Annual Report 2017
Broadening horizons –
digitalization and beyond

Dear reader,

Digitalization is omnipresent. It influences and permeates our society and economy. Change is nothing new, but the fast pace and global dimension of digitalization are striking. Generally, Switzerland has good framework conditions to meet these challenges. These include our high-quality education, research and innovation system.

In order to maintain our innovative strength and competitiveness, however, we need to discover how to deal with digitalization, exploit the potential opportunities involved, and overcome the challenges. This is where the work of the swissnex Network steps in. In previous years, locations such as San Francisco, Boston, Shanghai, Seoul and Tokyo had already drawn attention to emerging developments in the digital sector.

The swissnex Network’s 2017 Annual Report reveals that in the meantime, digitalization has moved to the top of the international agenda. Under the motto “Broadening Horizons – digitalization and beyond”, this report presents an inspiring selection of initiatives and projects on digitalization: smart electricity in Vienna, the emerging gaming scene in São Paulo, blockchain and fintech in Shanghai, the digitalization of the healthcare system in Seoul, dealing with cyber attacks in San Francisco, innovative start-ups in Boston, modern tunnel technology in India, from innovation to marketable products in Moscow, space technology in Rome and many other examples.

All these activities demonstrate the value of the swissnex Network for Switzerland. In order to remain innovative, Switzerland has to rely on an international network to benefit from an exchange of knowledge and experiences with other countries. In addition, it needs proactive bridge-builders who bring players together locally, establish sustainable contacts, and thereby lay the foundation for successful cooperation projects.

With this in mind, I would like to thank the members of the swissnex Network for their highly valuable work: keep your finger on the pulse of tomorrow’s trends and continue to create the connections to respond to them!

I would also like to thank all the higher education institutions, research institutions, funding organizations, foundations, NGOs, companies and government agencies involved for their excellent cooperation. Their support and interest show that the swissnex Network continues to be a unique asset in supporting the international endeavors of our Swiss education, research and innovation ecosystem.

I hope you enjoy reading the 2017 Annual Report.

Yours sincerely,

Mauro Dell’Ambrogio, State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation

Read More
Mauro Dell'Ambrogio, State Secretary

State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation
Switzerland

Highlights

Choose a filter from the list below to explore our 2017 Highlights

View All Content
Select Location
swissnex BostonBernswissnex Brazilswissnex Chinaswissnex IndiaSan FranciscoScience Counselors / Offices
Broadening Horizons – digitalization and beyondInforming and advisingConnectingInspiring and exchanging knowledgePromoting visibility
Team Bern
Bern

Regula Renggli, Corinne Gottier, Ambassador Mauro Moruzzi, Martin Strickler, Malin Borg, Philippe Roesle, Dércio Afonso da Silva, Beatrice Ferrari, Moreno Forni, Anouk De Bast, Cecilia Neyroud

Boston & New York
swissnex Boston

Luca Baudino, Francesco Bortoluzzi, Mayar El Hayawan, Philippe Labouchère, Cécile Vulliemin, Sophie Sithamma, Alexander Zuend, Gary Weckx, Christian Simm, Jonas Brunschwig, Christine Luiggi

Team swissnex Brazil
swissnex Brazil

Nathalie Comtesse, Maria Conti, Pedro Capra, Amanda Akemi, Elisa Brühwiler, Sylvia Romanelli, Leonardo Machado

Team swissnex China
swissnex China

Jingting Hu, Yun Fu, Tu Hu, Valentin Beuchat, Julia Tran, Reto Siegfried, Sylvia Xu, Yi Qin, Yue Shi, Bodong Shi, Jenna Lou Mauron, Sharlene, Martin Stürchler, Daniela Derendinger, Sophie Fan, Dr. Felix Moesner, Lijun Zhang, Linda Lou, Miao Jiang, Claudio R. Boër, Rahel Gruber, Cissy Yiwen Sun, Yuan Jing, Isabel Goetz, Chenchen Liu, Jing Qin, Yijun Wu, Linhui Huang

Team swissnex San Francisco
San Francisco

Eryk Salvaggio, Caitlin Miller, Benjamin Bollmann, Emina Reissinger, Younes Sebti, Steven J. Reading, Gioia Deucher, Nicola Ruffo, Linda Aerne, Laura Erickson, Nicholas Dunkel, Perrine Huber, Margaux Mégevand, Sheila Fakurnejad, Sarah Chapatte, Anne Amis, Franziska Steiner, Julien Vergély

Team swissnex India
swissnex India

© swissnex India

Dinesh Shereshtha, Ravi K Channaiah, Dr. Swetha Suresh, Maitree Dasgupta, Solomon George, Clementine Robert, Prateek Khare, Sarita Prakash, Palek Sharma, Sébastien Hug, Anju Edgar, Yashaswini Kumar, Gaganjot Kaur, Vidya Kamalesh, Ruby Jabasini, Dr. Indraneel Ghose, Yelamma Narayanappa, Thai Huy Nguyen, Conny Camenzind

Review by Maria Conti
swissnex Brazil

Maria Conti, CEO swissnex Brazil

Diversity has inspired and challenged swissnex Brazil and continues to do so.

2017 was the year of exploring fintech and its growing importance for both Brazil and Switzerland and we look forward to seeing our efforts result in significant partnerships. In the digital industry, swissnex Brazil had a strong presence during BIG festival, the major event for the independent gaming industry in Brazil.

We dove deeper into strengthening the network, and broadening opportunities for collaboration. Among the many partnerships that swissnex Brazil established in academia, entrepreneurship, the arts, science and technology, the AIT (Academia Industry Training) was one of the milestones in our many collaborations.

In 2018, we will be co-creating the future with the power of diversity: from biodiversity in Amazon region to diverse digital solutions which will lead to market innovation and to innovative results with a social impact.

Broadening Horizons – digitalization and beyond
Review by Sebastien Hug
swissnex India

Sébastien Hug, CEO and Consul General, swissnex India. © swissnex India

Whether it’s facilitating knowledge exchange in tunnel engineering or initiating and designing a program for Swiss engineering students to work on innovative projects in India, swissnex India has promoted and created many new opportunities for its partners in 2017. In the midst of such an intense year, I was lucky to take over from my predecessor, Balz Strasser, who led the highly motivated and creative team of swissnex India and the Consulate General in Bangalore.

Going forward, my ambition is to further develop innovative initiatives and new models of engagement based on opportunities in India, the demands of our partners, and the passion of our staff members. Energy, health and data will be some of the new strategic thematic areas for the next couple of years all of which are undergoing important paradigm changes in the face of rapid digitalization. We will also be looking into new ways to support the internationalization of Swiss start-ups and exploring the power of open innovation for Swiss companies in the Indian context. Finally, swissnex India will help to celebrate 70 years of the Swiss-Indian Friendship Treaty by creating platforms for encounters and exchanges on topics such as science communication and makerspaces.

Broadening Horizons – digitalization and beyond
Review by Felix Moesner
swissnex China

Felix Moesner, CEO swissnex China

Back in Asia after a four-year period in Boston, I am struck by China’s potential in the areas where swissnex is active. Digitalization is everywhere in China, starting from mobile payment solutions to e-commerce and smart manufacturing. These are some of the fields where Swiss stakeholders could benefit from closer exchanges.
We look back on a year of bustling activities, events and delegations, where swissnex China highlighted innovative and cutting-edge opportunities to its partners. It is in this spirit that I am looking forward to further exploring all that this country has to offer and to building bridges between Switzerland and China.

Broadening Horizons – digitalization and beyond
Review by Christian Simm
swissnex Boston

Christian Simm, CEO swissnex Boston

2017 was a year of change and new initiatives at swissnex Boston and swissnex in New York. I joined the team in August from swissnex San Francisco, and at that point preparations for the swissnex Dome’s presence at HUBweek, Boston’s “Festival for the Future,” were well under way. We facilitated the showcasing of Swiss ingenuity, artistry, and technical prowess via four days of continuous programming, featuring the Swiss Touch table.

In May, the team kicked off the ICRC Collaborative Platform, our joint initiative with the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross). The aim is to leverage new technologies and innovative thinking to expand upon traditional humanitarian methods and approaches. In June, we took part in organizing the third annual Swiss-US Energy Innovation Days event, held this year in New York City. Beyond these key events, the team continued its efforts to support visiting start-ups, researchers, and artists, and deliver on higher education and organizational mandates.

At a strategic level, we embraced a handful of new endeavors, including team-wide strategy sessions on how best to bolster our presence in New York and clarify our mission there. We also began planning and developing “AERIAL FUTURES: THE DRONE FRONTIER”, a new multi-faceted, year-long initiative. AERIAL FUTURES was kicked off in March with a swissnex-hosted panel at SXSW (South by Southwest), the famed tech conference, and is continuing to unroll into early 2019. We will also maintain our commitment to delivering on mandates with organizations and universities, including a new communications mandate with the University of Zurich.

Broadening Horizons – digitalization and beyond
Review by Gioia Deucher
San Francisco

Gioia Deucher, CEO swissnex San Francisco

After 4 years as CEO of swissnex Brazil, I returned to the Bay Area in the summer of 2017 to take charge of swissnex San Francisco. Since moving to Pier 17 in September 2016, swissnex San Francisco has reached an exciting new level of visibility, opportunity, and scope. Today, the team numbers 21 people (up from around 13 when I left in 2013), and has built a fantastic program that touches more institutions and individuals than ever.

swissnex San Francisco has seen significant changes over the last two years. We now have a permanent gallery and a significantly larger event space. Furthermore, swissnex has experienced the first leadership change since swissnex San Francisco was founded by my predecessor, Christian Simm, 15 years ago.

My primary concern on coming back to San Francisco was the balance of creativity and structure. I decided to focus on alignment — a shared understanding of our “why,” a common strategy that would provide context for our diverse activities and act as a common thread for our messaging. Process and structure follow, but only to support the strategy.

We launched 2018 with an emboldened vision: swissnex San Francisco is striving to advance new ideas and international collaboration for the benefit of societies. We work in the realm of knowledge, and strive to advance inspiring and promising ideas at the intersection of art, science, technology, and society. Our goal is to turn conversations that matter into collaborations that make a difference — for our Swiss stakeholders, our Bay Area community, and beyond.

As a governmental organization, what we do is in the public interest, not for the benefit of shareholders. So we select, discuss, and promote ideas and collaborations that we believe have the potential to benefit society.

Building on this change process, my mission is to emphasize internal alignment to strengthen our messaging and highlight our impact for Switzerland and beyond. We will continue experimenting, probing, and pushing the envelope, as is required for innovation, while selecting focus areas that help partners better understand how they can engage with us.

Three years from now, it’s my goal to see that swissnex at Pier 17 relies on a sustainable business model based on a clear value proposition — one that is broad enough to remain relevant at the cutting-edge of innovation.

Broadening Horizons – digitalization and beyond
#FS17: Rethinking Financial Services
San Francisco

This video captures the event and features interviews with the following panelists: Adam Sterling, Executive Director, UC Berkeley Center for Law, Business and the Economy; Mariel Devesa, Head of Innovation, Farmers Insurance Group of Companies; Lola Cardoso, Head, Corporate Strategy and Innovation, Union Bank of Nigeria; Carol Realini, Entrepreneur, and Mark Zawacki, 650 Labs.

As the rate of technological advancements accelerates, how can the financial services industry adapt to a market undergoing radical change? In November, swissnex San Francisco brought together 30 industry experts, 10 start-ups and 3 academics to discuss how the financial services industry is being disrupted by technological developments.

This one-day conference, co-organized with 650 Labs, presented an open-minded view of the future of the banking sector and focused on critical, meaningful, and engaging dialogue about the future of the industry. It provided a space where the people designing the future of financial services could connect and learn.

The conference was live streamed to two partner events in Brazil and in Switzerland, which is reflective of our practice of trying to understand our local environment and connect it to our stakeholders internationally.

Panel discussion during the #FS17 conference. © Ray Potes / swissnex San Francisco

As the rate of technological advancements accelerates, how can the financial services industry adapt to a market undergoing radical change? In November, swissnex San Francisco brought together 30 industry experts, 10 start-ups and 3 academics to discuss how the financial services industry is being disrupted by technological developments.

This one-day conference, co-organized with 650 Labs, presented an open-minded view of the future of the banking sector and focused on critical, meaningful, and engaging dialogue about the future of the industry. It provided a space where the people designing the future of financial services could connect and learn.

The conference was live streamed to two partner events in Brazil and in Switzerland, which is reflective of our practice of trying to understand our local environment and connect it to our stakeholders internationally.

The audience asking questions during the #FS17 conference. © Ray Potes / swissnex San Francisco

As the rate of technological advancements accelerates, how can the financial services industry adapt to a market undergoing radical change? In November, swissnex San Francisco brought together 30 industry experts, 10 start-ups and 3 academics to discuss how the financial services industry is being disrupted by technological developments.

This one-day conference, co-organized with 650 Labs, presented an open-minded view of the future of the banking sector and focused on critical, meaningful, and engaging dialogue about the future of the industry. It provided a space where the people designing the future of financial services could connect and learn.

The conference was live streamed to two partner events in Brazil and in Switzerland, which is reflective of our practice of trying to understand our local environment and connect it to our stakeholders internationally.

Inspiring and exchanging knowledge
Empowering tomorrow’s innovators: Conceptualizing industry internships for Swiss students in India
swissnex India

Enabling hands-on internship experiences with Indian industries. © swissnex India

The “India Industry Internship” (iii) program was launched to unveil the tremendous potential that India has in alternate engineering and frugal innovation. swissnex’s strong connections paved the way to bring together young talent in Switzerland and experts in the field of robotics and automation in India.

Swiss students have access to one of the best education systems in the world. However, it is imperative to gain international exposure to excel in an interconnected world. Committed to empowering tomorrow’s innovators, the ETH Zurich, the School of Management & Engineering Vaud (HEIG-VD), the Gebert Ruef Stiftung and swissnex India joined forces to provide exposure to engineering problems beyond what is available in Switzerland. swissnex’s strong connections paved the way to bring together young talent in Switzerland and experts in the field of robotics and automation in India, offering students access to mass manufacturing processes that are usually unavailable for prototypes.

