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2015 annual report

Dear Readers,

2015 marked the 15th year since the foundation of the first swissnex in Boston, initiated by the State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation in partnership with the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. It was then called SHARE (short for Swiss House for Advanced Research and Education). Today, more than ever, “sharing” is a key driver for success in innovation and science. Think of the worldwide push to make scientific data more accessible, or multinationals that turn to local universities and their spin-offs for innovative solutions. The digital age has brought the speed at which knowledge and ideas are exchanged to a new level.

With this first digital annual report of the swissnex network, not only will distribution be easier and more eco-friendly, but you yourself will be able to share it with your friends and colleagues with a mouse click. It will also allow you to browse through swissnex activities across the network in 2015 by location or theme, by watching a video or reading about some of the highlights in the swissnex network. The bottom line is always: how does swissnex create impact, for our partners and for Switzerland?

The swissnex mission attempts to answer this question. swissnex aims to connect people and their ideas, to create visibility for Switzerland’s strengths in science and innovation, to advise and support our partners in their internationalization efforts and to facilitate knowledge sharing, e.g. through study tours on future trends. The activities – as presented in this report – are driven by partnerships, with private and public actors, from small universities to multinational companies.

With this mission in mind, how will the swissnex network evolve in the next years? At the end of 2015, the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation published a Roadmap on the further development of the swissnex network, responding to a postulate of the Swiss Parliament in 2014. The report defines a framework that builds on three guidelines, that is: to continue building on the strengths of the partnership-driven swissnex model; to strengthen the collaboration with the Science and Technology Counselors who support the same mission as the swissnex; and, lastly, to remain a global network that is flexible, dynamic and ready to shift priorities whenever required by a fast evolving-innovative environment, in order to respond to the needs and expectations of our stakeholders.

In regard to this last principle, the year 2015 was also marked by the closure of swissnex Singapore and its transformation into a Science and Technology Office at the Swiss Embassy. Over the course of its eleven years, swissnex Singapore created many sustainable partnerships, and helped Swiss stakeholders to establish their presence in this knowledge hub with great success, building the foundation for long lasting ties between Singapore and Switzerland. Nonetheless, Switzerland continues to offer support to universities and other ERI stakeholders with a Science and Technology office at the Embassy.

I would like to conclude by thanking once again all Swiss and local partners and supporters of swissnex who helped to connect the dots – and hopefully will continue to do so in the future.

Yours sincerely,

Mauro Dell’Ambrogio
State Secretary

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Mauro Dell'Ambrogio, State Secretary

State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation
Switzerland

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Impact

Choose a filter from the list below to explore our 2015 Year In Review.

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From our partners
Network-Wide
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Hear from swissnex partners and collaborators about their experiences…

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Swiss Science and Technology Counselors across the globe
Network-Wide
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The Science and Technology Counselors pursue largely the same mission as the swissnexes do, that is, to support the internationalization of Switzerland’s education, research and innovation landscape…

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Promoting Visibility
Data Canvas: Sense Your City
Network-Wide
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In 2015, swissnex San Francisco initiated the Data Canvas project in collaboration with Gray Area and Lift. Approximately 100 participants worldwide built an open, do-it-yourself environmental sensor network that measured air quality, noise, pollution, light, and temperature in all six cities where swissnex is located, as well as Geneva.

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Inspiring & Exchanging Knowledge
Startup Programs and Camps
Network-Wide
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The swissnex network empowers Swiss startups and entrepreneurs to broaden their horizons and find success, by making targeted introductions, plugging them into the world’s top innovation hubs, and providing guidance and training through various programs, workshops, and camps.

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Informing & Advising
Swiss Education Fair
Singapore
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To display Switzerland’s educational strengths, swissnex Singapore joined forces with the Swiss Business Hub Asean to organize the sixth edition of the Swiss Education Fair…

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Promoting Visibility
A Federal Councillor visits Singapore
Singapore
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In early July, the Swiss Embassy, swissnex Singapore, and the Singapore-ETH Centre organized a presentation and discussion on the topic of ICT…

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Inspiring & Exchanging Knowledge
Orchestre des Continents
Singapore
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Over the course of many years, swissnex Singapore fostered and supported a collaboration with Canton de Vaud, in an effort to promote the internationalization of its Universities of Applied Sciences. One of the results was the founding of the Orchestre des Continents…

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Connecting
Dots successfully connected at swissnex Singapore
Singapore
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Over the past 11 years, swissnex Singapore has opened a great number of doors and established secure paths for excellent collaborations in the future. Confident of the sustainable nature of these ties, and in view of further developing the swissnex network…

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Biorobots!
San Francisco
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Some of the world’s coolest and most advanced bio-inspired robots— a salamander, an amphibious snake, and a fast-running cheetah— invaded the 2015 Bay Area Science Festival in the fall of 2015, when swissnex San Francisco curated a series of events and appearances for the Biorob Lab from EPFL…

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Promoting Visibility
Science Communication Study Tours in San Francisco
San Francisco
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In 2015, swissnex San Francisco launched a study tour, called Inspiring Science Communication, to fuel new ideas and spark creative formats within the Swiss science communication community…

