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A two-day event osted by the Swiss Embassy and the University of Oxford in June/July 2022, opened each day by the Swiss Ambassador to the UK, Markus Leitner.

On the first day the University hosted a line-up of eminent speakers for a Vaccine Development and Global Health panel, including Professor Sir Andrew Pollard and speakers from Novartis and Lonza. Professor Sir Adrian Hill also gave a memorable keynote dinner speech. The second panel was focused on digital health and how the pandemic has changed the healthcare sector. Speakers on this panel included Professor Niki Trigoni from MPLS, and Gordon Sanghera, the CEO from Oxford Nanopore. Both of these panel sessions were moderated by Professor Chas Bountra (the University’s Pro-Vice Chancellor for Innovation). 

The second day was focused on Cleantech, and included academics from both the UK and Switzerland discussing water quality, and carbon capture and storage. MPLS academics participating included:

  • Professor Mike Kendall
  • Dr Steve Smith
  • Professor Don Porcelli
  • Professor Ian Thompson
  • Professor Wei Huang

It was clear that both nations face similar challenges in water quality in waste water and carbon capture and storage, and that working together we could solve many of these issues. In addition our universities have extensive international expertise that means we can help find solutions beyond our borders. 

Dr Deborah Spencer from the Innovation and Business Partnerships Team worked for six months with the Swiss Business Hub team to curate these events, with the aim of developing stronger links between the two nations. The Swiss Ambassador had announced an upcoming Memorandum of Understanding on Life Sciences that is now sadly delayed due to changes in Government. However, since the events discussions have started with both academia and industry, which is very encouraging. Particular thanks are due to his Excellency Ambassador Marcus Leitner and the Swiss Business Hub team for hosting these events. 

Professor Chas Bountra commented: “Discussions last week to grow and consolidate partnerships between UK and Switzerland were timely, exciting and critically important. Both countries have many of the leading universities in Europe, each with major strengths in innovation and enterprise. Both countries have also invested heavily in life sciences, healthcare and drug discovery, whilst providing corporate headquarters for many large pharmaceutical companies. Recognising the many current global health challenges, it is imperative that both countries work even more closely together to create benefits for patients, societies, industries and economies. We should as a matter of urgency explore the creation of a UK-Switzerland fund for ‘Innovations in healthcare’.” 

Please contact Dr Deborah Spencer for more information.