The 26th edition of DST- CII Technology Summit 2020 virtually organized by the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India, and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) was held from 7th to 9th December with Portugal as the Partner Country. The aim of the Summit was to develop scientific and technological cooperation between India and Portuguese researchers and strengthen the scientific partnership between research groups from each country.
India-Portugal trade crossed $1 billion mark in 2019, and Indian investments in Portugal crossed $350 million.
Union Minister of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences and Health & Family Welfare of India, Dr Harsh Vardhan informed the DST-CII India Portugal Technology Summit 2020 which is a flagship event with Portugal as a partner country, “In India, about 30 vaccines are in different stages of development”. The Science & Technology Minister disclosed that India is among the top ten countries in the world with respect to number of patents filed. Highlighting India’s efforts to fight the challenge of COVID, he said “More than 100 start-ups supported by the Government have provided innovative products and solutions to overcome challenges posed by Covid-19”.
The 26th edition of DST- CII Technology Summit was organized by the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India, and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) the Foundation for Science and Technology of Portugal being the Portuguese institution responsible for coordinating the national participation in this summit, in collaboration with the Innovation Agency, Portugal Space, and the AIR Center.
The Summit is taking place from 7 to 9 December 2020. The event is held online and has high-level participations, including the Ministers of Science of Portugal and India, and brings together representatives of the academy and industry of the two countries, enabling the creation of bilateral partnerships in science and technology, as well as strengthening existing networks.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan inaugurated the summit and the digital exhibition on 7th December 2020. Prof. Manuel Heitor, Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Government of Portugal, was the Guest of Honour at the Summit and addressed the inaugural session.
Dr Harsh Vardhan stated “The Summit is a reflection of the effective partnership between the Government and industry for developing a robust technology ecosystem for the country”. The Minister said, “The next iteration of this collaboration will be to encourage new solutions based on cutting edge technologies such as Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence”. He dwelt on India-Portugal relations in various fields over long years. Dr. Harsh Vardhan expressed the hope that the interactions offer a good opportunity for the participating companies to explore prospects for bilateral investments across sectors such as healthcare, water, agriculture, energy and Information Technologies.
According to the Department of Science and Technology of India it is expected that the summit will achieve:
a) Launch of an ambitious bilateral knowledge and innovation agenda;
b) New Public-Private Partnerships between India and Portugal;
c) Opportunities for fast-tracked market entry for new stakeholders;
d) Market expansion opportunities for existing Indian and Portugal stakeholders;
e) Deepening Indo-Portugal ties in multiple verticals of knowledge economy;
f) Scaling up solutions for societal challenges;
g) Foster Investments and market understanding and penetrations;
h) Collaborative research and Human Resource exchange;
i) Large number of technology tie-ups between Indian Industry and Research Institutions ;
j) Signing of MoUs charting the roadmap for strengthening future collaborations.
The digital conference brought together global innovators, technology leaders, disruptive entrepreneurs, policymakers, industry stalwarts, and eminent academicians from India and partner countries to share their experiences, and virtually everyone directly or indirectly associated with the technology sectors.
“In these summits, DST has facilitated co-creation of knowledge, two-way technology transfer, collaborative R&D projects, and enhanced market access between India and the partner countries, industries, and research institutions,” Professor Sharma said in his virtual message. He pointed out that DST has been the nodal department in steering the India-Portugal joint science and technology partnership. “We are now poised for the development of scientific and technological cooperation between India and Portuguese researchers and strengthen the scientific partnership between research groups from each country. We have received about 450 joint projects against the latest India Portugal joint call demonstrating great interest in the partnership,” Professor Sharma added.
The Ambassador of India to Portugal Ms. K. Nandini Singla said, “The 400-year-old partnership between India & Portugal in shared culture, history & kinship is turning modern with partnerships in science & technology. We have added 20 agreements in the last 4 years in areas like marine research, robotics, waterways, cleantech & more. India-Portugal trade crossed 1Billion$ mark in 2019, and Indian investments in Portugal crossed $350 million. Looking at the COVID vaccine on horizon, our collaboration is all the more important.”
The Ambassador of Portugal to India, Dr. Carlos Pereira Marques, pointed out that Innovation is an absolute priority for India and Portugal, both the countries excel in these areas and, in spite of different dimensions, have achieved high level of excellence, adding that the summit represents a unique opportunity to create strategies and develop innovative projects of collaboration in key areas such as trade, agriculture, healthcare, Industry, and research.”
Prof Helena Pereira, President, Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), Portugal, highlighted that India and Portugal share long historical ties, and now it is being enhanced in Technology. “FCT & DST earlier launched a joint call in research with 2 million Euros budget for different knowledge areas relevant for science & society like biotechnology, energy, climate change, disaster management, marine sciences, and technology. We now engage in several areas and hope for many joint projects soon,” she added. Prof Helena Pereira stated that “The focus areas of the summit are watertech, agritech, healthtech, cleantech, energy, climate change, and IT/ ICT & Emerging Technologies, Innovation & Start-ups, Space-Ocean”.
The conference and digital exhibition covered also tech talks and business sessions in several other technology areas and provided a corridor for showcasing and collaborating unbeatable business and technology solutions of India and the partner countries.
Several other countries like UK, USA, Sweden, Israel, The Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Japan, Canada, Australia, and Singapore have been invited to participate in the Summit.