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Inspiring & Exchanging Knowledge
Innovation consulting for Avaloq
San Francisco
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In July 2015, swissnex San Francisco kicked off a partnership with banking solutions provider Avaloq, acting as a trend scout and innovation consultant…

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Informing & Advising
A Swiss Federal Councillor visits San Francisco
San Francisco
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Swiss Federal Councilor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER), traveled to the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley to connect with leaders around innovation, education, and job growth between the two nations…

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Connecting
The Year of Swiss Innovation in India
India
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“Think innovation, think Switzerland,” was the motto of YoSI, otherwise known as the Year of Swiss Innovation in India, a collaborative project between Swiss representations in India…

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Promoting Visibility
For the love of robots…
India
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There’s an undying love of robotics among enthusiasts in India. No wonder we were able to engage over 6,200 students and experts across the country with our Advanced Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Lecture Series and workshops…

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Inspiring & Exchanging Knowledge
CTI Market Entry Camp Launch in India
India
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In May 2015, Federal Councilor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann visited swissnex India where he officially inaugurated the CTI Market Entry Camp in India…

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Informing & Advising
Understanding teacher education across India
India
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swissnex India took its pan-India mission— to promote Swiss academic excellence— to the next level in 2015, by connecting the delegation from the University of Teacher Education of Canton de Vaud with various institutes across the country…

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Connecting
China Hardware Innovation Camp
China
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Equipping university students with skills that foster creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit is a difficult task in a traditional classroom setting. In the face of this challenge, Dr. Marc Laperrouza (EPFL) initiated the China Hardware Innovation Camp…

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Inspiring & Exchanging Knowledge
WeChat hits in 2015
China
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WeChat is China’s foremost social media platform. With over 650 million monthly active users, it combines messaging, communication, gaming, e-commerce, and payment functions within one app. It’s a very valuable tool, deftly used by swissnex China to connect with users and promote Switzerland…

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Promoting Visibility
Transforming rooftops into farms
Brazil
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swissnex Brazil’s focus on sustainability during the year of 2015 also touched on the Swiss startup scene, culminating in a successful landing case in Brazil for the Urban Farmers AG. It began with an invitation extended to Roman Gaus, HSG Alumni and CEO/founder of Urban Farmers AG…

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Informing & Advising
On Tour with the Stämpfli Express
Boston
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Along with the world’s longest rowing shell, constructed by Stämpfli Racing Boats, swissnex Boston attended all the fall regattas in New England and beyond, promoting Switzerland as a country of innovators and as the home of world-class universities…

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Promoting Visibility
Mar sem Lixo. Mar da Gente.
Brazil
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“Mar sem Lixo. Mar da Gente,” Portuguese for Sea without garbage is our sea, was a month-long campaign organized on the occasion of the final stopover of the Swiss Race For Water Odyssey’s trip around the world. The group had been visiting the ocean’s great garbage patches to study the risks of plastic pollution…

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Inspiring & Exchanging Knowledge
BrainNight
Brazil
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In July, swissnex Brazil hosted BrainNight, a science workshop featuring top researchers who addressed neuroscience topics and research, including stem cells, brain metabolism, and brain capacity…

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Connecting
AtlantikSolar
Brazil
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The Aventura AtlantikSolar project was launched in Belém, Pará on October 19, 2015. Together with local institutional and academic partners, the group of PhD students from ETH Zürich responsible for developing a light-weight solar unmanned aerial vehicle discussed the challenges of researching in the Amazon, and the benefits and possibilities that the AtlantikSolar project can bring to future research in the Amazon…

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Promoting Visibility
Establishing Swiss universities’ alumni networks in China
China
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Establishing Swiss universities’ alumni networks in China has been a long-term effort for swissnex China. Our annual alumni gatherings, both in Beijing and Shanghai, are now flagship events. In 2015, when we collected testimonials from our alumni, we heard about precious memories and valuable takeaways from Switzerland, and about why studying in Switzerland is such an unforgettable life experience…

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Connecting
A higher education internationalization success story
China
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Among the many international activities of Swiss Universities of Applied Sciences and Arts (UAS) in China, the Canton de Vaud has been using a unique approach with a clear focus on student exchange…

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Informing & Advising
A Swiss-US Energy Innovation Tour
Boston
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This study tour, made up of journalists, policy makers, and other influencers, met innovators in policy, academia, entrepreneurship and technology development, learning about the cutting-edge innovations currently taking place in Switzerland…

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Inspiring & Exchanging Knowledge
Eurovision Academy tours the NYC media landscape
Boston
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When Eurovision Academy wanted to set up programming in New York City, swissnex Boston’s New York Outpost was ready to plug them into its diversified network of cutting-edge media companies, and to help assemble a curriculum…

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Informing & Advising
Birdly in New York and Boston
Boston
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Birdly, developed by Max Rheiner and his team at ZHDK, is a virtual reality flight simulator. It’s just one example of a project that’s drawing worldwide attention to Swiss innovation.