In 2017, five Swiss students successfully completed their internships with our Indian partners Achira Labs, Pors & Rao, Qrera Technologies and Systemantics. Though the prime focus of the program was to provide Swiss students with hands-on experience with Indian machine shops and inter-cultural exposure, it also had unexpected outcomes. Jérémy Michaud, an HEIG-VD student, interned with Qrera Technologies under the mentorship of CEO Amod Hulge. Not only did Jérémy make remarkable contributions towards improving the efficiency of the rainbow guns for 3D printers, but he was also instrumental in establishing Qrera as an electronics development partner with Terrettaz, the company he was working for in Switzerland. While Jérémy returned home with a great experience, Qrera and Terrettaz have agreed to work together in the future.

Here’s to catalyzing collaborations and co-creating tomorrow!

“What I really liked about India was the importance given to innovation and the ability of Indians to find simple solutions to problems. They can often find a way with limited resources and the result is as good as the ones obtained through traditional methods. On a personal front too, the changes I underwent were significant. My family and friends would agree that I gained a lot of self-confidence and independence. 

I recommend this program to anyone who wants to experience something different. If you want to get out of your comfort zone and discover a new culture full of exciting things with huge opportunities for innovation and engineering, this is the program for you.” Jérémy Michaud

Connecting
Digital Campus Program
San Francisco

Laurel Allen from the California Academy of Sciences gives her keynote speech at the Digital Campus Event at ZHdK Switzerland, December 2017 © Julia Kuhn

Entering its 7th year in 2017, the ‘Digital Campus’ program, which has successfully equipped universities with social media know-how, is now fully backed by 15 academic institutions and has continually expanded its offerings in line with the latest trends and developments.

In 2010, very few Swiss universities leveraged social media to promote their institutions. swissnex San Francisco saw a unique opportunity and initiated a 2-year program, initially supported by the Gebert Rüf Foundation, that successfully equipped universities with know-how about Facebook, Twitter and other social media. The program is now fully backed by 15 academic institutions and has continually expanded its offerings in line with the latest trends and developments in social media.

In October, university communicators took advantage of the annual study tour to the Bay Area that connects them with peers at US universities, such as UC Berkeley and Stanford University, and exposes them to new trends, such as podcasting, which is used extensively to communicate science topics in the US.

The program also continued the tradition of bringing marketing and communication experts from US higher education institutions to Switzerland to share their knowledge with Swiss universities. In 2017, the Digital Engagement and Community Manager at the California Academy of Sciences traveled to Switzerland to share her strategies about how they reach out to their audiences and connect people to science at the Digital Campus Annual event, this year hosted at ZHdK.

Informing and advising
Swiss Science Lounge at WCSJ
San Francisco

The Swiss Radio Studio at the 10th World Conference of Science Journalists (WCSJ). © Benjamin Bollman / swissnex San Francisco

swissnex San Francisco organized a Swiss booth featuring the Swiss Touch table at the 10th World Conference of Science Journalists (WCSJ), held in San Francisco from October 26 – 30, 2017, which brought together more than a thousand professionals dedicated to engaging, incisive, accurate, and high-quality science journalism.

This year’s edition hosted a 22-person Swiss delegation, led by the Swiss Association of Science Journalism, which included 12 journalists and representatives from EPFL, the Swiss National Science Foundation, and CERN.

The project was particularly important for Switzerland, as the Swiss Association of Science Journalism joined forces with its French and Italian counterparts in a bid to host the 2019 edition of the conference in Lausanne. The candidacy succeeded and Switzerland and its partners won the bid for the 2019 edition of WCSJ. The conference will be centered around the SwissTech Convention Center on the EPFL campus. The success of this Alpine Bid will attract over a thousand visitors to the EPFL campus and to other research institutions, which represents a significant PR coup for Swiss science.

At the conference, the ‘Swiss Touch’ table was the site for an ongoing conversation about science journalism and science communication. We transformed the table into a radio studio, where one science journalist interviewed another about current trends in science journalism. The guests were selected to connect Swiss and American journalists, and exchange ideas in an innovative format, which was recorded as a podcast called ‘Science with a Swiss Touch’ and shared through swissnex’s social media channels and website.

Co-sponsors of the booth included swissnex San Francisco, Switzerland Tourism, the EPFL, Swiss Tech Convention Center, Gala Systems, and the Swiss Association of Science Journalists.

Connecting
Climate Garden 2085
San Francisco

Installation view of ‘Climate Garden 2085’. © Astra Brinkmann / swissnex San Francisco

The artist introduces her work during the ‘Climate Garden 2085’ opening night. © Astra Brinkmann / swissnex San Francisco

The public science experiment ‘Climate Garden 2085’, presented at the swissnex gallery in the fall of 2017, offered future climate scenarios and the effects on San Francisco’s forests, agriculture, and landscapes.

Climate change is a global concern, with consequences for everyone. But scientific information does not always translate into political and social action – that is the ‘climate paradox’. As a global community, how can we respond and take action to ensure a sustainable future?

Taking part in the global conversation surrounding climate change, swissnex San Francisco examined and explored how communities can act as agents of change in ‘Climate Garden 2085’, a public science experiment presented at the swissnex gallery in the fall of 2017. In collaboration with the Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich, and the Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center, ‘Climate Garden 2085’ invited the public to observe and interact with plants within two temperature-controlled greenhouses and to compare the consequences of action and inaction to climate change.

The exhibition presented two possible future scenarios: in the first greenhouse, the climate was of a world that adopts the Paris Agreement, a plan to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, with +2 degrees warming. In the second, the climate was that of a world that does nothing, with +4 degrees warming.

‘Climate Garden 2085’ became a narrative environment for holistic sensory immersion, telling a local story with global significance. The exhibition, which was first presented at the Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center in 2016, was adapted to address the local San Francisco agricultural and ecological surroundings in collaboration with Olivier Chetelat, C. Jason Reinier, Packard Jennings, and Plant It Earth, with assistance from the Exploratorium and UC Berkeley’s Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management.

As part of the accompanying public program, swissnex SF presented Change of Atmosphere: The ClimateMusic Project, a musical performance communicating the impact of human activities on our climate. Music is familiar, accessible, and — for most people — much easier to relate to than data. The ClimateMusic Project was created to harness this universal language in order to tell the urgent story of climate change to broad and diverse audiences in a way that resonates and inspires.

On October 26, the ClimateMusic Project performed “Climate,” by composer Erik Ian Walker within the exhibition space at the swissnex Gallery.

The full 30-minute piece spanned 500 years (1800–2300AD) of the climate’s past and present, and presented two possible future scenarios. The data sets were from simulations from the Community Earth System Model (CESM), an open model that has been used extensively in national and international assessments of climate change. Performers include Swiss violinist Michèle Walther, who studied at the Basel Conservatory.

These live performances included synchronized visuals and post-concert public forums, where audiences were invited to engage with scientists, composers, and musicians. The program included a discussion with Dr. William Collins of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, scientific advisor to the ClimateMusic Project. This event was also part of the Bay Area Science Festival and a celebration for the winning Alpine Bid to host the 2019 World Conference of Science Journalists.

Promoting visibility
Crisis Code: Humanitarian Protection in the Digital Age
San Francisco

The Crisis Code panel discussion on day one. © Myleen Hollero / swissnex San Francisco

From left: Hans Ulrich-Tanner, Swiss Consul General in San Francisco; Martin Schwartz, Cultural Officer at the Swiss Consulate General; Marcia Wong, Senior Policy Advisor, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Regional Delegation for the United States and Canada; Charlotte Lindsey-Curtet, Director of Communication and Information (ICRC); Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); Mercedes Rodriguez, Protection Delegate, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Regional Delegation for the United States and Canada, Benjamin Bollmann, Head of Academic Affairs, swissnex San Francisco, and Gioia Deucher, CEO of swissnex San Francisco, are seated at the #SwissTouch table at swissnex San Francisco during the ‘Crisis Code: Humanitarian Protection in the Digital Age’ workshops. © Myleen Hollero / swissnex San Francisco

A two-day conference exploring how crisis-affected populations can be safeguarded from emerging threats in cyberspace was held at swissnex San Francisco in 2017. How can the life and dignity of crisis-affected populations be protected from cyber-attacks and unintended harm in cyberspace? How should humanitarian agencies and their technology partners work together to safely and responsibly meet information and communication needs in a crisis?

Alongside US, Swiss, and international partners, the Swiss Consulate General in San Francisco and swissnex San Francisco convened a two-day conference bringing together selected experts from humanitarian action, human rights, cybersecurity, and digital policy to discuss humanitarian imperatives in cyberspace. The program, co-organized with The Policy Lab, explored, among other things, how the Geneva Conventions and other humanitarian treaties apply to cyber-attacks, influence campaigns, and information warfare, and examined Microsoft’s call to create a new “Digital Geneva Convention”. In workshops and panel discussions, researchers, practitioners, and policy makers mapped out new areas of vulnerability in cyberspace, assessed existing practice around humanitarian data, and discussed potential ways to protect crisis-affected populations from emerging cyber-threats.

All in all, we welcomed 30 speakers, including ICRC president Peter Maurer and high-level representatives from organizations such as Microsoft, the UN Institute for Disarmament Research, the UN Security Council, Harvard University, Stanford University, UC Berkeley, the Atlantic Council, DEF CON, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Nethope. Participants in the workshops included people from public and private organizations including Google, Facebook, Apple, Dropbox, UNDP, and the International Criminal Court. Our participants came from different parts of the world, such as the Netherlands, Sri Lanka, and the US.

We also collaborated with Swiss organizations, including the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, the DiploFoundation, the University of Geneva, the University of Lausanne, and ICT4Peace.

Within the following three months, a series of results materialized. A subgroup of workshop participants launched Do No Digital Harm, a foundation providing assistance and advice to NGOs and international organizations on new risks associated with the digitalization of humanitarian response. Following Crisis Code, the conversations around the Digital Geneva Convention were continued in a highly successful event at the UN in Geneva, featuring Microsoft’s president, Brad Smith, and was initiated by our partner, the DiploFoundation. The latter also kicked off a study on different models in which countries engage with Silicon Valley tech companies.

The conference was developed as a continuation of partnerships forged at swissnex San Francisco’s ‘Everyone a Humanitarian’ program. It was also part of Presence Switzerland’s ‘Swiss Touch’ campaign, which showed how Switzerland is striving for a relevant, responsive, and meaningful humanitarianism in the digital age – by building bridges between the technology and the humanitarian sectors, and between Silicon Valley and international Geneva.

Broadening Horizons – digitalization and beyond
Bringing Swiss and Japanese research and innovation even closer
Tokyo Science Counselors / Offices

Executives from major Japanese companies visit Switzerland for a study trip. © Japan Management Association CTO Forum

Co-exhibitors from the Swiss Medtech Pavilion at MEDTEC Japan with Ambassador Jean-François Paroz. © Azusa Kudo

Strengthening cooperation between Switzerland and Japan in the field of science and technology. © SERI

Strengthening cooperation between Switzerland and Japan in the field of science and technology. © SERI

Switzerland and Japan enjoy longstanding cooperation in the field of research and innovation. 2017 proved to be another successful year for the Science Office in Tokyo. Study trips were organized to encourage industrial collaboration and the public was informed about ongoing projects through a series of exhibitions. At state level a declaration of intent was signed between Japan and Switzerland.

More and more Swiss companies are looking to Asia to boost their capacity for innovation and more and more Japanese companies are interested in Switzerland for the same purpose. In 2017, the Science Office in Tokyo was busy supporting start-up scouting and organizing study trips. Meetings were organized with start-ups and open innovation departments of large enterprises for Swiss Post in Japan. Conversely, a group of Chief Technology Officers from major Japanese companies visited Switzerland. Thanks to contacts established by the Science and Technology Office, a world-leading electronics manufacturer is going to pay a second visit to the National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) Digital Fabrication in 2018.

In terms of events, the Swiss MedTech pavilion was organized at MEDTEC Japan in April. There was so much interest to co-exhibit that some applications had to be declined. The co-directors of Cybathlon (ETH Zurich) and team TWIICE (EPFL) who joined the pavilion were given multiple opportunities to present not only at the EXPO, but also at the Tokyo Institute of Technology and at exclusive events organized by the S&T Office Tokyo targeting media, industry experts and the general public. Cybathlon was subsequently invited by Japanese and international hosts to give further presentations during the year in Tokyo, Kanagwa and Osaka. Another co-exhibitor, CSEM returned to Japan in autumn for the 50th anniversary of the world’s first electronic watch. CSEM’s good relationship with Japan’s External Trade Organization and our Office led to approximately 100 solid industry representatives attending the event and learning about the latest developments at CSEM.

As for governmental exchanges, the second conference on Swiss arbitration with the University of Zurich resulted in Japan’s Ministry of Justice dispatching its staff to Switzerland for additional research on the topic. Moreover, the Japanese Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy visited Switzerland as part of a study trip while the Vice Minister for Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology came to Bern to sign a declaration of intent to strengthen cooperation in the field of Science and Technology.

Informing and advising
Digitalization and beyond: Korean solution for improving healthcare systems
Seoul Science Counselors / Offices

South Korea is one of the world’s leading countries in terms of digitalization. It has developed interesting applications for the healthcare sector. The science office in Seoul organized an inspiring forum and networking event for the participants interested and involved in the digitalization of the healthcare system at the 4th Swiss-Korean Life Science Symposium held in Basel last June.

South Korea, which is the world leader in information technology, is an excellent example of how to use big data in various fields, ranging from policy planning to services. South Korea’s cutting edge in the use of big data in the healthcare system is what differentiates it from other countries. In January 2014, the Ministry of Science launched the ‘Medical Information Consulting’ program, a service based on the use of big data to facilitate diagnoses and personalized treatment.

