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Switzerland has a long tradition of expertise in the fields of science, research and education, with “science diplomacy” (SD) now assuming an important role for innovation economies. Past experience shows that international scientific cooperation can have valuable outcomes for the involved countries and complements traditional foreign policy and diplomacy. In Switzerland, a worldwide network of science and technology outposts under the auspices of the Swiss State Secretariat for Education and Research (SER) in cooperation with the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) was established in 2000. The very swissnex network around the world defines one of those established science diplomacy instruments.

In this article, we discuss the swissnex office in China, which acts both as a physical and virtual environment to foster closer ties between Switzerland and China in science and technology, innovation and culture. This case study examines the history and mission of swissnex China, its role and organizational structure, and reviews other nations’ comparable branding initiatives. The paper analyzes clients and partners as well as the main challenges for swissnex China during its three years of operation.


This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Place Branding and Public Diplomacy. The definitive publisher-authenticated version [Schlegel, Flavia, Olivier Jacot, and Marc Fetscherin. 2012. Science diplomacy with swissnex china: A swiss nation brand initiative. Place Branding and Public Diplomacy 7 (4) (November 2012): 289] is available online at:

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Place Branding and Public Diplomacy





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