Science and Technology

A brief overview of Indo-Swedish Research and Innovation collaboration.

A Memorandum of Understanding on Science and Technology between the governments of India and Sweden was signed 2005. The Swedish Innovation Agency, VINNOVA, was assigned by the Swedish Government to take the lead to operationalise research and innovation collaborations between Swedish and Indian researchers. On the Indian side the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Ministry of Science and Technology, has been the nodal organisation for collaboration.

Since the first Joint Committee meeting, which took place in 2007, eight calls for proposals have been announced.

A program of Cooperation between the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and VINNOVA was signed in 2007. Areas for cooperation are: Medical biotechnology (Infection, Cardiovascular, Metabolic, Cancer); Innovative food; Bio devices and bioengineering; Environmental technology.

The first call was announced jointly by VINNOVA and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology, and dealt with the diagnosis, understanding and treatment of Tuberculosis. Four 3-year projects have been completed. A second call was opened in January 2013 together with the Swedish Research Council and eventually 8 projects were funded. A third call in the health area was opened by VINNOVA and DBT in September 2016. VINNOVA and DST had a call for joint research projects in the field of embedded systems in 2010. Six 3-year projects were funded. A new call in the same field was held in 2015 and four joint proposals were funded.

VINNOVA and the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) had a call for joint research projects in e-Health in 2008 and in this program two 3-year projects were selected for funding selected for funding between 2009-2012.

More information (in Swedish) on VINNOVA’s calls can be found here.

The Swedish research council Formas signed an agreement with DST in February 2013 on a joint research program in Environmental technologies including clean technology & Green Chemistry and Sustainable Science including climate change impacts on health, energy, water, and smart cities.

The Swedish Research Council signed an agreement with DST in January 2013 for a joint research program. The program covers all disciplines within medicine, natural sciences and engineering sciences. A call 2015-2016 was made in the areas of “e-Science for life science” and “Antimicrobial resistance in a one Health perspective”. In addition to DST and the Swedish Research Council, this call was made jointly with the research council Formas and VINNOVA.

The Swedish Polar Research Secretariat and Earth System Science Organisation (Government of India) signed a Letter of Intent for mutual collaboration in polar and ocean research in 2015. Sweden and India have also signed agreements in other areas in which opportunities for research and innovation cooperation are being explored, e.g.

• 2009 Healthcare and Public Health
• 2009 Environment
• 2010 Renewable Energy
• 2015 Sustainable Urban Development

Under the Renewable Energy MoU the Swedish Energy Agency has funded researchers to work on micro grids, where geographical focus is on Andaman Islands. The aim is to replace diesel generators by environmental friendly solar power distributed in micro grids. The work is done in collaboration with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (Government of India).

Under the MoU on Healthcare and Public Health the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, Forte, signed an agreement with the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, represented by the Indian Council of Medical Research, ICMR, in June 2015 for a joint research program in the field of ageing and health. Topics of interest include demographic change and the impact of migration on physical and mental health and well-being of the elderly, forms and systems of care for the elderly, the use of ICT assistive technology and nutrition. The joint call for proposals was opened in September 2016.

Clearly there is scope to expand the Science and Technology cooperation between India and Sweden to new fields with mutual benefit. Both nations face challenges in many areas, for example Energy, Health and Environment – and in these areas there are MoUs in place between India and Sweden opening up for enhanced research and innovation collaboration.

The Swedish Energy Agency has launched the India-Sweden Innovations’ Accelerator, a platform for fast track communication about innovations and the development opportunities they could result in.

We are all aware that the right balance must be struck between basic research, application-oriented research and also giving support to commercialisation of research results. It is reassuring to see that the Indo-Swedish collaboration is developing in to a full-fledged broad based research program were all three research phases are being addressed.

In addition to the formal collaboration programs under the MoU also individual researchers or departments are nurturing contacts and collaborate on a wide range of scientific problems. Approximately 300 joint research articles are published annually.