The Seoul National University Bundang Hospital (SNUBH) is the first hospital in the Asia-Pacific region to be fully digitalized. At the SNUBH, the in-memory computing system is used to obtain real-time feedback through the shared management of patient data between hospital divisions and more than 50 hospital facilities in Korea. In-memory computing has reduced the 48-hour period generally required for diagnosis following several consecutive consultations to 4-6 hours. Reducing the time needed for diagnosis has a direct effect on the time required to prepare and administer medication and makes it easier to cut costs. The quantitative and qualitative use of data allows the SNUBH to combine research, healthcare and business to promote quality in the Korean public health system.

In 2017, the SNUBH’s achievements caught the attention of the cantons of Basel and Jura. This is why the Science Office in Seoul organized an inspiring forum and networking event for the participants interested and involved in the digitalization of the healthcare system at the 4th Swiss-Korean Life Science Symposium held in Basel in June 2017. The ‘Hospital of the future’ workshops were attended by representatives from the two cantons led by Jacques Gerber, Minister of Economy and Health for the canton of Jura, members of the SNUBH and of the Korea Health Industry Development Institute, an agency of the Korean Ministry of Health. The two delegations discussed the model successfully adopted in Korea and the aim of digitalizing the health system in a decentralized region such as Basel-Jura. This meeting facilitated further discussions and proposals for cooperation between the University of Basel and the SNUBH.

Broadening Horizons – digitalization and beyond
Talking about the “Hyper-Intelligence Age”
Beijing Science Counselors / Offices

Li Guotian (Deputy Secretary), Nektarios Palaskas (Science Counselor, Swiss Embassy), Mauro Dell’Ambrogio (State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation), Huai Jinpeng (Deputy Party Secretary), He Shushan (Vice Mayor), Chen Jianjun (Deputy Director General, International Cooperation, MIIT). © Tianjin Municipality

As part of the visit by the State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation, Mauro Dell’Ambrogio, a Swiss delegation took part in the World Intelligence Congress in Tianjin on 29 June 2017. Under the title of “Hyper-Intelligence Age”, the discussion focused on smart manufacturing in the context of the government’s campaign to innovate and digitalize the country’s economy, known as “Made in China 2025”. The event covered the whole spectrum of China’s digital powerhouse, and was attended by the founders of the big three online companies – Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent.

The World Federation of Engineering Organizations, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the Municipality of Tianjin organized the congress. A large delegation of over 50 people, comprising diplomatic staff and Swiss industry representatives, accompanied State Secretary Mauro Dell’Ambrogio, showcasing the breadth of the Swiss economic landscape. In addition to some of Switzerland’s most innovative technology firms, such as Oerlikon, ABB, Schindler and Syngenta, the delegation also included Nestle, PricewaterhouseCoopers, SwissRe and Swisscom, as well as educational partners such as the Hotel Management School in Lausanne and the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland. Representing Swiss industry in China as a whole, the Swiss Chamber of Commerce and the Swiss Center Tianjin joined the most important senior executives and diplomats for the Sino-Swiss Business Roundtable.

In addition to the large corporations that have already established themselves in China and represent Swiss industrial innovation, the state secretary was joined by the promising start-ups selected for the “Venture Leaders China” business development program. The young entrepreneurs interested in entering the Chinese market were able to show off Switzerland’s vibrant start-up scene and in turn listen to the visions that political and industry leaders have for the digital future.

Broadening Horizons – digitalization and beyond
Successful Swiss-Canadian knowledge transfer in the field related to the cryosphere
Ottawa Science Counselors / Offices

From the right: David Scott (Polar Knowledge Canada), Warwick F. Vincent (Laval University) and Konrad Steffen (Eidgenössische Forschungsanstalt für Wald, Schnee und Landschaft WSL/ETH Zürich/Swiss Polar Institute SPI). © Urs Obrist

The launch of the Antarctic Circumnavigation Expedition of the Swiss Polar Institute in November 2016 provided an opportune moment for the Embassy to organize a Swiss-Canadian Innovation Day in Ottawa on Polar Research. The symposium represented an ideal way of supporting the Swiss candidacy as an observer state at the Arctic Council, which was admitted by Ministers in May 2017. As a result of the symposium, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed and the Swiss Embassy was asked to help lobby the Canadian government to maintain the existing Canadian contribution to the World Glacier Monitoring Service, which is managed from Switzerland.

The term ‘Science Diplomacy’ has been a catchphrase in recent years. One exemplary instance of a symbiotic relationship where science was of assistance to diplomacy and diplomacy has worked for science was the Swiss candidacy for observer status at the Arctic Council. The Embassy of Switzerland in Ottawa was tasked by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs with supporting the Swiss candidacy as an observer state at the Arctic Council in 2014. The Swiss candidacy was strongly built on its scientific expertise in glaciology, which would provide added value from this potential new member of the Arctic Council. After the initial application failed, a second candidature was launched leading up to the admission of Switzerland as one of seven new observers admitted by Ministers at the 2017 Arctic Council Meeting.

In this context, the Embassy organized a Swiss-Canadian Innovation Day in Ottawa on Polar Research in November 2016. The symposium was set up as a scientific networking event and, on the first day, ten Canadian and six Swiss researchers presented their current research. For the second day, a workshop setting allowed for more in-depth discussions and the identification of possible areas of collaboration. As a result, a Memorandum of Understanding between the newly established Swiss Polar Institute and the Centre d’Études Nordiques was signed. Furthermore, the Swiss Embassy was asked by Canadian academics to help lobby the Canadian government to maintain the existing Canadian contribution to the World Glacier Monitoring Service. The continuation of this contribution has been recently confirmed and will allow for a longitudinal data set that will further the understanding of climate change effects in the North.

Switzerland’s candidacy as an observer state at the Arctic Council came to fruition in May of 2017. The outstanding Swiss scientific know-how on all things related to the cryosphere is part of the conversation in this international organization and further opportunities for collaboration projects with Canadian and other Polar scientists are in the offing. With the groundwork laid, it will be an important effort in the near future to get Swiss scientists involved in international discussion fora connected to the Arctic Council as well, in order to have a say on important scientific developments concerning the Arctic region.

Promoting visibility
Expanding horizons in New Delhi: sustainable collaborations with the Department of Biotechnology
New Delhi Science Counselors / Offices

Seated: Dr. Shailja Vaidya Gupta, Director, International Cooperation, Department of Biotechnology, Government of India and Professor Urs Baltensperger, President of the Specialized Committee on International Cooperation, Swiss National Science Foundation
Standing: Professor Krishnaswamy Vijay Raghavan, Secretary of the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India and Ambassador Mauro Moruzzi, Head of International Relations, State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation, Swiss Confederation.
© Embassy of Switzerland in India

Front: Dr. Shailja Vaidya Gupta, Director, International Cooperation, Department of Biotechnology, Government of India and Professor Urs Baltensperger, President of the Specialized Committee on International Cooperation, Swiss National Science Foundation
Back: Professor Krishnaswamy Vijay Raghavan, Secretary of the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India and Ambassador Mauro Moruzzi, Head of International Relations, State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation, Swiss Confederation.
© Embassy of Switzerland in India

Science Counselors are local bridge builders and can help to bring the right partners together. After detailed studies and various meetings, the Indian Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), jointly announced a call for proposals on biotechnology related, or biotechnology inspired, blue-sky research in life sciences and biotechnology as the key enabling technology, with high levels of investment on both the Swiss and Indian side.

The starting point for this cooperation was that the International Cooperation Division of the Indian Department of Biotechnology wanted to establish a cooperation program in basic research with Switzerland, given its reputation as a research and innovation powerhouse.

In order to kick-start cooperation, the relevant contacts first had to be made. A different section of the DBT already had a long-standing cooperation program with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the Indo-Swiss Collaboration in Biotechnology. This cooperation was in applied research, had its roots in development cooperation programs, and was therefore not the obvious partner for scientific research collaboration usually supported by the SNSF. Nevertheless, it provided the perfect entry point.

It took numerous informal meetings and conversations for the science counselor in New Delhi at the highest levels at the DBT to explain that the DBT could indeed have two different cooperation partners in Switzerland, and that cooperation with both was not incompatible, but complementary and mutually beneficial.

These efforts have borne fruit, as today the DBT and the SNSF have jointly announced a call for proposals, with investments of CHF 4.2 million on the Swiss side and INR 27.15 crores (1 crore is 10 million) on the Indian side. Notably, both partners have committed a nearly equivalent budget in monetary terms, a first for the DBT. A new and credible collaboration, which will be sustainable, has now been established which further strengthens the Indo-Swiss exchange in research.

Broadening Horizons – digitalization and beyond
Swiss-Russian Seminar “Innovative Market Development of Advanced Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Technologies”
Moscow Science Counselors / Offices

Demonstration of the new laboratory. © Moscow Technological University

Ribbon-cutting ceremony. © Moscow Technological University

The seminar “Innovative Market Development of Advanced Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Technologies” organized by Moscow Technological University (MTU), the Swiss embassy and several Swiss companies was attended by around 100 participants. The culmination of the event was the inauguration of the new Swiss-Russian Education and Research Center “RITM”.

On November 28, 2017, Moscow Technological University (MTU) in cooperation with the Swiss Embassy and the Swiss companies “Rohrer LLC” and “Wingflow AG” organized the seminar “Innovative Market Development of Advanced Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Technologies”. The event was attended by around 100 participants representing various Moscow-based universities and research institutes as well as biopharmaceutical companies (Mendeleyev Russian University of Chemical Technology, Moscow State Medical University, Russian University of Peoples’ Friendship, “Microgene”, “Biocad”, etc.).

The participants were welcomed by Aleksandr Sigiv, President of MTU, and Andrey Melnikov, Head of Scientific Affairs, Embassy of Switzerland.

The keynote speakers from Switzerland, Dr. Georg Disch, Dr. Hans Rudolph Keller and Dr. Alexander Herbst, made presentations on advanced multifunctional blister technologies and microfluidic technologies for synthesis of pharmaceutical substances.

The culmination of the event was the inauguration of the new Swiss-Russian Education and Research Center “RITM” sponsored by “Rohrer LLC” and “Wingflow AG”, where the participants could familiarize themselves with the latest Swiss equipment and technologies. The Center, which is equipped with the latest products from Rohrer LLC and Wingflow AG, will be used for educational and research purposes.

Inspiring and exchanging knowledge
Swiss-Russian Academic Conference “Russia and Switzerland: The Historic Choice of 1917”
Moscow Science Counselors / Offices

Ambassador Yves Rossier, Prof. Benjamin Schenk, Dr. Pavel Samylov, Director, Kaluga branch, Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Service, Mr. Anikeyev, Minister of Education and Science of the Kaluga Region, Mr. Andrey Melnikov, Head of Scientific Affairs, Embassy of Switzerland in Russia. © The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration

To mark the centennial of the Russian Revolution and discuss the role of Switzerland for the Russian revolutionary immigration at the beginning of the 20th century, the post and the Kaluga branch of the Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Service under the President of Russia organized a conference dedicated to the historical choice of Russia of 1917. It featured a lecture of a leading Swiss historian, Professor Benjamin Schenk from the University of Basel. The event was attended by around 170 people and was widely covered by the local media.

The Science Office of the Swiss embassy and the Kaluga branch of the Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Service under the President of Russia organized a conference dedicated to the historical choice of Russia of 1917 on the occasion of the centenary of the Russian Revolution and the discussion of the role of Switzerland for the Russian revolutionary immigration at the beginning of the 20th century.

The conference featured a lecture by one of Switzerland’s leading historians, Professor Benjamin Schenk from the University of Basel. He gave a detailed analysis of the situation in Switzerland at the beginning of the 20th century and the role that Switzerland played in the lives of the young Russian students who later became the leaders of the Russian revolution in 1917.

The Conference was opened by Ambassador Yves Rossier, who emphasized that Switzerland and Russia share a common history, even though their relations were frosty for a long period after the revolution. He also stressed the importance of joint research into and analysis of our common past in order to move forward to a common future.

Promoting visibility
From Laboratory to Industry: the “Aerogels” International Summer School
Moscow Science Counselors / Offices

A group of the Summer School participants after the plenary session, Prof. Natalya Menshutina, Dean, Mendeleyev Russian University of Chemical Technology in the center.

Young Russian researchers were given a unique chance to learn from the representatives of the leading Swiss research organization, EMPA. The organizers initially expected 70 participants, but the actual number of participants exceeded their expectations – more than 100 people took part in the summer school, 70 of them were below the age of 35, and some of them came from Germany, Poland, India, Norway and Turkey (not to mention some Russian regions), thus making the summer school truly international.

Excellent research is one thing, marketable products are another. A summer school with the active participation of the Swiss research institute Empa (the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology) resulted in a Swiss-Russian knowledge transfer relating to the achievements and experiences of working in business and research and innovation supportive structures. The summer school focused on the achievements and technologies in the modelling and production of various aerogels and their industrial application.

On July 13 – 14, 2017, the International Education and Science Center for Transfer of Biopharmaceutical Technologies of the Mendeleyev Russian University of Chemical Technology, assisted by the Science Office of the Swiss Embassy, organized and ran a summer school with the active participation of its Swiss colleagues from EMPA. The summer school focused on Swiss and Russian achievements and modern technologies in the modelling and production of various aerogels and their industrial application. Special attention was given to the issues of commercialization of research, an area where Russia is still lagging behind, and Swiss experience here was very much appreciated.

During the plenary session, which was attended by around 70 people, the Swiss researcher, Dr. Anna Stojanovic, Postdoctoral Researcher, EMPA, gave a presentation on ‘Inorganic Aerogels: From Laboratory to Industry’, focusing on her laboratory’s experience of working with businesses. She also talked about the role of Innosuisse in supporting research-based start-ups in Switzerland. Her colleague Dr. Sandra Galmarini held a more technical presentation on Nanostructure, Water Adsorption and Thermal Conductivity of Carbon Aerogels

The Swiss and Russian researchers particularly appreciated the mutual exchange of experiences of working with businesses and on research and innovation supportive structures in both Switzerland and Russia.

