Looking to deepen their bilateral collaboration on innovation and make it "more strategic", India and Switzerland on Monday launched the Indo-Swiss innovation platform starting with a pilot project on antimicrobial resistance.
In an interview to PTI in the national capital on Monday, Swiss Ambassador to India Ralf Heckner said Switzerland is one of the most innovative countries in the world and India is turning into a more and more innovative country.
"We have more and more convergence when it comes to innovation," he said and added that the platform is to have a more strategic approach in Switzerland's innovation relationship with India and vice versa.
Marking the launch of the platform, an Indo-Swiss Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Innovation Dialogue has been organised at Bengaluru.
Swissnex in India, together with the Universities of Geneva and Zurich, the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) and the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER Pune) have organised the Dialogue.
Swissnex in India, Consulate General of Switzerland is the Swiss science and technology consulate in Bengaluru, established in 2010.
Swissnex is the Swiss global network connecting the dots in education, research, and innovation.
The AMR Dialogue also marked the launch of the innovation platform.
Through the platform Swissnex in India along with the Embassy of Switzerland in India and the Swiss Business Hub aims to facilitate more partnerships and collaborations between the two countries.
"The innovation platform will focus on a few areas where the opportunities for deeper collaboration are clear, plausible and relevant to both countries. The idea of the platform is to consider matters beyond initial conversations in a planned and thorough manner that lead to tangible, measurable outcomes in the health, sustainability and digital transformation spaces," a release said on Monday.
Later, proposals will be called for the Indo-Swiss Joint Research Programme, a bilateral funding instrument, with the aim to directly support possible research collaborations discussed at the Dialogue.
"We would like to keep the bottom-up approach but marry it with the top-down approach... we will build on existing partnerships.
"... this platform idea, bringing in the best Indian and Swiss universities and research institutions together with the best and most innovative Swiss and Indian companies, and then aligning our governmental policies with it, this is a new kind of platform approach and doing innovation together," Heckner said.
He noted that the pilot project on antimicrobial resistance will inform whether the platform idea is working and how it can be improved.
Once we have established that, then we will go to more verticals and broaden the thematic reach of the innovation platform. It is health, sustainability and digitilsation. These are the three priority areas and we are starting with health," he said.
There are around 320 Swiss businesses present in India and 30 of them have an R&D department.
According to the Ambassador, the innovation platform is definitely a first and if this platform approach is successful, "then we would replicate that in other countries where Switzerland has interest in more strategic innovation relationship".