 Swiss Innovation Framework Dedicated to Boosting Industries-Swiss Federal Economic, Education and Research Organizational Chart 1. State Secretariat of Education, Research and Innovation (SERI)   SERI is subordinate to the Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research, and is a department of the Swiss Federal Government dedicated to managing research and innovation. Upon enforcement of the new governmental organization act as of January 1, 2013, SERI was established after the merger of the State Secretariat for Education and Research, initially subordinate to Ministry of Interior, and the Federal Office for Professional Education and Technology (OEPT), initially subordinated to Ministry of Economic Affairs. For the time being, it governs the education, research and innovation (ERI). The transformation not only integrated the management of Swiss innovation system but also unified the orientations toward which the research and innovation policy should be boosted.   SERI’s core missions include “enactment of national technology policies”, “coordination of research activities conducted by higher education institutions, ETH, and other entities of the Federal Government in charge of various areas as energy, environment, traffic and health, and integration of research activities conducted by various government entities and allocation of education, research and innovation resources. Its functions also extend to funding the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) to enable SNSF to subsidize the basic scientific research. Meanwhile, the international cooperation projects for promotion of or participation in research & innovation activities are also handled by SERI to ensure that Switzerland maintains its innovation strength in Europe and the world.   The Swiss Science and Technology Council (SSTC) is subordinate to SERI, and also the advisory unit dedicated to Swiss technology policies, according to Article 5a of RIPA[9]. The SSTC is responsible for providing the Swiss Federal Government and canton governments with advice and suggestion about science, education and innovation policies. It consists of the members elected from the Swiss Federal Council, and a chairman is elected among the members. 2. Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)   The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) is one of the most important institutions dedicated to funding research, responsible for promoting the academic research related to basic science. It supports about 8,500 scientists each year. Its core missions cover funding as incentives for basic scientific research. It grants more than CHF70 million each year. Nevertheless, the application science R&D, in principle, does not fall in the scope of funding by the SNSF. The Foundation allocates the public research fund under the competitive funding system and thereby maintains its irreplaceable identity, contributing to continuous output of high quality in Switzerland.   With the support from the Swiss Federal Government, the SNSF was established in 1952. In order to ensure independence of research, it was planned as a private institution when it was established[10]. Though the funding is provided by SERI, the SNSF still has a high degree of independence when performing its functions. The R&D funding granted by the SNSF may be categorized into the funding to free basic research, specific theme-oriented research, and international cooperative technology R&D, and the free basic research is granted the largest funding. The SNSF consists of Foundation Council, National Research Council and Research Commission[11]. Data source: prepared by the Study Fig. 2  Swiss National Science Foundation Organizational Chart (1) Foundation Council   The Foundation Council is the supreme body of the SNSF[12], which is primarily responsible for making important decisions, deciding the role to be played by the SNSF in the Swiss research system, and ensuring SNSF’s compliance with the purpose for which it was founded. The Foundation Council consists of the members elected from the representatives from important research institutions, universities and industries in Swiss, as well as the government representatives nominated by the Swiss Federal Council. According to the articles of association of the SNSF[13], each member’s term of office should be 4 years, and the members shall be no more than 50 persons. The Foundation Council also governs the Executive Committee of the Foundation Council consisting of 15 Foundation members. The Committee carries out the mission including selection of National Research Council members and review of the Foundation budget. (2) National Research Council   The National Research Council is