Informing and advising
From researcher to entrepreneur to intrapreneur
Berlin Science Counselors / Offices

Ambassador Christine Schraner Burgener with representatives of the EPFL Innovation Park program and the Technical University of Berlin. © Swiss Embassy in Berlin

From left: Maria Olivares, Jean-Philippe Lallement, Florian Uhlig, Damir Bogdan, Thomas Henn, Iman Nahvi and Thierry Golliard. © Swiss Embassy in Berlin

How are business models developed from innovative ideas in the laboratory? How is the financing mobilized to turn a business model into a start-up? And what framework conditions must universities and large companies offer in this process? Answers to these questions were provided at a prominently attended network event held at the Swiss Embassy in Berlin in September 2017.

Thierry Golliard (Head of Open Innovation and Venturing at Swiss Post), Jean-Philippe Lallement (Managing Director EPFL Innovation Park), Maria Olivares (Innovation Officer at University of Zurich), Florian Uhlig (Access to Finance Manager, Technical University of Berlin and EIT digital), Thomas Henn, (co-founder and Business Director of Virtenio GmbH) and Iman Nahvi (co-founder and CEO at advertima) discussed these topics. Damir Bogdan (owner of Activide) moderated the discussion.

“From researcher to entrepreneur to intrapreneur”. The theme of the event resulted from talks between the science counselor at the Swiss Embassy in Berlin, the EPFL Innovation Park, Gründerszene (a start-up magazine/platform in Berlin) and Swiss Innovation Outpost. The aim of the event was to discuss the different stages of the development of an idea up to its implementation, which is why a wide variety of stakeholders were invited to the event. Participants included around 20 representatives of the EPFL Innovation Park program, eight representatives from the Technical University of Berlin, ten representatives from Swiss companies, eight investors/business angels, and around 30 representatives from German and Swiss start-ups. In the spirit of digitalization, the start-up trailed the event via its own social media channels, offering start-ups the opportunity to apply to participate in the event.

Fruitful exchange at the workshop and panel discussion
An investor workshop held before the official event in the evening was attended by the EPFL Innovation Park team, the Technical University of Berlin and two experienced investors from Berlin. The questions discussed included: What are the trends of financing in Berlin? How are university spin-offs funded? Where and how to contact investors in Berlin?

Around 90 guests were invited to the public evening event, which began with a discussion on the success factors in Switzerland’s innovative research landscape, highlighting the relevance of the federal institutes of technology and of Innosuisse. During the discussion that followed, the Swiss start-up advertima provided tips on how a successful researcher can become a successful start-up company. A representative from Swiss Post presented the innovative power of Swiss companies, positioning them as potential partners for German start-ups, universities and investors. The presentation provided a clear overview of the entire range of the model for success, from researcher to start-up. During the networking that followed, participants had the opportunity to make new contacts.

Connecting
Consolidating cooperation and establishing contact with the new U.S. Administration
Washington Science Counselors / Offices

Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann greeting his U.S. counterpart, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos when they met to discuss the ongoing cooperation on vocational education and training. © U.S. Department of Education

Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann meeting with Ivanka Trump, Advisor to the President, at the White House to discuss the role of youth apprenticeships in workforce development. © White House, Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

The Swiss and U.S. delegations led by Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann and Secretary Alexander Acosta respectively, discussing vocational education and training and its importance in a changing work environment. © U.S. Department of Labor

Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. As well as working together on economic affairs, the U.S. Department of Commerce is also involved in the dialogue on vocational education and training. © Embassy of Switzerland

In June, a delegation led by State Secretary Mauro Dell’Ambrogio met in Washington with high-level counterparts of the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. A key focus of the exchanges was the topic of research on research which includes best practices in creating a more effective and efficient research funding environment. In July, Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann led a Swiss delegation to Washington for meetings on cooperation regarding apprenticeships and economic affairs.

The Office of Science, Technology, and Higher Education (OSTHE) at the Swiss Embassy in Washington, D.C. had a busy year in terms of delegation visits from Switzerland.

State Secretary Mauro Dell’Ambrogio, together with the president of the Research Council of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), Professor Matthias Egger, and the head of the Swiss Space Office, Renato Krpoun, traveled to Washington in June for meetings with the leadership of the U.S. National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and NASA. Switzerland and its research institutions have well established relations with those renowned and important institutions. A key focus of the exchanges last June was the topic of research on research that includes best practices in creating a more effective and efficient research funding environment. The meetings were followed up by the visit of the SNSF’s strategy advisor Michael Hill who met with representatives from various U.S. research funding agencies later in 2017 for in-depth exchanges on best practices and new trends.

In July, Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann led a Swiss delegation to Washington for meetings on cooperation in the fields of apprenticeships and economic affairs. The three high-level meetings with the secretaries of Education and Labor, Betsy DeVos and Alexander Acosta, respectively, and with Advisor to the President, Ivanka Trump, focused on apprenticeship cooperation. The meeting with Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, focused on economic affairs and on apprenticeships. These were the first official high-level meetings of a member of the Swiss government with counterparts of the new U.S. Administration. Both sides greatly valued the ongoing cooperation on vocational education and training and expressed their interest in continuing to work together on this important topic. Since the signing of the Joint Declaration of Intent in 2015, the OSTHE and the Swiss apprenticeship community have experienced an increasing interest from their American counterparts in the Swiss apprenticeship model. Our office helped to showcase Switzerland’s apprenticeship model throughout 2017 and organized among others a major event on that topic in October, together with the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham), Accenture, the Global Apprenticeship Network, and ETH Zurich. Federal Councilor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann and the CEO of UBS Group and Chairman of AmCham, Sergio Ermotti, were the Swiss keynote speakers at the event. On the American side, the importance of apprenticeship cooperation was underscored by representatives of the U.S. Departments of Education and Labor as well as by several members of Congress.

Connecting
swissnex Expo Astana 2017
Science Counselors / Offices

© Organizing Committee Expo Astana / Bureau International des Expositions

New horizons in a new region successfully tested: a temporary swissnex lab inside the Swiss Pavilion at Expo Astana (Kazakhstan) offered an excellent opportunity to connect Switzerland with the world of education, research and innovation. The pilot project was a success: around 60 science and innovation events were among the attractions held in the swissnex lab from June to September 2017.

Expo site Expo Astana 2017.

Seizing the opportunity of a major international event, Presence Switzerland (PRS) and the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) joined forces to set up a new way to join the dots in education, research and innovation. The result was a temporary swissnex lab inside the Swiss Pavilion at Expo Astana 2017. The pilot project brought the swissnex concept to a new geographical region, created new connections in Kazakhstan and Central Asia and enabled Swiss universities, researchers and start-ups to benefit from the increased visibility of the first Expo to take place in Central Asia.

Philippe Roesle, Project Manager of the swissnex lab and Ambassador Mauro Moruzzi, Head of the swissnex Network. © PRS

The swissnex lab complemented the Swiss Pavilion as a whole, offering a dedicated dynamic space for exchange, interaction and learning. During the Expo (10 June – 10 September 2017), the swissnex lab hosted a total of 60 science and innovation events, including delegation visits, conferences, panel discussions, workshops for experts, exhibitions and workshops for the broader public. 40 researchers from twelve higher education institutions made use of the swissnex Lab in Astana.

© Presence Switzerland

A delegation of 14 Switzerland-based researchers from seven institutions active in the field of smart cities travelled to Astana in June. The delegation took part in the UNECE International Forum on Energy and Sustainable Development and in a two-day joint seminar with researchers at Nazarbayev University. The visit was topped-off with a matchmaking session, visits to local research institutions and, of course, other national pavilions.

© Philippe Roesle

Professor Fabian Fischer from the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland (HES-SO) offered a workshop on microbial fuel cells. Staff and students from Eurasian National University (ENU) came together to build their own fuel cells and to discuss possible applications in Central Asia.
Microbial Fuel Cell Workshop: A workshop organised by Professor Fabian Fischer from HES-SO with students from Eurasian National University.

© Philippe Roesle

Professor Eric Kübler from the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW), aided by a colleague from Nazarbayev University, ran a three-day seminar on Applied DNA Technology. The aim of the seminar was to build relationships and explore future joint teaching activities.

Connecting
Digitalization and the energy industry – a search for traces in Vienna
Vienna Science Counselors / Offices

Visit to the SmartEST laboratory (laboratory for smart grid research), Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT). © Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT)

Model of the Seestadt Aspern city project, Demo Center of Aspern Smart City Research (ASCR). © Science Counselor Vienna

What does a digitalized energy or electricity industry (e-economy) look like? What role do building blocks like big data play in this? And is blockchain a future technology for the energy sector? In September 2017, the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) explored these questions on a journey through Austria’s e-economy. During the two-day program in Vienna, the SFOE delegation was able to see the innovative projects and applications for digitalization in the Austrian economy for itself. Austrian and Swiss experts also had inspiring discussions on how forward-looking technologies are already being implemented today.

The SFOE selected the city of Vienna as a destination for a group of experts on digitalization in the energy sector. The delegation, headed by SFOE Director Benoît Revaz, set itself the goal of addressing the future of the Austrian e-economy at the very forefront of innovation and digitalization. Being in charge of planning the visit, the Science Counsellor organized a program including some of its most important key actors, stakeholders and start-ups.

The delegation took a particular interest in blockchain applications. If blockchain 1.0 corresponds to the exchange of values, as in cryptocurrencies, then blockchain 2.0 is the processing of contractual relations, i.e. smart contracts. According to the delegation, the potential in the energy sector is huge. The delegation was impressed by the ‘Enerchain’ project presented by the specialists from Wien Energie, Austria’s largest energy supplier. The Wien Energie specialists participate in a blockchain-based trading platform for electricity and gas with more than 25 European energy traders. Wien Energie also co-initiated the energy research project Aspern Smart City Research (ASCR). Seestadt Aspern is a city project being developed in eastern Vienna. During a visit to the test buildings, the SFOE delegation learned how the newly designed district in the ASCR project provides the opportunity to develop technical solutions for the energy future with the end customers.

The Swiss delegation was particularly excited about the ‘Energiewirtschaftlicher Datenaustausch – EDA’ (energy data exchange) project. With EDA, the e-industry’s interest group for Austrian energy has developed a new method for exchanging data through standardization, which is regarded as a model for handling highly sensitive information.

The Swiss energy experts were impressed by the successful Viennese start-ups and their new approaches to digitalization. One of these start-ups, Ethus, creates business models for energy efficiency measures and has become Austria’s largest platform in this field.

Informing and advising
Conference on Space Transportation and Research
Rome Science Counselors / Offices

© ESA

Switzerland and Italy are active members of the European Space Agency (ESA). The appointment of Daniel Neuenschwander, a Swiss citizen, as head of the ESA Space Transportation Directorate led the Swiss Embassy in Rome to organize a conference on space transportation and research in order to explore possible collaboration between Swiss and Italian research centers. The conference was attended by 90 people, including professors, researchers and students from various universities and research centers, representatives from the European Space Agency, the Italian Space Agency, the Italian aerospace industry, the diplomatic corps, and scientific journalists.

Switzerland has been involved in European space research from the very beginning and has developed important sectors of this industry. In 1960, Switzerland was one of the founders of the European Space Research Organisation and in 1975 of the European Space Agency (ESA). In the 42 years of ESA activity, Switzerland has always been an active member and convinced of the importance for Europe of having an independent and competitive space program. The University of Bern is very active and recognized in the field of space research – including cooperation in the Giotto and Rosetta spacecraft missions – but important roles have also been assumed by the University of Geneva and the EPFL in Lausanne and the ETH in Zurich. Speakers at the conference included Prof. Giorgio Tumino*, VEGA and Space Rider Development Programs Manager, Directorate of Space Transportation, European Space Agency; Prof. Paolo Ermanni, ETH Zurich, Institute of Design, Materials and Fabrication, Laboratory of Composite Materials and Adaptive Structures (CMASLab); and Prof. Marcello Onofri, Professor of Aerospace Propulsion, Director of CRAS – “Centro Ricerca Aerospaziale Sapienza” (center for aerospace research), Sapienza University of Rome.

In his introductory speech, Ambassador Giancarlo Kessler highlighted, among other things, Swiss industrial policy in the aerospace sector. Its main objectives are to ensure and develop an improvement in the quality of life of the population through the development and use of space applications; to increase Switzerland’s competitiveness in the space sector; and to ensure long-term commitment to research to promote innovation in general and to develop the scientific community.

*ESA Director Daniel Neuenschwander was scheduled to speak at the conference, but had to cancel due to an ESA institutional commitment.

Informing and advising
Broadening Horizons: Next generation of Swiss entrepreneurs is inspired in London
London Science Counselors / Offices

“Been there, done that…” Swiss start-up founder Dominique Guinard has built a successful company in London and is happy to share his entrepreneurial journey with the Swiss students. © Marine Favre

The only way to network! British and Swiss student entrepreneurs share cheese, stories and (early stage) entrepreneurial wisdom at our networking fondue night in London. © Marine Favre

Anyone who wants to compete on the global stage not only needs entrepreneurial spirit, but must also understand international perspectives. This is why the Swiss Embassy in London invited student teams from Swiss universities to join them in London for a two-day experience. They were able to discuss, exchange best practices and network with entrepreneurial students from Imperial College London, successful Swiss start-ups in London and young British entrepreneurs.

It is increasingly important that university students have an opportunity to develop their entrepreneurial spirit. And while it is a good starting point to learn about establishing a start-up company in Switzerland, it can be a real inspiration to visit one of the world’s leading start-up centres. That is why the Swiss Embassy in London invited student teams who had won their local Innosuisse entrepreneurship training modules in western Switzerland to join them for a two-day experience. They were able to talk, exchange best practices and network with entrepreneurial students from Imperial College London, successful Swiss start-ups in London and young British entrepreneurs. In addition, they benefited from useful advice and tips from UK investors and learned about the experience of Swiss start-ups that explore the UK market via the Embassy’s Innosuisse Market Entry Camp UK.

Inspired by the scale and intensity of London’s start-up hub, they returned to their home universities with even more entrepreneurial drive. We think international inspiration is a trend. As Swiss universities step up their efforts to support their students’ entrepreneurial spirit, an international perspective helps them to understand early on what “born global” means, and what it will take to succeed against global competition.

