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The influence of a high degree of academic internationalization on the national innovation performance. A case study of the Academia-Industry Training.

The landscape of Higher Education has gone through significant changes over the past decades. Today, Swiss universities are among the most internationalized globally, with ETH Zurich ranking on top, followed by EPFL Lausanne (Times Higher Ed. Ranking). At the same time, Switzerland is one of the most competitive and innovative countries – raising the question how the internationalization strategy can maintain the cutting-edge position in in terms of innovation performance.

The session will give a brief overview of the Swiss Higher Education landscape, focusing on innovation and the entrepreneurial ecosystem. In particular, we will explore the importance of internationalization for early and mid-stage academic startups, highlighting some examples of so-called Born Globals.
To begin with, the internationalization strategy of the Swiss Confederation will be introduced. swissnex Brazil, as a representative of the federal internationalization initiatives, will present its field of activities as a facilitator between Swiss and Brazilian HEIs and other institutions.
The core part of the presentation will present one of Switzerland’s leading tools for the internationalization of academic entrepreneurs: the Academia-Industry Training (AIT). The program was launched in 2014, aiming at the transformation of research into market innovations. The program is of particular relevance for the audience of FAUBAI, since Brazil is one of the two partner countries (next to India), where this training camp for PhDs is run. The AIT brings together world-class researchers from Brazil, India and Switzerland, inspiring the spirit of internationalization as these researchers explore and learn tools to bring their research to market with a view to bridge the gap between Academia and Industry.

Outcome: Participants of this session will learn about the connection of a highly internationalized academic landscape with the performance in innovation at large. The focus on an innovative tool for internationalization will show a concrete example of how scientists can be strategically incentivized to become internationally-minded entrepreneurs, launching their innovation in ever more globalizing market. Last but no least, this session presents the Swiss Academic landscape in general and it showcases Swiss HEIs as potential partners for universities of Latin America and the world.


Sebastian Zumbühl    
swissnex Brazil


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