The COVID-19 crisis hit the innovation landscape at a time when innovation was flourishing. Despite the adverse effects the pandemic is having on global economies, the crisis has already catalysed innovation in many new and traditional sectors, such as health, education, agriculture and retail.
As countries across the world deal with the impact of corona virus, Government and business communities in India and Sweden have shown solidarity and collaboration, demonstrating Indian and Swedish ties continuing to hold strong.
Despite of travel restrictions due to Covid-19, there has been an accelerated digital adoption in both countries, pushing researchers and innovators to adapt and innovate. We, at the Office of Science and Innovation in India feel immensely proud that during the crisis, we have facilitated collaboration between India and Sweden from circular economy to smart grids, from digital health to polar sciences and also sharing best practice in innovation policy and IPR. In this post, we summarize a few activities that have kept us busy!
IPR for the win!
For Swedish companies to co-create with Indian companies, they need to increase their awareness of India’s Intellectual Property ecosystem. In collaboration with Swedish Intellectual Property Office (PRV), the Swedish Chamber of Commerce India and the Indian Intellectual Property Office, OSI-New Delhi organized a webinar on Intellectual Property Rights to foster innovation and business development.
Along with a moderated panel discussion with Indian Patent Office (IPO) and Swedish companies such as Volvo, Ericsson and Musqot, there were also presentations by Swedish Intellectual Property Office (PRV) and Indian Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).
From Linear to Circular Economy!
As the “Joint Declaration on Sweden-India Innovation Partnership for a Sustainable Future” states, there is a strong need for future bilateral cooperation to jointly tackle societal challenges and strengthen both countries’ competitiveness.
India (represented by Indian funding agencies DST, DBT, ICMR and MoES) and Sweden (represented by the Intsam Group – Formas, Forte, Swedish Energy Agency, Swedish Research Council and Vinnova) have therefore during year 2020 continued the discussions on building mutual competence in strategic areas were the Indo-Swedish cooperation could lead to world class and long-term joint research and innovation environments by a number of digital workshop.
As expressed by Bianca Dochtorowicz at Vinnova: “The discussion on how to foster these joint world class research environments between our countries has been centered around the need of solid components ranging from basic research, applied research, innovation to the commercialisation of new technologies, a full value chain support. This would entail that the Indian and Swedish funding agencies would coordinate their activities to a higher degree based on the principles of co-funding, co-development and co-creation, towards mutual benefits and making full use of the countries’ complementary strengths. In defining the thematic focus area of collaboration, alignment with national priorities, development targets, flagship programmes, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals has been key. The thematic area of Circular Economy has been prioritized by both countries to initiate a joint call within, where joint projects will be funded and with the aim of leading to long-term and continued valuable collaborations. A joint workshop will be held in November that would guide the implementation of a joint call in 2021.”
How Sweden became the Innovation leader?
India is in the process of drafting a new Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (STIP 2020). Indian Department of Science and Technology and the Office of PSA have been leading the consultations. The Office of Science and Innovation in India organised a consultation meeting with representatives from Sweden and India where the Swedish panelists shared experiences and best practices from Sweden. Dr Karl Westberg, Mr EriK Åstedt from Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation and Dr Joakim Appelquist from VINNOVA represented Sweden. From India, Dr Akhilesh Gupta, Head of STIP Secretariat, shared details of the upcoming policy and a large number of people involved in drafting the new policy participated in the dialogue.
The closed-door event was a great success and there were a lot of questions on Swedish innovation policy tools that were raised. This event is a good follow-up from the India-Sweden High-Level Dialogue on Innovation Policy that was held during the State visit in 2019.
Sweden and India signed an MoU on Polar science cooperation during the State visit in 2019.
Polar research plays a key role in the development of knowledge related to issues including climate change and the environment. The Indian think-tank ”Science and Geopolitics of Himalaya-ArcticAntarctic” (SAGHAA) facilitated a workshop 28-29th September 2020 with the theme: Managing the Polar Oceans. Sweden was represented by Dr. Åsa Lindgren at the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat.
As per Dr Åsa Lindgren, “the workshop was organised to highlight the United Nations declaration of 2021-2030 to be the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. Devised to draw attention and accelerate scientific developments that will ensure the safety and sustainability of the vast oceans, the UN’s initiative is a challenging milestone. In the context of the Polar oceans, this role’s enormity magnifies. SaGHAA Webinar 2020 served as a teaser to initiate a constructive dialogue on these issues to set the ball rolling towards a sustainable future of our Polar oceans.“
All the above activities demonstrate the creativity and resilience through a collaborative response to find new and innovative approaches to foster the collaboration between the two countries. While these are challenging times for countries around the world, we are confident we will continue to see strong relations between India and Sweden as we move through the pandemic and towards the future!
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Greetings from the OSI-India team,
Fanny von Heland, Leena Kukreja, Mini Nair