Inspiring and exchanging knowledge
Driving the change for tomorrow’s infrastructure needs
swissnex India

Professor Sarah Springman, rector of the ETH Zurich and Ashwini Lohani, chairman of the Indian Railway Board exchanging the signed MoUs as President Doris Leuthard and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi look on. © Sanyam Bajaj

Professor Sarah Springman, rector of the ETH Zurich and Sanjay Gupta, chairman and managing director of Konkan Railway, signing the Memorandum of Understanding. © Konkan Railway

Scouting for Swiss expertise in tunnel technology: swissnex India paved the way for a partnership between the Indian Konkan Railway and the Institute of Geotechnical Engineering at the ETH Zurich. The cooperation resulted in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The five year MoU has now paved the way for Indian trainee engineers to attend training programs at the ETH Zurich and adapt technologies to the geology of Indian terrains, bringing together the best minds in Switzerland and India for a better future.

The demand for advanced tunnel technologies is on the rise in India, with about 1500 km of existing tunnels and another 2000 km of tunnels under construction and in the planning stage for railways, roadways, and irrigation. The George Fernandes Institute of Tunnel Technology (GFITT) in Goa was established by the Konkan Railway, a subsidiary zone of the Indian Railway, to enable training for the technology hitherto unavailable in the country. A collaboration with the pioneers in tunnel technology was the need of the hour. Konkan Railway reached out to swissnex India through the Swiss Embassy, to partner with a Swiss institution for knowledge exchange. Delving deeper into the requirements, swissnex India identified The Institute of Geotechnical Engineering at the ETH Zurich as the perfect partner, and facilitated an MoU for the exchange of information, curriculum development, organization of joint courses, seminars and workshops, exchange of faculty and staff, and the setting up and operation of courses.

During President Leuthard’s state visit, the MoU was signed by ETH Zurich rector, Prof. Sarah Springman, and Konkan Railway managing director Sanjay Gupta. The five-year MoU has now paved the way for Indian trainee engineers to attend training programs at the ETH Zurich and adapt technologies to the geology of Indian terrains, bringing together the best minds in Switzerland and India for a better future.

Informing and advising
Switzerland Innovation Tour 2017: Exploring Swiss deep-tech for Indian market demands
swissnex India

Ajay Nanavati, Innovation evangelist and former Managing Director of 3M India speaks about the potential for investments in deep-tech start-ups for Indian market demands at Swiss Start-up Day 2017 in Bern. © swissnex India

The Indian delegation of angel investors and innovation scouters in Switzerland.
© swissnex India

Indian investors gaining insights on how Research and Development and entrepreneurship work within Swiss tech transfer offices and incubators, for a broader examination on possible collaborations. © swissnex India

swissnex India pioneered the Switzerland Innovation Tour 2017 to connect Switzerland to India by facilitating the exchange of intellectual capital. It organized a multi-city trend-scouting tour focusing on technology transfer and open innovation. The tour culminated in a better understanding of what both countries could achieve together.

The fact that Switzerland is one of the most innovative economies is not widely known among Indian investors, venture capitalists, and key decision makers in the Indian start-up ecosystem. Similarly, India is not as well known for its market opportunities, talent pool and cost-efficiency among the Swiss counterparts, as it should be. It took some effort to unveil the strengths of both the countries to each other. A platform was set up to introduce Indian start-up enablers to their Swiss counterparts (angel investors, Venture Capital funds, incubators and accelerators, start-ups, and Swiss companies), and to help them realize how collaboration between India and Switzerland fits in with their global plans.

Six influencers from the Indian start-up ecosystem were handpicked to explore Switzerland’s offerings. swissnex India organized a multi-city trend-scouting tour including meetings with Swiss start-ups, investors and, academia focusing on technology transfer and on open innovation.

The tour culminated in a better understanding of what both countries could achieve together. It inspired several bilateral ongoing conversations for collaboration, including co-investments in Swiss start-ups: there are three active ongoing conversations between the Indian delegation of start-up investors and Swiss start-ups for raising funds. The conversations focused on the potential for Swiss start-ups to work with a chain of Indian hospitals to improve clinical trials and validation procedures.

Lots to learn and try to emulate,” said Ajay Nanavati, Innovation Evangelist from India

“The Switzerland Innovation Tour organized by swissnex gave me a well-rounded overview of the Swiss start-up ecosystem. The interactions that the Indian delegation had with the leading incubators, start-ups, investors, universities and accelerators in Switzerland gave rise to several ideas for Indo-Swiss start-up exchange programs. One of the areas that stood out for me was how the innovation pipeline was being driven by academic institutions like ETH Zurich and EPF Lausanne. Switzerland is home to many innovative start-ups, but the one that stood out for me was IProva which is transforming the way new products, services and solutions are invented by using machine learning. We are in talks with a few such innovative Swiss start-ups to bring their solutions to our domestic and global clients. Undoubtedly, the Switzerland Innovation Tour was the perfect gateway to the Swiss innovation ecosystem.”
Avnish Sabharwal, Accenture India

Promoting visibility
Inspiring science enthusiasts: Igniting interest by sharing best practices
swissnex India

Here's how we simplified science for all.
© swissnex India

ScienceComm’17 India was a one-day conference on the theme of ‘simplifying science for all’. Over 150 science enthusiasts joined the conference to delve into topics such as the art of science writing, data visualization, social media, photography, citizen science and music for conservation.

Arvind Padmanabhan, a participant of ScienceComm’17 India said, “Even if stories fail to improve understanding of science, they at least inspire people. Writing about science is not about giving readers all the answers. It’s about sparking people’s curiosity about nature and inspiring them to explore it on their own.” Simplifying science is very much the need of the hour. With this thought in mind, we started a conversation on science communication in 2017.

We curated a content-rich conference that examined every possible angle of science communication. Over 150 science enthusiasts joined the conference to delve into topics such as the art of science writing, data visualization, social media, photography, citizen science and music for conservation.

The participants were presented with new ideas and insights, and discovered new possibilities for themselves. “My interest in journalism found a new hope,” said Deeksha, a participant. Our speakers from Switzerland and India spent a day networking with their peers and learning about the trends in each other’s countries. The diversity of the content and the expertise provided by the speakers and the participants’ interest and enthusiasm led to a day of inspiring exchanges.

 

Inspiring and exchanging knowledge
Exploring promising horizons with the new ‘Digital India’
swissnex India

The Fintech Start-up Tour 2017 delegation before kicking off an exclusive networking evening in Bangalore. © swissnex India

Swiss fintech innovators showcasing their technology to key players of the Indian fintech start-up ecosystem. © swissnex India

The rise of fintech and fresh opportunities: In 2017, swissnex India organized the Fintech Start-up Tour in Bangalore and Mumbai to identify hubs of thriving fintech and start-up ecosystems in India and expand its network. This allowed the program to be tailored to include relevant and high-level interactions, e.g. meeting successful Indian fintech start-ups, and engaging with accelerator and incubator spaces in Mumbai.

Backed by the Government of India, the new ‘Digital India’ mission and demonetization has created demand for a series of fresh fintech services such as next gen payments, P2P lending, bank in a box, roboadvisory, blockchain, financial inclusion, as well as security and biometrics. The substantial proliferation of smartphones in the country has also increased the need for new payment interfaces, mobile wallets and garnered attention from major brands such as VISA and Apple.

India has fast become the world leader in fintech Research and Development and consumption. swissnex India began trend scouting and research in 2015 working with key knowledge partners. Findings from studies based on market characteristics and trends on how Swiss innovation could benefit the Indian fintech space were published as a fintech industry report in 2016. This was followed by conceptualising and launching our first Fintech Start-up Tour in 2017 in Bangalore and Mumbai, which are the identified hubs of thriving fintech and start-up ecosystems in India to which we expanded our network.

This allowed the program to be tailored to include relevant and high-level interactions, e.g. meeting successful Indian fintech start-ups such as Zestmoney, Signzy and Razorpay, and engaging with accelerator and incubator spaces in Mumbai, such as Zone Start-ups India at the iconic Bombay Stock Exchange tower and RISE Mumbai. swissnex India facilitated Swiss fintech innovators’ access to the innovation offices of all three levels of banks that exist in India: State Bank of India (fully government owned and largest bank of India), Citibank (private international bank), Axis, HDFC and Yes bank (private Indian bank). This resulted in a comprehensive overview of six banks, three Indian fintech start-ups, six Venture Capital firms and five exclusive networking evenings for valuable takeaways from the start-up tour.

Hear what our Swiss delegates have to say on how this effort in unearthing emerging markets and expanding to relevant key players is unveiling the promising course of fintech in India.

“As a venture capital investor, I am impressed with India’s untapped potential. 95% of the start-ups that we finance in Switzerland don’t think of India as a target market. This is true across all industries, be it fintech, agritech, high-tech, medtech etc. swissnex India is helping to bridge this gap in a pragmatic way. It is remarkable how Indian start-ups understand the need of mass markets and develop appropriate, scalable solutions. Swiss start-ups usually focus on sophisticated products based on lots of intellectual property (IP), even patents of trade secrets. Combining both strengths would be a dream!”
Mike Hobmeier, Chief Investment Officer at Investiere

Broadening Horizons – digitalization and beyond
Europe competing in the field of high-performance computing?
Brussels Science Counselors / Offices

State Secretary Mauro Dell’Ambrogio, Director General for Research and Innovation, Robert-Jan Smits, and CSCS Director Thomas Schulthess at the November meeting, in front of the “Piz Daint” supercomputer, currently the most powerful in Europe. © CSCS

Ranking of the world’s most powerful supercomputers. © SERI

In a bid to combat the fragmentation of European supercomputers, the European Commission intends to invest one billion euros in exascale supercomputers in a joint undertaking funded by the EU and its Member States. Switzerland currently has the most powerful supercomputer in Europe, “Piz Daint”, which is located at the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS) in Lugano. The Director General for Research and Innovation at the European Commission at the time, Robert-Jan Smits, visited the CSCS in November 2017.

As a country associated to Horizon 2020, the current EU framework program for research and innovation running from 2014 until 2020, Switzerland signed the EuroHPC Declaration of Intent in October 2017 at the request of the ETH Board. It is therefore committed to participating in preparations for this new European infrastructure.

Switzerland currently has the most powerful supercomputer in Europe, “Piz Daint”, which is located at the Swiss National Supercomputing Center (CSCS) in Lugano. As such it holds a leading position in the field of high-performance computing. It is also one of the five hosting members of the European infrastructure PRACE (Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe), which has existed for ten years. This is an advantage for researchers in Switzerland as participation in the PRACE partnership guarantees access to various other European supercomputers.

In this context, the Director General for Research and Innovation at the European Commission at the time, Robert-Jan Smits, visited the CSCS in November 2017, accompanied by State Secretary Mauro Dell’Ambrogio and CSCS Director Thomas Schulthess. The meeting provided an opportunity to discuss the modalities of Switzerland’s contribution to the new EuroHPC project, in order to ensure a successful collaboration between Switzerland and the European Union on this new project.

Since 2017, the European Commission has aimed to set up a European supercomputer infrastructure to become a global player in the field of high-performance computing (HPC). By developing its own supercomputers, Europe hopes to satisfy the current high demand for computing capacity and to have at its disposal essential tools for the calculation, modelling and simulation of complex systems, as well as for processing an ever-increasing volume of data. The computing capacity of supercomputers can support, for example, the early detection and treatment of diseases, decoding how the human brain functions, climate predictions, and the prevention and management of major natural disasters.

Broadening Horizons – digitalization and beyond
Tech4Peace: Digital technologies for peace-keeping
swissnex Brazil

Professor Thomas Biersteker, from the Graduate Institute, explains the SanctionsApp, technology focused on influencing policy by providing knowledge about ongoing sanctions around the world to the UN Security Council. © Sofia Costa / swissnex Brazil

Round table on Tech4Peace. © Sofia Costa / swissnex Brazil

Cecília Olliveira from the Fogo Cruzado app gives an overall view of the violence in Rio de Janeiro. The app helps people monitor the situation, making correlations between violence and the political momentum in the state. © Sofia Costa / swissnex Brazil

Julia Palmiano from swisspeace uses the case of Myanmar to explain how the use of social media, particularly Facebook, has helped give transparency to peace negotiations between government and alternative groups. On the other hand, hate and fake news are also a challenge online. © Sofia Costa / swissnex Brazil

Disruption signifies a radical disturbance, and transformations caused by digital platforms in society are often called disruptive. If the ruptures are social, can technologies play a unifying role and provide more security? The event brought together specialists from a variety of fields to swissnex Brazil to debate the role of digital technologies in peace-keeping processes, mainly in urban areas with a high incidence of conflict and violence.

Thomas Biersteker, from the Graduate Institute Geneva, developed the SanctionsApp, which makes it possible to identify, analyze and provide information about actions of the UN Security Council during conflicts. Julia Palmiano Federer, from swisspeace, presented her research on the role of social media in the peace process and shared her experiences in Myanmar and the Philippines. Cecília Olliveira designed the Fogo Cruzado (“Crossfire”) app, which was developed for a campaign by Amnesty International to prevent human rights violations in public safety operations in Rio de Janeiro.

The panel also included the participation of Eduardo Alves, from the Observatory of the Favelas and coordinator of the Popular School of Critical Communication, who introduced an investigative view on forms of communication in society, including digital platforms. The moderator was Julio Bernardo Ludemir, one of the creators of FLUP, an award-winning literary festival whose unique characteristic is that it is held in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, which are spaces that traditionally lack the option of enjoying cultural events.

Tech4Peace explored new ideas of how digitalization can offer valuable opportunities to contribute to creating a better and more peaceful world.

