Switzerland understands the need for deeper engagement with India’s technology sector. (Inset: Jonass Brunschwig) Photo Credit: Vieli/Pixabay
Switzerland is often associated with snow-capped mountains and exquisite chocolates, yet it stands as a global innovation and technology leader.
Similarly, Kerala, known globally for its tourism, is now aiming to amplify its presence in the tech arena.
Both places want to expand their profiles as technology hubs, and Jonass Brunschwig, Bangalore-based Consul General of Switzerland, says that is one of his main missions during the three-day Global Huddle that starts on November 16 in Trivandrum.
In an exclusive interview with the TikTalk Newsletter, Brunschwig, who also heads Swissnex, the country's science and technology endeavors here, outlined the dual focus of the Swiss delegation.
“Our aim is twofold,” he says. “Firstly, to showcase our work in science and technology diplomacy, explaining our priorities, programmes, and collaborative opportunities. Secondly, we want to connect with Kerala's startup ecosystem and gain insights into the state's entrepreneurial scene.”
Acknowledging India's growing influence in the global tech landscape, Switzerland sees the need for deeper engagement. The Swiss tech community is intrigued by India’s cost-effective achievements, such as the moon landing near the South Pole, prompting a desire for closer collaboration.
A notable initiative is the launch of a pilot project addressing antimicrobial resistance, a collaborative effort involving Swissnex in India, the Universities of Geneva and Zurich, the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), and the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER Pune).
Both nations are also exploring the establishment of the Indo-Swiss Joint Research Programme and a bilateral funding instrument to directly support research collaborations.
With Switzerland maintaining its status as the top global innovation hub for 13 consecutive years, Brunschwig highlights more possible collaboration with India in some key areas.
“Our focus is mainly on collaboration, and we are looking at three broad areas: health, sustainability, and digital transformation,” says Brunschwig.
“On October 30th, we launched the Indo-Swiss Innovation Platform, which will be the umbrella under which we pursue a bolder strategy for the Indo-Swiss collaboration.”
“Our first focus is on antimicrobial resistance, but we'll be looking to broaden in other key areas addressing pressing challenges of our time, from decarbonizing the economy to transitioning to renewable energy, and more.”
Acknowledging the challenges posed by Switzerland's size, Brunschwig admits to lacking a state-specific strategy for Kerala. However, he expresses eagerness to explore collaboration possibilities with innovators in the state, aligning with the broader India-specific strategy.
Looking ahead, Brunschwig is optimistic about exploring collaboration possibilities during the Global Huddle.
He emphasises the importance of networks and gatherings in expanding connections within Kerala's entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“We aim to expand our network in Kerala's entrepreneurial scene today to seed the possibility for deeper connections and collaborations tomorrow.”