responsible for reviewing the applications for funding and deciding whether the funding should be granted. It consists of no more than 100 members, mostly researchers in universities and categorized, in four groups by major[14], namely, 1. Humanities and Social Sciences; 2. Math, Natural Science and Engineering; 3. Biology and Medical Science; and 4. National Research Programs (NRPs)and National Centers of Competence in Research (NCCRs). The NRPs and NCCRs are both limited to specific theme-oriented research plans. The funding will continue for 4~5years, amounting to CHF5 million~CHF20 million[15]. The specific theme-oriented research is applicable to non-academic entities, aiming at knowledge and technology transfer, and promotion and application of research results. The four groups evaluate and review the applications and authorize the funding amount.   Meanwhile, the representative members from each group form the Presiding Board dedicated to supervising and coordinating the operations of the National Research Council, and advising the Foundation Council about scientific policies, reviewing defined funding policies, funding model and funding plan, and allocating funding by major. (3) Research Commissions   Research Commissions are established in various higher education research institutions. They serve as the contact bridge between higher education academic institutions and the SNSF. The research commission of a university is responsible for evaluating the application submitted by any researcher in the university in terms of the school conditions, e.g., the school’s basic research facilities and human resource policies, and providing advice in the process of application. Meanwhile, in order to encourage young scholars to attend research activities, the research committee may grant scholarships to PhD students and post-doctor research[16]. ~to be continued~ [1] SWISS FEDERAL STATISTICS OFFICE, Switzerland's population 2011 (2012), http://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/portal/en/index/news/publikationen.Document.163772.pdf (last visited Jun. 1, 2013). [2] WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM [WEF], The Global Competiveness Report 2012-2013 (2012), http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GlobalCompetitivenessReport_2012-13.pdf (last visited Jun. 1, 2013); WEF, The Global Competiveness Report 2011-2012 (2011), http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GCR_Report_2011-12.pdf (last visited Jun. 1, 2013); WEF, The Global Competiveness Report 2010-2011 (2010), http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GlobalCompetitivenessReport_2010-11.pdf (last visited Jun. 1, 2013); WEF, The Global Competiveness Report 2009-2010 (2009),. http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GlobalCompetitivenessReport_2009-10.pdf (last visited Jun. 1, 2013). [3] INSEAD, The Global Innovation Index 2012 Report (2012), http://www.globalinnovationindex.org/gii/GII%202012%20Report.pdf (last visited Jun. 1, 2013); INSEAD, The Global Innovation Index 2011 Report (2011), http://www.wipo.int/freepublications/en/economics/gii/gii_2011.pdf (last visited Jun. 1, 2013). [4] SR 101 Art. 64: “Der Bund fördert die wissenschaftliche Forschung und die Innovation.” [5] Forschungs- und Innovationsförderungsgesetz, vom 7. Oktober 1983 (Stand am 1. Januar 2013). For the full text, please see www.admin.ch/ch/d/sr/4/420.1.de.pdf (last visited Jun. 3, 2013). [6] Id. [7] Id. [8] CTI, CTI Multi-year Program 2013-2016 7(2012), available at http://www.kti.admin.ch/?lang=en&download=NHzLpZeg7t,lnp6I0NTU042l2Z6ln1ad1IZn4Z2qZpnO2Yuq2Z6gpJCDeYR,hGym162epYbg2c_JjKbNoKSn6A-- (last visited Jun. 3, 2013). [9] Supra note 5. [10] Swiss National Science Foundation, http://www.snf.ch/E/about-us/organisation/Pages/default.aspx (last visited Jun. 3, 2013). [11] Id. [12] Foundation Council, Swiss National Science Foundation, http://www.snf.ch/E/about-us/organisation/Pages/foundationcouncil.aspx (last visited Jun. 3, 2013). [13] See Statutes of Swiss National Science Foundation Art.8 & Art. 9, available at http://www.snf.ch/SiteCollectionDocuments/statuten_08_e.pdf (last visited Jun. 3, 2013). [14] National Research Council, Swiss National Science Foundation, http://www.snf.ch/E/about-us/organisation/researchcouncil/Pages/default.aspx (last visted Jun.3, 2013). [15] Theres Paulsen, VISION RD4SD Country Case Study Switzerland (2011), http://www.visionrd4sd.eu/documents/doc_download/109-case-study-switzerland (last visited Jun.6, 2013). [16] Research Commissions, Swiss National Science Foundation, http://www.snf.ch/E/about-us/organisation/Pages/researchcommissions.aspx (last visted Jun. 6, 2013).

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