Informing and advising
Inspiring and exchanging knowledge via the Academia-Industry Training AIT
swissnex Brazil

Rayssa Pereira presented her pitch during the Rio Circuito Start-up © Taru Juurikko

Brazilian and Swiss participants at the “How to translate Scientific Messages to Markets” workshop during the Pitch Academy at the Cisco Innovation Center.
© Taru Juurikko

“Pitch Structure: How to Be Attractive to Investors”, with Rodrigo Tiraboschi, investor and Venture Capital/Private Equity Adviser. © Taru Juurikko

Final Pitching Session on the last day of the fourth edition of the Academy-Industry Training. © Taru Juurikko

AIT Participants and the swissnex Brazil team at the Niterói Museum of Contemporary Art, designed by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, and which was the venue for the Final Pitching Session. © Taru Juurikko

Science and entrepreneurship bring together Brazilians and Swiss: ten Brazilian and eight Swiss “scientist-entrepreneurs” participated in the fourth edition of Academia Industry Training (AIT). For one week, swissnex Brazil organized workshops, held classes, provided mentoring and held networking events. The training sessions tackled the business culture in Brazil, market opportunities, brand development, intellectual property, working out a winning pitch to investors and other subjects. For the first time, swissnex Brazil and the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) joined forces to launch a call for Brazilian participation. This partnership reflects the growing interest of the Brazilian government in the AIT program.

Transforming an idea born in the lab into a product that can conquer the market is a big challenge for “scientrepreneurs” participating in AIT. The program also has a global perspective that can multiply not only the challenges, but also opportunities. It was in search of these opportunities and more knowledge that Brazilian and Swiss “scientist-entrepreneurs” participated in the fourth edition of the AIT.

In getting to grips with Brazilian culture, participants had the opportunity to submit their ideas to mentors and the major players in Brazil’s investment ecosystem. The dynamic AIT activities took place at various locations, reinforcing swissnex strategic partnerships in the country, such as the Cisco Innovation Center, Apple Center, PUC-Rio, D’Or Institute for Research and Education, Startup Circuit, Entropia, Business Rio, Business NIT, and the Niterói Contemporary Art Museum.

The last pitching session was the grand finale of the AIT and put the knowledge gained during the week to the test. Each participant performed a pitch to an external audience, including investors. The Niterói Museum of Contemporary Art and the lovely view of the Guanabara Bay were the perfect setting to inspire the AIT scientrepreneurs.

In April 2018, Brazilians and Swiss met for the second Week Camp, which took place in Switzerland, this time also joined by the participants of AIT India. The varied program included a visit to the University of St. Gallen, which, as Leading House for Latin America, offers funding and expertise that are vital to the success of the AIT program.

Inspiring and exchanging knowledge
Digital innovation tour in China
swissnex China

China e-payment © techygoogle.com

Bike-sharing by scanning the QR code. © touringclub.it

Smart logistics robotics © cdn.techinasia.com

China is very advanced in integrating digitalization into daily activities. In 2017, swissnex China organized an innovation tour for Swiss companies showing them how Chinese people live and work more efficiently and effectively by integrating internet technologies into traditional industry. The digital innovation tour included meetings with start-ups and visits to leading Chinese companies and accelerators.

China is leading Asia when it comes to digital transformation. Tech penetration is very high by international comparison, in particular in e-payment, e-commerce and IOT. In 2017, swissnex China organized innovation tours for several Swiss corporates such as Swiss Post, Swisscom and Buhler in China, showing a digital world in which internet technologies are efficiently integrated into traditional industries, and a cashless society where smart phones replace money.

Artificial intelligence, drones, smart logistics, smart cities and the internet-of-things are the sectors in which the Swiss delegations paid most interest and explored the potential for collaboration at meetings and visits organized by swissnex China. The digital innovation tour included meetings with start-ups and visits to leading Chinese companies and accelerators. China is definitely making a leap in digitalization and swissnex China is planning to organize more innovation tours to make opportunities better known in Switzerland.

Connecting
Introducing China’s innovation landscape to academic delegations
swissnex China

EMBA Class of Fribourg School of Management visiting InnoSpace+. © swissnex China

EMBA Class of University of Zurich doing a case study with Florian Bohnert, Head of Global Partnership at Mobike © swissnex China

China’s development in innovation has attracted great interest in the Swiss higher education community. In 2017, swissnex China received numerous delegations, such as the EMBA class at the Fribourg School of Management or the Head of Global Partnership for Mobike. The meetings resulted in interesting and inspiring discussions concerning the innovation and start-up scene in China and Switzerland.

For example, swissnex took the EMBA class at the Fribourg School of Management to visit incubators in Shanghai, such as InnoSpace+. The delegation learned about the start-up ecosystem in China and how an incubator like InnoSpace+ helps start-ups grow.

Many companies are testing innovative solutions to tackle mobility issues: for example, swissnex invited the Head of Global Partnership at Mobike to share Mobike’s story with the EMBA class from the University of Zurich last October. Mobike is the world’s first cashless and station-free bike sharing platform, and is headquartered in Beijing, China. In 2 years, the company has grown from a start-up to the world’s largest shared bicycle operator with operations in 15 countries and 8 million bikes. The EMBA class had a very interesting and inspiring discussion with Mobike, which greatly helped the class to understand the innovation and start-up scene in China.

Informing and advising
swissnex Dome at HUBweek: Where Art Meets Science
swissnex Boston

HUBweek entrance on Boston City Hall Plaza. © Sophie Le Meillour

Guests explore the Swiss Touch table under the swissnex Dome. © Dave Green

Live performance of “Disorder 3D”. © François Moncarey

Under the swissnex Dome at HUBweek, Boston’s “festival for the future”, Swiss artists joined their American and Canadian counterparts from 12 – 15 October 2017 to discuss and showcase cutting-edge full-dome technologies that integrate audiovisual live performances and 360° film screenings. The event was effective in facilitating knowledge exchange between countries, shedding light on Swiss innovation, technical sophistication, and its vibrant digital arts scene.

HUBweek is a civic collaboration, founded in 2014 by The Boston Globe, Harvard University, MIT, and Massachusetts General Hospital. It brings together creative and inventive minds making an impact on art, science, and technology. The project not only strengthens the local network of scientists, artists, entrepreneurs, and policymakers, but also plugs Boston into the larger ecosystem abroad, and vice versa.

swissnex Boston coordinated between 12 partners and oversaw the building of a 13-meter geodesic dome on City Hall Plaza, plus the planning and coordination of four days of continuous programming.

As a result, the talented Swiss artists were able to reinforce Switzerland’s image as an innovative, global player within the art and tech ecosystems of Boston, and make new connections that will lead to future cross-cultural collaborations.

Two of the events showcased the Swiss Touch table. The first was a VIP preview event on the evening before the Dome’s public opening; CEO of swissnex Boston Christian Simm introduced the table and its current tour across the U.S.

The second Swiss Touch event, “Exploring Digital Utopia,” gathered together artists, technicians, and industry experts around the Swiss Touch table to discuss some of the cutting-edge uses of the Dome-as-viewing platform, immersive realities, and the exploration of the notion of digital utopia.

Other activities included:

  • A collection of ten films selected for the Call for Swiss Full-Dome Film Projects, in partnership with the Geneva International Film Festival, MySquare, Le D.I.X and La Ville de Genève. The winner was “Apoptose” by Sophie Le Meillour and Fabrice Starzinskas, with sound design by Juan Pablo Espinoza and Hervé Moire.
  • A series of short films presented in partnership with the Charles Hayden Planetarium, Museum of Science Boston, featuring the museum’s series “Stories Under the Stars.”
  • The world premiere of “Disorder 3D,” a live performance of linked dance, full-dome graphics, and music performed by François Moncarey, Kevin Ramseier and Thomas Köppel from the Centre d’expression numérique et corporelle Genève.
Broadening Horizons – digitalization and beyond
Venture Leaders in Boston and NYC
swissnex Boston

Successful exchanges at company visits and workshops: The Venture Leaders Life Sciences 2017. © Dave Green

Swiss startup leaders in Life Sciences pitched against their American counterparts at pitchfest 2017, which took place onboard the Majesty as it sailed out of Boston’s Long Wharf. © Dave Green

The Venture Leaders Fintech 2017 networked at Rise New York, NYC’s premier Fintech Accelerator. © swissnex New York

Training and exposure for top Swiss fintech and life sciences start-ups: In partnership with venturelab, swissnex Boston and swissnex in New York again welcomed the Venture Leaders, a group of representatives from some of the most promising Swiss start-ups. Programs such as these enrich and energize some of Switzerland’s best start-ups with exposure to U.S. style innovation culture and ecosystems.

In 2017, swissnex Boston and swissnex in New York each hosted ten of these startups, in the fields of life sciences and fintech, respectively. The startups participated in two different but parallel bootcamp-style programs, designed to expose participants to intensive training and exploration of the local innovation ecosystem.

Programs such as these enrich and energize some of Switzerland’s best startups with exposure to U.S. style innovation culture and ecosystems, which they can use for future U.S. market entry, as well as bring back to Switzerland with the benefits of new connections forged and a broader network to tap into.

This year the Venture Leaders Life Sciences, taking place in Boston June 11 – 17, attended company visits and workshops at Parexel, Babson College, Biogen, Wyss Institute, LabCentral, MassBio, Massachusetts Life Science Center, Ernst & Young, and the Cambridge Innovation Center where they were given constructive feedback from experts to strengthen their pitches. They ultimately pitched in front of two large crowds that week, one of which included Mauro Dell’Ambrogio, the State Secretary for Education, Research, and Education (SERI), and Ambassador Mauro Moruzzi, alongside investors, executives and actors of the Life Sciences innovation ecosystem. The winner of the final pitchfest was Georges Muller of Dispencell, a company that makes single cell experiments possible thanks to a simple, disposable and traceable single-cell isolation system. Tiba Biotech was also awarded the public prize for their method to synthesize new vaccines in under seven days.

The Venture Leaders Fintech, taking place in New York September 10 – 16, kicked off their week-long program with a workshop on “how to pitch to a New York audience, at Rise New York, the city’s premier Fintech Accelerator, supported by Barclays. The ten startups participated in the Finovate New York conference, a legal session and investor meeting at the law firm of Foley & Lardner, and presented their companies at a succession of investor meetings with Bain Capital, White Star Capital, Waypoint Capital, Blumberg Capital, NY Angels, and HOF Capital. The program concluded with a judged pitch competition, “Swiss Fintech Demo Night,” at the FinTech Accelerator Rise New York. The winner was François Briod of Monito, a global money transfer service.

Informing and advising
Swiss-US Energy Innovation Days
swissnex Boston

Group shot of the Swiss-US Energy Innovation Days participants. © Rob Tannenbaum

Marianne Zünd, Head Media & Politics, SFOE, addresses the crowd at the Swiss-US Energy Innovation Days event. © Rob Tannenbaum

Oliver Haugen of swissnex in New York moderates an expert panel discussion titled “Buildings should be good neighbors.” © Rob Tannenbaum

Networking reception. © Rob Tannenbaum

Participants break briefly to witness the total solar eclipse that took place August 21. © Rob Tannenbaum

Working hand-in-hand with the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE), swissnex in New York hosted the fourth annual Swiss-US Energy Innovation Days event from 20 – 23 August 2017 in several locations around New York City. The annual conference, launched in Boston in 2014, brings Swiss and US energy experts together to explore the local energy innovation scene and to engage with each other on this topical issue against the backdrop of real world applications.

The 2017 edition saw 59 Swiss participants come to New York City to explore the local clean energy system together with close to 50 US-based participants. In preparation, swissnex worked closely with the SFOE to select panelists and moderators for each session, and planned a number of site visits including the Brooklyn microgrid, the Empire State Building energy retrofit, and the state-of-the-art Newtown Creek wastewater treatment plant.

Swiss participants, especially in the building sector, were recognized for the value and vast potential of exporting their knowledge and technologies to the specific urban market of New York, which lags behind many European cities when it comes to sustainable and low-energy buildings. Local architects learned about the new technologies that are available in Switzerland. Through this conference, swissnex established a connection with WSP, a leading engineering firm in the US, which could be leveraged as a valuable contact for Swiss partners.

Connecting
The Digital Revolution: keynote lecture and round table with Dirk Helbing
swissnex Brazil

While in Brazil, Professor Dirk Helbing from the ETH Zurich presented a lecture entitled The Digital Revolution, followed by a round table at swissnex Brazil. During his short stay in Brazil, he had the opportunity to discover the Museum of Tomorrow and the Christ the Redeemer statue.
© Leonardo Wen

Reflections on the future of the world and the role of humanity itself in a society in transformation: shortly before Christmas, Dirk Helbing, professor at the Department of Computational Social Science and Humanities at the Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich visited swissnex Brazil. He presented “The Digital Revolution: Why it will start a new Era of Human History”. In his lecture, he tackled sensitive subjects for a world in the advanced stage of digitalization: data privacy, big data, artificial intelligence and the future of work.

The provocative statements of the prestigious futurist Dirk Helbing made the traditional end of year reflections a bit more comprehensive at swissnex Brazil. The development of digital technologies stimulates reflections on what the role of humanity will be in the future and flags warnings, but also provides never before imagined opportunities for collaboration. Opportunities for co-creation and collective intelligence inspired the public that filled the event space of swissnex Brazil. After the presentation, a round table featured Professor Hans Herrmann from the ETH Zurich and the Federal University of Fortaleza, Eduardo Magrani, Coordinator of Law and Technology at the Institute of Technology and Society, and Débora Garcia, educator and director of content at Canal Futura. Canal Futura, an educational TV channel with a national audience produced a program consisting of a special interview with Professor Helbing.

Professor Dirk Helbing was interviewed by Canal Futura, an educational TV channel with a national audience. © Leonardo Machado / swissnex Brazil

Reflections on the future of the world and the role of humanity itself in a society in transformation: shortly before Christmas, Dirk Helbing, professor at the Department of Computational Social Science and Humanities at the Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich visited swissnex Brazil. He presented “The Digital Revolution: Why it will start a new Era of Human History”. In his lecture, he tackled sensitive subjects for a world in the advanced stage of digitalization: data privacy, big data, artificial intelligence and the future of work.

The provocative statements of the prestigious futurist Dirk Helbing made the traditional end of year reflections a bit more comprehensive at swissnex Brazil. The development of digital technologies stimulates reflections on what the role of humanity will be in the future and flags warnings, but also provides never before imagined opportunities for collaboration. Opportunities for co-creation and collective intelligence inspired the public that filled the event space of swissnex Brazil. After the presentation, a round table featured Professor Hans Herrmann from the ETH Zurich and the Federal University of Fortaleza, Eduardo Magrani, Coordinator of Law and Technology at the Institute of Technology and Society, and Débora Garcia, educator and director of content at Canal Futura. Canal Futura, an educational TV channel with a national audience produced a program consisting of a special interview with Professor Helbing.

