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Empa underscores its leading role in the exchange of knowledge in the field of Additive Manufacturing (AM). On 25 September, around 150 researchers and industry representatives from Sweden and Switzerland met at the Empa Academy as part of the Swiss-Swedish Innovation Initiative (SWII). The aim of these regular networking events is to bring together representatives of the most innovative companies in both countries with leading researchers in order to further expand bilateral research cooperation.
The SWII meeting took place this year on the topic of "Additive Manufacturing and Lightweight Technologies". At the one-day conference at the Empa Academy—already the second of its kind in Dübendorf after 2013—the close to 150 participants from industry and research were able to inform themselves in more than two dozen lectures about numerous aspects of this future technology and—equally important at these networking conferences—establish valuable contacts with potential partners. Around 30 Swedish companies sent their experts to Empa; a total of more than 180 bilateral discussions took place in the form of a kind of "Science Speed Dating". This year's event was organized jointly by the Swedish innovation agency VINNOVA and Empa as well as the Swedish trade and investment council "Business Sweden" and the Saab Group as partners.
After the event was opened by the Swedish Ambassador Magnus Hartog-Holm and Ambassador Mauro Moruzzi, Head of the International Relations Section in the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERFI), the event quickly got down to business: Researchers from Chalmers University of Technology, Empa and EPFL, heads of development of the Saab Group, Siemens, ABB, Oerlikon AM and RUAG, as well as experts from medium-sized specialist companies reported on various research and development projects and on new products in the field of AM technologies.
Finally, Lars Sommerhäuser, head of Empa's Research Focus Area "Advanced Manufacturing" and program manager of the Strategic Focus Area "Advanced Manufacturing" (SFA-AM) of the ETH Domain, presented opportunities for collaboration with researchers from the ETH Domain. The ETH Domain not only supports research in this field, but also aims to establish a nationwide network of technology transfer centers in order to translate research results from Swiss laboratories into innovative products as fast as possible.
The Swiss-Swedish Innovation Initiative (SWII)
The Swiss-Swedish Innovation Initiative (SWII) is an industrial research and development partnering program aimed at increasing market-oriented research and development projects between Switzerland and Sweden. SWII regularly gathers high-tech Multinational Enterprises (MNEs), Small/Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) and academic institutions of the two countries and issues bilateral calls for research and development project proposals within the EUREKA and Eurostars funding schemes. Currently the 8th Swiss-Swedish Call for Research and Development Project Outlines is up and running; deadline for submission is 30 November 2018.
Since its inception in October 2012, SWII resulted in 34 bilateral research and development projects to a total value of some 43 million Euros as well as almost 1’000 one-to-one meetings carried out onsite at the regular SWII conferences. Altogether, projects included 128 Swiss and Swedish partners, of which 54 were SMEs. The outcome of the first SWII call was a 10-fold increase in Swiss-Swedish bilateral research and development projects with EUREKA / Eurostars funding, making Switzerland and Sweden the two countries within the EUREKA network with the highest number of bilateral projects.