New Delhi- The 8th annual India Sweden Innovation Day 2021 concluded successfully. The one-day virtual event was organized in association with the Embassy of India to Sweden and Latvia, Sweden-India Business Council (SIBC), and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). The seminar was a massive success as it was attended by over 1300 participants from across the world. The main highlight of the event was the implementation of the partnership of Vinnova, Sweden’s Innovation Agency, the Indian Department of Science and Technology as well as The Department of Biotechnology.
The stakeholders of both nations agreed to invite the call for proposals that cover the important areas within a circular economy, such as health, social issues, and societal challenges which are crucial areas to create a circular economy. The seminar also made a new call for action where central actors were gathered for Indo-Swedish cooperation. This joint call targeted Swedish and Indian actors to carry out joint research and innovation projects. By joining hands, the actors came in to support full value-chain research and innovation projects.
The keynote speakers during the inauguration included Tanmaya Lal, India’s Ambassador to Sweden, Ms. Darja Isaksson, Director General of Vinnova, Dr. Jitendra Singh, Indian Minister for Science and Technology, Ibrahim Baylan, Swedish Minister for Enterprise and Innovation, and Klas Molin, Sweden’s Ambassador to India. Other eminent speakers at the event mentioned the upcoming Indo-Swedish call for proposals within Circular Economy- a funding opportunity supporting the transformation of a sustainable future.
The participating agencies on the Swedish side were Formas (the Swedish research council for sustainable development), Forte (the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare), the Swedish Research Council, the Swedish Energy Agency, and Vinnova (Sweden’s Innovation Agency). On the Indian side, the participating Departments were the Department of Science and Technology and the Department of Biotechnology.
Pressing on the importance of circular economy Ms. Darja Isaksson, Director General of Vinnova said- “Our upcoming Indo-Swedish call which is planned to open early next year, will focus on circular economy. The circular economy is essential to a sustainable society. Reuse, recycling, and remanufacturing are needed for long-term use of materials and other resources. This reduces waste and limits excess extraction of natural resources. Transformation to the circular economy is a global challenge because value chains are global. A shift from linear to the circular economy also means a shift from value chains to value cycles. A complex process for society, which requires changes in almost all sectors. Applications contributing to sustainable development and projects where the efforts of the partners complement each other in achieving a common goal will be favoured in the evaluation process”.
The nations also agreed to fund the joint innovation projects within AI, Health, Clean Tech, Smart Cities, and Safe Mobility. Several sustainable future projects to receive funding in the coming weeks.
Commenting on strengthening the ties between the two nations, Tanmaya Lal, Ambassador of India to Sweden and Latvia said, ” Accelerating an inclusive green transition is a key to our collective sustainable future. Collaborations for innovative solutions for clean technologies, smart grids and circular economy are at the heart of India Sweden partnership.”
The one-day virtual event also recognised the significance of the various aspects of climate change and both nations laid concrete steps to accelerate the process of green transition by implementing the usage of advanced digital technology and Artificial Intelligence. Furthermore, both nations spoke at great length and came up with climate-friendly solutions by using the power of technology. The summit also focussed on enabling strong economic growth and combating the after-effects of the pandemic.
Martin Lundstedt, CEO, Volvo Group, said, “We need to find a sustainable roadmap which is environmentally, socially, ethically, and financially viable. Not to undermine its applicability aspect concerning different parts of the world. Besides, transport, logistics, and infrastructure, also play a crucial role in the successful implementation of the plan. We know that there lies a close connection between these elements of a developing society with its GDP, per capita, and economic growth. However, our aim is to bring forth sustainable solutions to development challenges, including increased transport and infrastructural logistics. But the good news is the common agenda and focus which India and Sweden share as both nations are working to drive sustainable innovations. Volvo is a proud partner among others to accelerate the green transition, bringing clean-energy technology solutions to the world. The time is right as we have the required resources, opportunities, and innovation power. VOLVO is putting all these together along with the biggest sight of R&D, IT and quality, and full value supply chain. So in this area, we are already doing a lot together with India and looking forward to more.”
Commenting on making climate ambition a reality Amit Chadha, MD, L&T Technology Services said, “We like level playing field between citizens, government and corporations from corp 26. To make climate ambition a reality what we need is concrete government policies to create common guidelines, citizens being more responsible towards the environment. As far as the industry goes, we are working tirelessly to make UN Sustainable Development Goals a reality. We can start off with good health and well-being to clean water and sanitization to affordable clean energy to industry innovation infrastructure to provide sustainable cities, responsible consumption, and climate action. At LTTS, we have invested in battery charging infrastructure and technology labs in India and in Illinois for onboard and offboard charging capabilities for people to do proof of concepts. We have launched a hybrid vehicle of our own by bringing all battery and cooling technology together. We have also built sensor labs providing alternatives for lower energy consumption. We have launched energy management tools for plants as well as commercial buildings and are working towards models for sustainable cities.”
The CII President, TV Narendran, said, “The climate financial journey will be expensive. The government, the industry, and the customers will have to pay for it to ensure the transition takes place well. The heart of the Indo-Swedish partnership lies in innovation and technology and the good news is that there are steps taken towards innovation. We are now focusing on the ecosystem that can provide funding for it. There is a lot of capital out there in the world in the form of start-ups in Sweden. India is now home to the third-largest number of Unicorns in the world after China and the US, our task now is to leverage that innovation to solve these problems to scale up the finances. There are certain areas that we need to work on in terms of storage solutions for renewable energy. We need a smooth storage transition from coal base grid to renewable base grid and therefore we need a lot of money to ensure a sustainable storage system. We also need to build on hydrogen green infrastructure and scale it up as well. Fortunately, we have good ideas from start-ups in the pipeline and hope it makes the transition as smooth as possible.”
Ludwig Lindstorm, Sweden Business Developer, Swedish Energy Agency, said, “The main task which lies ahead of us includes policy development and implementation, advisory services, statistics, financial support, and research. We support a lot of start-up companies. Through clean climate innovations, we have been able to bring down the Swedish greenhouse gas emissions significantly. Today, Sweden accounts for one-tenth of greenhouse emissions. This has boosted our confidence, and now we plan to introduce a similar action plan in markets like India. India-Sweden is mainly focused on introducing such sustainable strategies in India through business collaborations and exchange between government agencies.”
Robin Sukhia, Sweden-India Business Council’s President and Secretary General added, “This 8th edition of India Sweden Innovation Day was truly a remarkable event where both nations came together to accelerate the green transition. It both strengthens and builds trust between the two countries.”
The India Sweden Business Leaders’ Roundtable (ISBLRT) is an overarching joint top leadership group supporting innovations and collaborations between India and Sweden. This year the summit provided an opportunity to discuss the international situation and response to the Covid-19 pandemic as well as regional and global issues of mutual importance including climate action, sustainable development, gender equality, and economic growth.