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University of Basel


Swiss and South African organizers and finalists of the Open Innovation Challenge

Innovation Challenge finalists @ SAIS 2017

The Embassy of Switzerland in collaboration with the University of Basel as the leading house (LH) for the Swiss South African Joint Research Programme (SSAJRP) presented at the Innovation Summit from 6-8 September 2017 in Cape Town:

  • Swiss excellence in innovation,  
  • Open Innovation Challenge (OIC) on Social Innovation in Preventative Health for Human Settlements in South Africa which was launched in July 2017,
  • profiles of the nine shortlisted projects of the OIC from South Africa and Switzerland who have been selected by an international peer panel, as well as
  • Swiss Higher Education Institution landscape with brochures and videos of Swiss Universities and Swiss Universities of Applied Sciences.

All nine project who were selected as finalists took part in the South African Innovation Summit 2017 and experienced one week full of activities around innovation in Cape Town (4 - 9 Sept 2017) including:

  • Visits to key institutions;
  • Workshop on doing business in South Africa;
  • Networking event at the Swiss Embassy in South Africa;
  • Participation at a specially hosted World Café; a matchmaking, showcasing and networking event
  • "Future Cities" Ecosystem Tour

Swiss start-ups with State Secretary for Foreign Economic Affairs Ineichen-Fleisch at the Swiss booth

Innovation Summit 2016 in South Africa 

in 2016, Switzerland was the first international partner country of the Innovation summit (SAIS 2016), South Africa’s biggest conference on entrepreneurship and innovation. The Embassy of Switzerland in collaboration with the University of Basel as the leading house (LH) for the Swiss South Africa Joint Research Programme brought six Swiss thought leaders as speakers to South Africa focusing on different and diverse aspects of innovation.

To ensure best impact and synergies, the leading house scheduled the first part of the annual Swiss South African Business Development Programme back to back to the SAIS and invited five Swiss entrepreneurs to join the 3-days Advanced entrepreneurship training with South African start-ups and to showcase their business ideas at the SAIS.

Group picture
Mid term workshop

Mid-term Workshop, 22-23 October 2015, Basel, Switzerland

The SSAJRP mid-term workshop aimed at assessing the progress of joint research work in the first half of phase II and at exploring potential approaches for further improvements. 53 Project investigators and team members of 25 current joint research projects of Phase II attended the midterm workshop and made use of the  excellent chance to meet up with other researchers, the funding agencies SNSF and NRF and key stakeholders from SSAJRP cooperation instruments.
A group session format allowed the participants to introduce each other to their work, discuss critical topics in small groups and formulate recommendations for the next steps for the Swiss South African collaboration.

This event was jointly organised by the University of Basel as the Swiss leading house, the Swiss TPH as the associated leading house and the Swiss Embassy with the support of the implementing agencies, namely the SNF and NRF respectively.

The outcomes of the workshop feed into the design of the new call for proposals.

Swiss-South African Alumni Network Meeting 2015, 21 October, Basel, Switzerland
The Leading House Basel initiated this first Alumni networking event in Switzerland back to back to the SSAJRP Midterm workshop.

Researchers from both countries had the opportunity to meet and connect person to person and tap into the valuable synergies formed through Swiss – South African partnerships and the possibilities that they offer. In addition, project leaders of research projects with other African countries were most welcome to take part and to share their expertise.

Workshop in Nanosciences and Nanotechnology, South Africa
The first Swiss-South African Nano Workshop via the UNESCO Unisa Africa Chair in Nanosciences and Nanotechnology was organised in Stellenbosch in April 2014 with the aim to implement and strengthen the Swiss-South Africa cooperation in the field of nanosciences. Hosted by the Swiss Embassy and the Department of Science and Technology (DST), this two-day workshop brought together Swiss and South African nano experts from various higher education institutions and research centres as well as South African official representatives.

PitchFest, Switzerland
Organised for the first time in 2014, the ‘PitchFest @ Google’ was a major networking opportunity and a great visibility event for the Swiss – South African venture leaders. With more than 75 participants and 32 (10 from South Africa and 22 from Switzerland) presentations, the first edition was a great success.

Alumni Events in South Africa
The 2014 Swiss South African Alumni and Networking event took place in the Swiss Embassy in Pretoria hosted by Swiss Ambassador Christian Meuwly and the National Research Foundation NRF. Key stakeholders from SSAJRP cooperation instruments, networking partners from the science and technology institutions and official interlockers made good use of this opportunity to meet and connect person to person.

Clean and Green Technology Workshop, South Africa
In the second funding period, 2013 – 16, the field of Green and Clean Technologies research has been added to the list of priority research areas. In February 2013 a workshop in Pretoria was offered to Swiss researchers active in the field of Green and Clean technology providing a unique opportunity to meet their potential colleagues from South African research institutes and to jointly prepare a proposal.

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