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Swiss researchers collaborate with British companies

Christopher Hulse (left) talks to delegates attending the British-Swiss conference

Top Swiss researchers have been meeting representatives of British companies in a three-day partnering programme designed to exchange technology know-how.

The event in Zurich and Lausanne provides an opportunity for the British to gain an insight into the latest Swiss developments in micro and nano technologies with a focus on potential applications in the life sciences.

British Ambassador to Switzerland, Christopher Hulse, said international technology transfer and technical collaboration were the key to future economic success.

He said it was an opportunity for many UK companies to establish contact with organisations whose existence they may not even have known about before.

"British companies may find technologies they have been looking for but haven't been able to find up to now, so we are marriage brokers. We hope that this will result in a lot of useful British-Swiss marriages in the commercial field."

From Switzerland's perspective, time was of the essence, said Swiss secretary of state for economic affairs, Dr David Syz.

"We don't have the time to do everything ourselves, we don't even have the people to do everything ourselves so we have to be much more open than we used to if we want to make things happen. The future will be to exchange technology whether at home or abroad."

He said people coming from outside often saw different applications for an idea and this was to the benefit of everybody.

Besides presentations, a series of one-to-one meetings allowed the 150 participants to discuss specific technical needs in confidence.

Companies and researchers are reluctant to discuss what passed between them because it can be commercially confidential but there have been several deals already.

Ken Wittamore, International Technology Promoter for the UK government, said: "There have been at least four research contracts placed in Switzerland as a result of this kind of event and a direct technology transfer to a small British company from a Swiss research organisation."

by Vincent Landon


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