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Connecting
What is swissnex?
Network-Wide
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The swissnex network is here to help connect you— our partners— to the right people and institutions in the fields of education, research, and innovation. We’re here to amplify your message, promote your cause, and help you achieve your goals, while simultaneously raising Switzerland’s profile abroad…

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The Numbers

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Overall Swissnex Funding

The overall funding (in CHF) covers all expenses, such as operations, salaries, infrastructure, projects and travel. The partner contributions include income primarily from mandates, joint projects and residents. (Local audits pending. Partner Contributions are cash.)

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Project Funding

As a partnership-driven organization, swissnex is required by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation to finance at least two-third of its projects with partner contributions (in CHF; Source: SERI Project Controlling)

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outlook

2015 marked the beginnings of new groundwork for the swissnex network. In 2014, the Swiss parliament adopted a motion by National Councilor Fathi Derder to examine an expansion of the swissnex network and to develop a roadmap for its development. Based on an evaluation survey and interviews with major stakeholder organizations, the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) published in December 2015, a Roadmap that offers a framework for the development of the swissnex network.

First, the roadmap highlights the importance of building up the strengths of the swissnex model. These strengths include: Effectively operating as a partnership-oriented business model, with committed public and private partners, entrepreneurial, dynamic, and creative teams, each location having autonomy in defining its own thematic priorities and managing its own resources, and offices that are strategically located in cities that house some of the world’s leading science and innovation hubs.

Second, the continued development of the network has to remain lean and flexible. Concretely, this means that a potential new swissnex location must have substantial support from partner organizations and Swiss stakeholders. It also means thinking about new and leaner variations of the swissnex model, which would require less “bricks and mortar.” Finally, swissnex will continue to deepen its collaboration with the twenty science and technology counselors around the world, thereby raising awareness of possibilities for support from those embassies.

Within this framework, swissnex aims to continue to foster new forms of partnerships, whether by curating an even bigger and more diverse community of innovation and academic leaders in its premises, as in swissnex San Francisco at Pier 17. Or by testing new forms of the swissnex model, such as “swissnex mobile,” further deepening the strategic partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Presence Switzerland, which will showcase at the EXPO 2017 in Astana. Or, by offering an even stronger global network through the enhanced collaboration with the Science and Technology Counselors, swissnex stakeholders will benefit from these synergies by finding support and connection beyond the five swissnex locations.

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Boston

In 2016 swissnex Boston and its New York Outpost will continue to make meaningful impact for our partners, and add value for Switzerland. We will continue empowering Swiss startups, by helping them connect with Boston and New York’s advanced innovation ecosystems. We’re taking a leading role in planning swissnex mobile— showcasing future energy— which will appear at the EXPO 2017 in Astana. We will promote the new and exciting technologies that are coming out of the robotics and health sectors in Switzerland. And we’ll continue supporting Swiss universities and alumni groups, and promoting Swiss science, research, and art/science collaborations.

Brazil

Rio de Janeiro is now gearing up for another mega-event: the Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games 2016, and to mark the occasion, swissnex Brazil is joining forces with other Swiss representations here to provide a window into Swiss ingenuity at the House of Switzerland. Building on the success of last year’s projects, which focused on the environment and sustainability, this year it’s clean technologies and bottom-up innovation that will be our guiding themes. Meanwhile, we continue our efforts of bringing to light Brazil’s largely unknown niches of excellence for our Swiss partners. In April, we mark our second anniversary. We will look back on our two years of projects, events, and learning-by-doing— and draw important lessons to inspire our next two years of building bridges between Switzerland and Brazil.

China

There are clearly many “Chinas” and our team is ready to bring you beyond the headlines to get a feel for China’s thriving innovation economy. New research centers and universities have been built to help accelerate this transformation. The digital services sector is growing very fast, which in turn helps new business models grow. We will continue to explore, connect, communicate, and engage to help you develop winning projects in China.

India

2016 will see more Swiss startups discovering their potential in the Indian market, with a focus on FinTech, in addition to our core areas of CleanTech, MedTech and ICT. Through our Academia-Industry Training program, young researchers and aspiring entrepreneurs will learn about the benefits of our entrepreneurial ecosystem. For Swiss researchers, we’ll provide delegation visits centering on themes of biotechnology, pharmacology, renewable energy, information technology, and analytics. Last but not least, swissnex India will partner with a new humanitarian innovation challenge, and will continue its collaboration with the Lift Conference for an Asia edition. Stay tuned!

San Francisco

swissnex San Francisco is entering a new era—in a new location—in 2016. It will share a roof with the Swiss Consulate, the Swiss Business Hub, Switzerland Tourism, and numerous other partners. Together, we will co-create a Swiss Pier on San Francisco’s Embarcadero waterfront. Inside this collaborative, boundary-crossing “living lab” for diplomacy and innovation, swissnex will continue to provide the same services we are known for in Switzerland and the Bay Area, with a special programmatic focus on the ways that humans work, eat, talk, live, give, and think— now and in the decades to come.

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