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India and Portugal summit explores emerging technologies

The 26th India-Portugal Technology Summit 2020 reflects the effective partnership between the governments and the industry for developing a robust technology ecosystem for the country. The next iteration of this collaboration will be to encourage new solutions based on cutting-edge technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Harsh Vardhan said.

According to a press release, The event was organised by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

Professor Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, DST outlined that over the years, the summit has facilitated the co-creation of knowledge, two-way technology transfers, and collaborative research and development projects. It has enhanced market access between India and the partner country’s industry and research institutes. He said that the science and technology ecosystem has blossomed in India by gradually increasing the focus of its policy regime, an impetus that has been ably supported by the years of economic reforms and landmark initiatives.

Over the past 26 years, DST has been co-organising the Technology Summit in partnership with CII. The summit has immensely benefitted the Indian industry and academic and research institutions by forging collaborations with global partners, including policy-making that has triggered private sector investments in research, development, and technology significantly. Spain, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and Italy have also participated in summits in the past.

The objectives of this summit are to forge partnerships; boost innovation, investment, and trade; and facilitate technology transfers, joint projects, and market access.

The summit aims to achieve:

  • The launch of an ambitious bilateral knowledge and innovation agenda
  • New public-private partnerships between India and Portugal
  • Opportunities to fast-track market entry for new stakeholders
  • Market expansion opportunities for existing Indian and Portugal stakeholders
  • Deepening Indo-Portugal ties in multiple verticals of the knowledge economy
  • Scaling-up solutions for societal challenges
  • Foster Investments and market understanding and penetrations
  • Collaborative research and human resource exchange
  • A large number of technology tie-ups between Indian Industry and Research Institutions
  • The signing of Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs)- charting the roadmap for strengthening future collaborations.

The focus sectors this year are agritech; watertech; health tech; cleantech, energy, climate change; information communication technologies/emerging technologies; innovation and start-ups; space-ocean interactions.

During the event, Dr Harsh Vardhan also announced that in India, there are about 30 COVID-19 vaccines in different stages of development. The country is among the top ten in the world with respect to the number of patents filed.

Two of them are in the most advanced stage of development – COVAXIN developed through ICMR-Bharat Biotech collaboration and COVISHIELD from the Serum Institute of India. They are in the Phase-III clinical trial stage. The Indian Council of Medical Research is involved in their trial executions.

The country is also hosting clinical trials for all the major vaccine contenders. Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, is conducting trials for the vaccine developed by Oxford University. The Minister noted that more than 100 start-ups, supported by the government, have provided innovative products and solutions to overcome challenges posed by COVID-19.


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