ZHAW becomes Leading House for Indian subcontinent
In spring this year, the ZHAW became the Leading House for bilateral research cooperation between Switzerland and countries in the Indian subcontinent. On behalf of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), the ZHAW will promote collaborative research activities with the major scientific institutions in this region during the funding period 2017-2020.
Since 2008, the Swiss federal government has extended the focus of its international science policy to non-European countries that show significant scientific and technological potential. With currently seven partner regions outside Europe, the government’s goal is to expand and strengthen science policy relations and cooperation. Each region is assigned a Leading House, which is responsible for coordinating the partnership. The ZHAW is now the Leading House for the Indian subcontinent, which comprises India itself and eight other countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Iran, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Indo-Swiss Joint Research Programme (ISJRP)
Collaborative research activities are primarily based on the Indo-Swiss Joint Research Programme (ISJRP), which was established in 2005 and is funded jointly by the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) and the Indian Department of Science and Technology (DST). This programme forms the framework for various forms of cooperative research between Switzerland and India.
SERI decided to choose a university of applied sciences, namely the ZHAW, to be Leading House because universities of applied sciences are known to be strong in application-oriented fields such as start-ups and entrepreneurship, which are very important factors in the cooperation with the Indian subcontinent. The ZHAW School of Management and Law has taken on the role of coordinating the partnership.
Close cooperation with the SNSF
The programme will be headed by the ZHAW, as Leading House, and by the Swiss National Science Foundation, SNSF. “We will work closely with the SNSF”, says Michael Farley, who is coordinating the mandate at the School of Management and Law. The SNSF will take over the coordination of larger projects. “We will organise smaller research projects, primarily in the fields of innovation and start-ups, and we will also focus on facilitating staff mobility and forms of institutional cooperation,” Farley explains..
Through this bilateral research programme, the federal government seeks to strengthen scientific relationships between Switzerland and the Indian subcontinent in research fields that are strategically significant for both parties. Another goal is to foster the international network of Swiss universities and research institutions and to promote their wider recognition abroad.