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Greater Basel, Switzerland

For Basel, both the city and county, ‘talent’ is associated primarily with top talent working in core economic clusters of the region, specialising in the life sciences and nanotechnology. The main policy instruments for boosting innovation within these clusters are threefold. There are ‘hard’ measures resulting in investments in new life science research and teaching facilities. ‘Softer measures’, on the other hand, focus on the support for spin-off firms and the running of ‘innovation circles’ with participants primarily from firms and universities. At the county level, circles are facilitated by the ‘I-net’ programme, a public-private partnership encouraging innovation, entrepreneurship and value creation. This programme targets, in particular, SMEs and start-ups. Foreign investors, on the other hand, are contacted and assisted by the local investment promotion agency.

The orientation towards ‘talent’ is largely focused on welcoming and accommodating workers in the area, with some specific measures targeting highly educated migrants. Overall, there is a strong emphasis on quality of life and facilitating integration in the local urban fabric. This includes attention for housing, cultural amenities, and education, particularly the provision of places at international schools. Comparable to OWL, initiatives are taken to facilitate the combination of work and family life, notably through the ‘Round Table for the Family-Friendly Region’. At a more mundane level, there is a ‘welcome’ programme, which entails a multi-lingual welcome ceremony, guidance on how to use public transport and measures (including a ‘hotline’) to keep the streets clean and tidy.
The University of Basel does attract students from abroad. Compared to other universities in Switzerland there is not a quota for foreign students (at the moment).
The region does not make any effort to retain (under-) graduates from local educational institutions or to attract graduates from elsewhere nor does it encourage re-migration of local citizens who moved out to study and work elsewhere. On the other hand the university and the FHNW (companies) do try to attract and retain graduates.

Policy structure
In the greater Basel region there is attention for programmes, projects and multi-stakeholder cooperation.

Policy domains
There is currently no direct and active policy towards brain gain/brain. In general, there are not any explicit strategies or policy measures to attract and retain highly qualified people neither of the city of Basel (Basel-Stadt) nor the canton of Basel country (Basel-Land).
The overall approach in the region can be characterised as follows: the aim of the political initiatives is to provide very good framework conditions for companies and for people (good quality of life, cultural attractiveness) as well as for universities/research facilities. Therefore, many policy measures have an indirect impact on brain flow.
Companies in the region have programmes to recruit highly qualified people from abroad (so-called expats). The relocation of the expats is organised by private firms. The region offers highly attractive framework conditions and a high quality of live for highly qualified people (also from abroad).