Tuesday, July 7, 2020

#Sambandh Stories is a series of short interviews with our members or collaboration partners on different topics of interest

This week is with Malin Petersen , programme manager for international collaborations at Sweden's innovation agency Vinnova! 

What are the major trends you see are standing out for India in research and innovation initiatives?

India is one of the largest and fastest-growing markets for digital consumers. This creates new opportunities and ample room for innovation in public as well as private sector. The Indian Government, just like the Swedish one, has set high goals when it comes to digitalisation. The Indian Government’s promotion of digitalisation includes initiatives such as “Digital India” and “Aadhaar”. Aadhaar is the world’s largest biometric identity system.

Another major trend is of course the readjustment of research and innovation funding to help tackling the covid-19 crisis that we have experienced this spring.

Vinnova has a call for healthcare and AI innovation between India and Sweden, what responses have you witnessed by now?

The call is open until the 28th of August. As soon as the call has closed we will start looking through the applications received. Due to the current covid-19 pandemic, the need for AI solutions within healthcare has only increased. The call welcomes solutions dealing with covid-19. Nevertheless, the call is not limited to covid-19, applications with other innovative solutions within AI and health are also welcomed. The decision on which projects are to receive funding will be communicated no later than the 15th of December.

What are other areas Sweden and India each are very competitive in that you think the two countries shall cooperate on?

In addition to AI and Health, other areas of great interest within Indo-Swedish cooperation is Smart Cities, Clean Technologies, Digitalisation and Internet of Things (IoT). Therefore, Vinnova and the Indian Department of Science and Technology (DST) will shortly open a second joint call for proposals within these areas. In this year’s call we are looking to fund solutions relating to covid-19 within the mentioned areas. Keep an eye out at Vinnova’s webpage for more information about the call.

Yet another area of common interest between Sweden and India is circular economy. Thus, several Swedish research funding agencies are looking into to the possibilities of opening a joint call with Indian counterparts next year within circular economy.

In 2018, Sweden and India signed an Innovation Partnership for a Sustainable Future. Since then, our cooperation within innovation has developed even further. The Innovation Partnership includes Health, Smart Cities, Clean Technologies and Digitalisation among other areas and the above mentioned calls are thus part of the implementation of the Innovation partnership. The Innovation partnership also makes Sweden and India natural partners on innovation when dealing with the pandemic. Yet another area of collaboration mentioned in the Innovation partnership is advanced manufacturing. Swedish innovations actors have shown an interest in developing the cooperation with India within smart manufacturing. Therefore, in November this year, Vinnova is organising a massive digital matchmaking event, where Indian and Swedish actors may explore if they could co-create and co-innovate in the area of smart manufacturing.

Another area where innovation actors in Sweden and India see great mutual benefit of cooperation is within Traffic Safety. This has resulted in the Sweden-India Transport Innovation and Safety Partnership (SITIS). The aim of this collaboration is to become a prominent platform for applied research and innovation in the area of safe and sustainable transport. It involves actors within academia, industry and government. The list of potential areas of cooperation is long, let me just end by mentioning a very last one, that is, reducing industrial emissions. At the UN Climate Action Summit in New York in September 2019, Sweden and India announced they were taking the lead to transform the heavy industry sector towards a fossil free future and launched the leadership group for industry transition. Rapid technology innovation will be key in achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. This will require both public and private collaborative research and development. In other words, to reduce industrial emissions, collaborations across both sectors and borders are crucial.

Sweden and India are partners on innovation, through deepened collaboration in science and innovation we jointly create and strengthen competitiveness and address global challenges such as climate change and sustainable development through innovation.

For the future:

Please feel free to contact me at malin.petersen@vinnova.se if you would like a heads-up when the call on Covid-19, Smart Cities, Clean Technologies, Digitalisation and Internet of Things opens.

You may also subscribe to Vinnova’s newsletter at https://www.vinnova.se/en/m/newsroom/newsletter/. Click on “Change your subscription preferences” and choose “Internationellt samarbete” (international cooperation) to receive updates on Vinnova’s international events and available funding opportunities.

This autumn we will create a LinkedIn-group called Sweden India Innovation Initiative, a platform where you can receive information about not only Vinnova’s, but a whole range of Swedish actor’s, collaboration with India. If you are interested in cooperation between Sweden and India, make sure to follow us there!

Thank you Malin! 

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