Round table after the lecture “The Digital Revolution”, with Débora Garcia, Dirk Helbing, Eduardo Magrani and Hans Herrmann. © Leonardo Machado / swissnex Brazil

Reflections on the future of the world and the role of humanity itself in a society in transformation: shortly before Christmas, Dirk Helbing, professor at the Department of Computational Social Science and Humanities at the Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich visited swissnex Brazil. He presented “The Digital Revolution: Why it will start a new Era of Human History”. In his lecture, he tackled sensitive subjects for a world in the advanced stage of digitalization: data privacy, big data, artificial intelligence and the future of work.

The provocative statements of the prestigious futurist Dirk Helbing made the traditional end of year reflections a bit more comprehensive at swissnex Brazil. The development of digital technologies stimulates reflections on what the role of humanity will be in the future and flags warnings, but also provides never before imagined opportunities for collaboration. Opportunities for co-creation and collective intelligence inspired the public that filled the event space of swissnex Brazil. After the presentation, a round table featured Professor Hans Herrmann from the ETH Zurich and the Federal University of Fortaleza, Eduardo Magrani, Coordinator of Law and Technology at the Institute of Technology and Society, and Débora Garcia, educator and director of content at Canal Futura. Canal Futura, an educational TV channel with a national audience produced a program consisting of a special interview with Professor Helbing.

Broadening Horizons – digitalization and beyond
Future of Money: Digitalization through blockchain in fintech
swissnex China

Blockchain in Fintech 2017 – “Future of Money” Series
© swissnex China

How will cryptocurrencies affect different industries and shape the world in the future? What is the role of blockchains’ revolutionary technology in shaping Fintech? These are some of the issues that were addressed at the first event in the “Future of Money” series that swissnex China launched in November 2017, with a great panel of Swiss and Chinese blockchain and fintech experts.

Staying on the Cutting Edge
A rapid increase in digitalization is accelerating fintech and is forcing the finance and banking sector to innovate, especially as a response to the 2008 financial crisis. Fintech is enabling transactions that are smaller, higher-frequency, and more diversified. Switzerland has developed cutting-edge solutions and has much to offer in this field.

New Core Technology
Blockchain (the technology underlying Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies) is gaining momentum and grabbing attention as a core technology for executing transactions on networks, as it allows internet users to transfer items of digital property to each other. Blockchain ensures that the transfer is safe and secure. Because the blockchain is transparent, all users know whether the transfer has taken place and it is impossible to fake or imitate the legitimacy of the transfer.

Huge Potentials
The importance of constructing distributed financial platforms with blockchain technology is growing. However, developments around blockchain in fintech are still at an early stage and progress may unlock many potential solutions. Many academics and experts have already identified the emergence of the trend, and they are currently analyzing the opportunities and challenges that these digital platforms, cutting-edge technologies, and new business models have brought to the financial sector, where Switzerland is traditionally strong.

Testing the Waters
swissnex China has set itself the goal of highlighting the strength of Swiss fintech, which benefits from Switzerland’s leadership in innovation, and with crypto valley Zug on the rise in the blockchain scene has garnered interest around the world, including in China. In fact, in November 2017, swissnex China successfully launched its first “Future of Money” series’ event on “Blockchain in fintech”, with an exceptional panel of Swiss and Chinese blockchain and fintech experts. The topics that were discussed in Shanghai and Hong Kong included the revolutionary technology of blockchain in fintech and the future outlook of how cryptocurrencies and distributed ledgers have the potential to disrupt certain industries and shape the world of tomorrow.

Connecting the Dots
The Swiss expert panelists included Dr. Thomas Bocek, Head of P2P and distributed systems at the University of Zurich and Manuel Stagars, who made the documentary “Blockchain and Us.” Mr. Bocek gave the audience a taste of the technological background to peer-to-peer and distributed systems, including bitcoin and blockchain. Mr. Stagars, building on the knowledge acquired thanks to his documentary and his many interviews with key industry players in Switzerland, shared interesting insights into the Swiss fintech landscape and its opportunities and challenges for blockchain technology. The panel was moderated by the fintech expert Zennon Kapron, Director of Kapron ASIA, a leading provider of financial industry market research and consulting.

In addition to those mentioned above, seven more blockchain experts joined the panel: Da HongFei, Founder of NEO, the largest blockchain project in China, explained how digital identity can digitalize assets to automate the management of digital assets using smart contracts aiming to create a “smart economy.” From Hong Kong, we welcomed Arthur Hayes, CEO of BitMEX, a P2P crypto-products trading platform, who presented the next generation of bitcoin derivatives. We were also joined by Ms. Qijun Wang, a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of crypto asset management start-up Queschain, providing a much-needed voice for women in the industry. Finally, we welcomed Mr. Rong Chen, co-founder of Elastos Foundation, who works on a smart-web powered by blockchain, and Mr. Jason Inch who discussed his most recent book “China 4.0” and his latest blockchain project, Genaro, with us.

Curious Audience
Many interesting issues were discussed during the two events: is blockchain technology a game changer? Which industries will blockchain influence in particular? Is Switzerland going to play a key role in this fintech industry? How long does it take for mass adoption? What are the opportunities and threats of blockchain technology? The conclusion was that blockchain technology is only the beginning of a revolution which will have the power to change our everyday lives.

Success story: China’s start-up and blockchain giant NEO, which was a main event partner, is currently exploring ways to set up an entity in Switzerland as a result of this event. Meanwhile, NEO has invested several million dollars in two Swiss start-ups, PikcioChain and Valid. This is a clear example of how swissnex China tangibly contributes to the creation of value both in Switzerland and abroad.

Focus on Swiss Quality and Chinese Speed
Rapid advances in digital technologies such as artificial intelligence and cryptography are transforming the financial services landscape, which in turn creates opportunities and challenges. Despite this ever-changing environment, swissnex China continues to keep abreast of the latest industry developments, while preparing for the next major event, which will focus on “AI in WealthTech”.

Many interesting issues were discussed by the expert panel: is blockchain technology a game changer? Which industries will the blockchain influence in particular? Is Switzerland going to play a key role in this fintech industry? How long does it take for mass adoption? What are the opportunities and threats of blockchain technology? The conclusion was that blockchain technology is only the beginning of a revolution which will have the power to change our everyday lives. © Chang Liu / swissnex China

How will cryptocurrencies affect different industries and shape the world in the future? What is the role of blockchains’ revolutionary technology in shaping Fintech? These are some of the issues that were addressed at the first event in the “Future of Money” series that swissnex China launched in November 2017, with a great panel of Swiss and Chinese blockchain and fintech experts.

Staying on the Cutting Edge
A rapid increase in digitalization is accelerating fintech and is forcing the finance and banking sector to innovate, especially as a response to the 2008 financial crisis. Fintech is enabling transactions that are smaller, higher-frequency, and more diversified. Switzerland has developed cutting-edge solutions and has much to offer in this field.

New Core Technology
Blockchain (the technology underlying Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies) is gaining momentum and grabbing attention as a core technology for executing transactions on networks, as it allows internet users to transfer items of digital property to each other. Blockchain ensures that the transfer is safe and secure. Because the blockchain is transparent, all users know whether the transfer has taken place and it is impossible to fake or imitate the legitimacy of the transfer.

Huge Potentials
The importance of constructing distributed financial platforms with blockchain technology is growing. However, developments around blockchain in fintech are still at an early stage and progress may unlock many potential solutions. Many academics and experts have already identified the emergence of the trend, and they are currently analyzing the opportunities and challenges that these digital platforms, cutting-edge technologies, and new business models have brought to the financial sector, where Switzerland is traditionally strong.

Testing the Waters
swissnex China has set itself the goal of highlighting the strength of Swiss fintech, which benefits from Switzerland’s leadership in innovation, and with crypto valley Zug on the rise in the blockchain scene has garnered interest around the world, including in China. In fact, in November 2017, swissnex China successfully launched its first “Future of Money” series’ event on “Blockchain in fintech”, with an exceptional panel of Swiss and Chinese blockchain and fintech experts. The topics that were discussed in Shanghai and Hong Kong included the revolutionary technology of blockchain in fintech and the future outlook of how cryptocurrencies and distributed ledgers have the potential to disrupt certain industries and shape the world of tomorrow.

Connecting the Dots
The Swiss expert panelists included Dr. Thomas Bocek, Head of P2P and distributed systems at the University of Zurich and Manuel Stagars, who made the documentary “Blockchain and Us.” Mr. Bocek gave the audience a taste of the technological background to peer-to-peer and distributed systems, including bitcoin and blockchain. Mr. Stagars, building on the knowledge acquired thanks to his documentary and his many interviews with key industry players in Switzerland, shared interesting insights into the Swiss fintech landscape and its opportunities and challenges for blockchain technology. The panel was moderated by the fintech expert Zennon Kapron, Director of Kapron ASIA, a leading provider of financial industry market research and consulting.

In addition to those mentioned above, seven more blockchain experts joined the panel: Da HongFei, Founder of NEO, the largest blockchain project in China, explained how digital identity can digitalize assets to automate the management of digital assets using smart contracts aiming to create a “smart economy.” From Hong Kong, we welcomed Arthur Hayes, CEO of BitMEX, a P2P crypto-products trading platform, who presented the next generation of bitcoin derivatives. We were also joined by Ms. Qijun Wang, a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of crypto asset management start-up Queschain, providing a much-needed voice for women in the industry. Finally, we welcomed Mr. Rong Chen, co-founder of Elastos Foundation, who works on a smart-web powered by blockchain, and Mr. Jason Inch who discussed his most recent book “China 4.0” and his latest blockchain project, Genaro, with us.

Curious Audience
Many interesting issues were discussed during the two events: is blockchain technology a game changer? Which industries will blockchain influence in particular? Is Switzerland going to play a key role in this fintech industry? How long does it take for mass adoption? What are the opportunities and threats of blockchain technology? The conclusion was that blockchain technology is only the beginning of a revolution which will have the power to change our everyday lives.

Success story: China’s start-up and blockchain giant NEO, which was a main event partner, is currently exploring ways to set up an entity in Switzerland as a result of this event. Meanwhile, NEO has invested several million dollars in two Swiss start-ups, PikcioChain and Valid. This is a clear example of how swissnex China tangibly contributes to the creation of value both in Switzerland and abroad.

Focus on Swiss Quality and Chinese Speed
Rapid advances in digital technologies such as artificial intelligence and cryptography are transforming the financial services landscape, which in turn creates opportunities and challenges. Despite this ever-changing environment, swissnex China continues to keep abreast of the latest industry developments, while preparing for the next major event, which will focus on “AI in WealthTech”.

Da HongFei, Founder of NEO, the largest blockchain project in China, explained how digital identity can digitalize assets to automate the management of digital assets using smart contracts aiming to create a “smart economy.” © Chang Liu / swissnex China

How will cryptocurrencies affect different industries and shape the world in the future? What is the role of blockchains’ revolutionary technology in shaping Fintech? These are some of the issues that were addressed at the first event in the “Future of Money” series that swissnex China launched in November 2017, with a great panel of Swiss and Chinese blockchain and fintech experts.

Staying on the Cutting Edge
A rapid increase in digitalization is accelerating fintech and is forcing the finance and banking sector to innovate, especially as a response to the 2008 financial crisis. Fintech is enabling transactions that are smaller, higher-frequency, and more diversified. Switzerland has developed cutting-edge solutions and has much to offer in this field.

New Core Technology
Blockchain (the technology underlying Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies) is gaining momentum and grabbing attention as a core technology for executing transactions on networks, as it allows internet users to transfer items of digital property to each other. Blockchain ensures that the transfer is safe and secure. Because the blockchain is transparent, all users know whether the transfer has taken place and it is impossible to fake or imitate the legitimacy of the transfer.

Huge Potentials
The importance of constructing distributed financial platforms with blockchain technology is growing. However, developments around blockchain in fintech are still at an early stage and progress may unlock many potential solutions. Many academics and experts have already identified the emergence of the trend, and they are currently analyzing the opportunities and challenges that these digital platforms, cutting-edge technologies, and new business models have brought to the financial sector, where Switzerland is traditionally strong.

Testing the Waters
swissnex China has set itself the goal of highlighting the strength of Swiss fintech, which benefits from Switzerland’s leadership in innovation, and with crypto valley Zug on the rise in the blockchain scene has garnered interest around the world, including in China. In fact, in November 2017, swissnex China successfully launched its first “Future of Money” series’ event on “Blockchain in fintech”, with an exceptional panel of Swiss and Chinese blockchain and fintech experts. The topics that were discussed in Shanghai and Hong Kong included the revolutionary technology of blockchain in fintech and the future outlook of how cryptocurrencies and distributed ledgers have the potential to disrupt certain industries and shape the world of tomorrow.

Connecting the Dots
The Swiss expert panelists included Dr. Thomas Bocek, Head of P2P and distributed systems at the University of Zurich and Manuel Stagars, who made the documentary “Blockchain and Us.” Mr. Bocek gave the audience a taste of the technological background to peer-to-peer and distributed systems, including bitcoin and blockchain. Mr. Stagars, building on the knowledge acquired thanks to his documentary and his many interviews with key industry players in Switzerland, shared interesting insights into the Swiss fintech landscape and its opportunities and challenges for blockchain technology. The panel was moderated by the fintech expert Zennon Kapron, Director of Kapron ASIA, a leading provider of financial industry market research and consulting.

In addition to those mentioned above, seven more blockchain experts joined the panel: Da HongFei, Founder of NEO, the largest blockchain project in China, explained how digital identity can digitalize assets to automate the management of digital assets using smart contracts aiming to create a “smart economy.” From Hong Kong, we welcomed Arthur Hayes, CEO of BitMEX, a P2P crypto-products trading platform, who presented the next generation of bitcoin derivatives. We were also joined by Ms. Qijun Wang, a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of crypto asset management start-up Queschain, providing a much-needed voice for women in the industry. Finally, we welcomed Mr. Rong Chen, co-founder of Elastos Foundation, who works on a smart-web powered by blockchain, and Mr. Jason Inch who discussed his most recent book “China 4.0” and his latest blockchain project, Genaro, with us.

Curious Audience
Many interesting issues were discussed during the two events: is blockchain technology a game changer? Which industries will blockchain influence in particular? Is Switzerland going to play a key role in this fintech industry? How long does it take for mass adoption? What are the opportunities and threats of blockchain technology? The conclusion was that blockchain technology is only the beginning of a revolution which will have the power to change our everyday lives.

Success story: China’s start-up and blockchain giant NEO, which was a main event partner, is currently exploring ways to set up an entity in Switzerland as a result of this event. Meanwhile, NEO has invested several million dollars in two Swiss start-ups, PikcioChain and Valid. This is a clear example of how swissnex China tangibly contributes to the creation of value both in Switzerland and abroad.

Focus on Swiss Quality and Chinese Speed
Rapid advances in digital technologies such as artificial intelligence and cryptography are transforming the financial services landscape, which in turn creates opportunities and challenges. Despite this ever-changing environment, swissnex China continues to keep abreast of the latest industry developments, while preparing for the next major event, which will focus on “AI in WealthTech”.

Broadening Horizons – digitalization and beyond
Connecting the world in game development at the BIG Festival
swissnex Brazil

Presentation night for Swiss and Brazilian start-ups from the game-design and immersive technologies spaces. © Lunaé Basile Parracho

The “Gaming for all” event involved students, Swiss and Brazilian professionals in a series of workshops, developers’ meetings and roundtables at the Anhembi Morumbi University. © Lunaé Basile Parracho

Q&A session with Swiss and Brazilian developers and students in the sector from the Anhembi Morumbi University. © Lunaé Basile Parracho

The Brazilian Independent Games Festival (BIG Festival) revealed affinities and opportunities for cooperation between Swiss and Brazilian developers. swissnex Brazil, in collaboration with Pro Helvetia and Abragames (Brazilian Game Association) brought the first #SwissGames delegation to the festival in São Paulo. In addition to participating in the BIG Festival, swissnex promoted various activities in collaboration with leading local organizations.

Switzerland was the country invited to this edition of BIG, the third largest festival of indie-games in the world and the entry point for the South American games market. This invitation pushed Swiss game developers to think beyond their traditional markets. Struckd is one such company that has enjoyed enormous growth in Switzerland. Most downloads come from Brazil, but the company had never considered launching games in the country before. Struckd and its platform for the creation and sharing of games are an example of the affinities between and opportunities for the Swiss and Brazilian markets.

The Brazilian games market is the fourth largest in the world after the USA, Japan and China, with significant growth forecasts, mainly due to the mobile phone games market. swissnex Brazil brought the first #SwissGames delegation to São Paulo as developers of electronic games and specialists in  virtual reality to leverage business, become acquainted with the Brazilian ecosystem and present its own work. In addition, swissnex promoted various activities in collaboration with leading local organizations.

“Gaming for All” is an international cooperation initiative between Switzerland and Brazil to promote the games industry. A series of workshops, developers’ meetings and roundtables took place in partnership with the Anhembi Morumbi University, which has the oldest and largest games design course in Brazil. The following night, the “Swiss-Brazilian Pitching Night”, which presented Brazilian and Swiss projects in an entertaining way, was hosted at the São Paulo Google Campus.

While some events were more technical and intended for developers, the Festival was filled with gamers who had the opportunity to listen to Salar Shahna, a member of the Swiss delegation and CEO of the Global Virtual Reality Forum. He mentioned Swiss success stories in the virtual reality space like Birdly, a flight and VR-simulator, which landed at the swissnex Rio de Janeiro office.

The combination of highly qualified professionals coupled with a growing consumer market led the Swiss Delegation to realize that rather than “game over”, the game of building partnerships and exploiting market opportunities has in fact only just started.

Connecting
The ICRC Collaborative Platform at swissnex Boston
swissnex Boston

Ban Ki-moon, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, at the ICRC Collaborative Platform launch. © Dave Green

The ICRC Collaborative Platform was launched at the Novartis Cambridge. © Dave Green

Live performance of “Disorder 3D”. © swissnex Boston

The ICRC Collaborative Platform (International Committee of the Red Cross, ICRC CP) at swissnex Boston leverages new technologies and innovative thinking to expand upon traditional humanitarian methods and approaches. It was launched on May 8 at an event with Keynote Speaker Ban Ki-moon, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, and continued on May 2017 with presentations and podium discussions. Martin Dahinden, Ambassador of Switzerland to the US, was also in attendance. Key issues included: how does this role shift impact on the role of universities and their mission of promoting critical thinking, global citizenship, peace and tolerance? How can universities become humanitarians?

Following the ICRC CP launch event was the presentation of “Higher Education in Emergencies,” on May 9. Access to education among refugees and other displaced populations has been identified by the ICRC as a “silently growing crisis.” As a result, some universities are now joining traditional humanitarian actors, such as NGOs, governments, and UN bodies to address the challenge of providing higher education to this population. It’s a new role for universities, representing a shift in the educational landscape. At this event, key players in the humanitarian and educational fields came together for discussions and exploration on this topic.

The Keynote speaker was Barbara Moser-Mercer, Founder and Director of InZone at University of Geneva. InZone, currently with projects in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe, pioneers innovative approaches to multilingual communication and higher education in communities affected by conflict and crisis. Specifically, InZone’s work focuses on designing, developing and scientifically validating learner-centered and technology-supported pedagogical models.

The panel explored the impact of the role of universities and their mission of promoting critical thinking, global citizenship, peace and tolerance, and attempted to answer the question, “How can universities become humanitarians?”

Inspiring and exchanging knowledge
VR Villa Reveals the Next Chapter in the Evolution of Virtual Reality
swissnex China

Explore virtual worlds: The VR Villa at Westbund.
© Pro Helvetia Shanghai, Swiss Arts Council, Courtesy of World VR Forum

VR discovered during the professional night. © Pro Helvetia Shanghai, Swiss Arts Council. Courtesy of World VR Forum

On Kids’ Day, children could try out virtual reality for themselves. © Pro Helvetia Shanghai, Swiss Arts Council. Courtesy of World VR Forum

The Intuitive Approach to Flying: Birdly's Full-Body Immersion through VR explained by Max Rheiner, the inventor of Birdly, the ultimate flying machine, and the head of the Master of Arts in Interaction Design in Zürcher Hochschule der Künste (Zurich University of the Arts) ZHdK, at a professional Workshop. © Pro Helvetia Shanghai, Swiss Arts Council. Courtesy of World VR Forum

Discussion with artists on virtual reality. © Pro Helvetia Shanghai, Swiss Arts Council. Courtesy of World VR Forum

swissnex China, together with Pro Helvetia Shanghai and World VR Forum (WVRF), organized an amazing Virtual Reality event at West Bund, Shanghai. During the exhibition, various workshops and lectures as well as a kids’ day were organized by different partners.

From 1 – 15 Oct.2017, swissnex China, together with Pro Helvetia Shanghai and World VR Forum (WVRF), organized a Virtual Reality (VR) event at West Bund, Shanghai. WVRF takes VR out of the technology scene and shows its power as an accessible and quality entertainment media. The well-curated show brings world-class works of art to the daily lives of Shanghainese.

The media preview and grand opening of this event was held on September 30. It was an honor to invite Chinese media, VR players and featured artists to join this incredible ceremony. During the exhibition, various workshops and lectures as well as a kids’ day were organized by different partners, which were very well received by the participants.

Inspiring and exchanging knowledge
Fintech: Broadening horizons in digital platforms in the financial services sector
swissnex Brazil

Audience at the FinPinTech meeting at swissnex Brazil in São Paulo. © swissnex Brazil

In 2017, swissnex Brazil connected entrepreneurs, start-ups, financial market organizations, educational institutions and investors at various events to broaden horizons on the fintech scene, identifying connection opportunities between Switzerland and Brazil. With a modern office in São Paulo, swissnex has hosted two editions of “FinPinTech”, a meeting organized in partnership with the Swiss Business Hub and supported by FintechLab.

Talented minds and innovative solutions bring together technology and financial services in the extremely dynamic fintech sector. Crypto-currencies, bitcoin, blockchain, ICOs and open banking are familiar terms in Switzerland, which is the reference market in the sector.

Many financial institutions and banking operations in the country are located in São Paulo, which is a growing fintech hub. swissnex Brazil hosted two editions of “FinPinTech”. As the name of the event suggests, the presentations and exchanges of ideas are offered over some chilled beers. At one of the editions, a round table with leading sector representatives hosted Marc Lussy, a partner of IBO (Investment By Objectives) and mentor of F10 (fintech accelerator of the Zurich stock market) and Thomas Puschmann from the University of Zurich and director of the Swiss Fintech Innovation Lab.

Taking advantage of our privileged access to Silicon Valley through our colleagues at swissnex San Francisco, the #FS17 event: Rethinking Financial Services was livestreamed from San Francisco to São Paulo. The content was made relevant to the Brazilian audience by Bruno Diniz, director of the ABStartups Fintech Committee, who moderated the event in São Paulo.

Promoting visibility
Mapping Graphic Design History in Switzerland
swissnex Boston

“Mapping Graphic Design History in Switzerland,” front and back cover. © Triest Verlag

Robert Lzicar and Davide Fornari present at Yale University School of Art.
© swissnex Boston

Audience in Boston. © swissnex Boston

Graphic design is embedded into Swiss history and culture: it is therefore no coincidence that Swiss design schools are top of their field globally, producing first-rate design professionals and conducting compelling, dynamic research. swissnex Boston and swissnex in New York set up a multi-stop book tour at top U.S. design centers in order to promote Davide Fornari and Robert Lzicar’s “Mapping Graphic Design History in Switzerland”. They also used this opportunity to present the research project “Swiss Graphic Design and Typography Revisited”, which is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).

When design researchers Davide Fornari (Head of Applied Research and Development, University of art and design Lausanne ECAL) and Robert Lzicar (Professor and researcher, MA Communication Design, HKB Bern University of the Arts) published their book “Mapping Graphic Design History in Switzerland” with Triest Verlag, it received accolades from the design community, and was hailed as establishing a baseline for the study of graphic design in Switzerland and beyond.

“The publication discusses theoretical and methodological approaches for historical research on graphic design, helps establish graphic design history as an academic field in Switzerland, and makes this discourse accessible to researchers and professional graphic designers in Switzerland and abroad.”
– Triest Verlag

The book features eleven selected essays on the mediation and perception of graphic design artifacts and processes by authors from the German, French, and Italian-speaking areas of Switzerland.

swissnex Boston and swissnex in New York set up a multi-stop book tour at top design centers in the U.S. The tour, which took place from 13 – 16 February 2017, included stops at the Chicago Design Museum, Yale University School of Art, the Cooper Union in New York City, and swissnex Boston, all of which included panels or discussions featuring Davide and Robert and design scholars local to the area, from institutions including Parsons the New School, UIC Chicago and Rhode Island School of Design RISD, to name just a few.

These book presentations offered a chance to present the research project “Swiss Graphic Design and Typography Revisited” to a wide audience of design educators, academic scholars and designers. This project is the first ever of its kind supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), through their Sinergia initiative, in which researchers from seven Swiss universities investigate the role and status of Swiss graphic design from today’s perspective.

Promoting visibility
Venture Leaders 2017
swissnex China

The Venture Leaders opening talk offered the chance for discussions and networking. © swissnex China

Reception at the Swiss Embassy: The Venture Leaders receive a warm welcome in Beijing. © swissnex China

Investor pitching event in Shanghai: A selected group of venture capitalists, angel funds and entrepreneurs were invited to the Swiss start-up pitching event on the Bund. © swissnex China

The Swiss start-up team at the WEF Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Dalian. © swissnex China

End of the intensive ten-day coaching and business development trip: Hong Kong wrap-up pitching event. © swissnex China

Venture Leaders landed in China with ten ambitious and gifted start-up entrepreneurs. During the intensive ten-day coaching and business development trip, the Venture Leaders team accepted a unique opportunity to gain higher visibility at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting of the New Champions organized in Dalian China, offering exposure to CEOs and government officials. The start-ups were afforded the chance to gain access to and acquire insight into one of the world’s fastest-growing markets.

It was the 4th edition of Venture leaders in China: started in 2014, this program is successfully helping Swiss start-ups to discover the potential offered by China’s innovation scene and market. While China is not always the first destination for Swiss start-ups, which might be frightened by the size of its market and which may look elsewhere for innovation partnerships, swissnex China is convinced that there is a huge potential to be explored in this field and that many opportunities are available for Swiss innovation stakeholders.

The Venture Leaders China trip visited the most dynamic and innovative cities: Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, before a final wrap-up in Hong Kong. The Venture Leaders program in China aims to offer an efficient, eye-opening opportunity for Swiss start-ups to access local intelligence, networking opportunities and a soft-landing space at swissnex China.

Promoting visibility

Facts & Figures

Activities

More than 350 Events

More than 120 Swiss partners

Network

70.15 employees (FTE)

29 locations

Costs of Swissnex Network

The overall costs in 2017 amounted to CHF 12.64m and covered all expenses of the entire swissnex Network, including the swissnex locations, the Science Counselors and Offices and related project expenses at the swissnex Headquarters, housed within the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI). These expenses are either funded by SERI, or by public or private partners. The overall costs include all expenses such as for operations, salaries, infrastructure, IT and projects, including in-kind services. The salary costs of the 11 (mostly part-time) Science Counselors are funded by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs employs and are not included here.

Funding of Swissnex locations

In 2017, the total costs of the five swissnex locations and their outposts amount to CHF 10.02m. SERI provided the swissnex locations with a funding of CHF 5.78m. In addition, public and private partners supported and co-funded the swissnex activities with CHF 4.24m.

Science Counselors / Offices

Partners in Switzerland