The Nepalese Scientific Association in Switzerland (NepSAS) is a voluntary organization founded by young Nepali graduates and professionals studying and working in Switzerland. The Association actively promotes science and technology-based startups amongst young people. NepSAS aims to channel the current trend of brain drain into sustainable and prosperous brain gain. To achieve this, the Association offers various mentoring platforms to connect young people with experts who are willing to serve as mentors. One such platform is the Swiss-Nepal Technology Transfer Workshop.
Since 2017, NepSAS has been conducting the annual workshop in Kathmandu to help transform scientific ideas addressing local challenges and opportunities into viable start-ups. Following the success of the previous two workshops, NepSAS is now organizing the third workshop from 29 December 2018 – 3 January 2019 in Kathmandu, hosted by GATE College. The online application is open until 15 December 2018 and is free for applicants. We provide travel grants to support participants residing outside Kathmandu Valley. Fifty participants will be selected to attend the workshop. The participants will be split into different teams who will compete with each other for the first position. The winners will be awarded 2000 USD cash prize. We are committed to achieving 50/50 gender balance and diversity in our workshop, and encourage applications from women and underrepresented communities.
The 4-day workshop will commence with speed dating and orientation on 29 December 2018. On January 2 and 3, there will be brainstorming sessions allowing the teams to improve their ideas and prototypes and shape their business plan. On January 5, the teams will present their final work plan in front of a jury, comprising of experts from both academia and industry. The jury will decide on the winning team based on the impact of their ideas, the originality of innovation and entrepreneurial skills. Past participants have gone on to participate in national and international startup and innovation competitions. The winner of the 2018 workshop, for instance, represented Nepal at the World Innovation Forum and won the competition. They also received 12 lakhs rupees funding from the Embassy of Switzerland in Nepal.
A distinguishing factor of the workshop is the mentoring program, which is envisaged to continue post-workshop to enable the participants to reach their goals. This year we will have Her Excellency Elisabeth von Capeller, Ambassador of Switzerland to Nepal, as one of the mentors. Starting this year, NepSAS is aiming to provide year-long mentoring, co-working space and seed investment to the top workshop ideas. When necessary, the top ideas will also get access to innovation centers at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, the university where Einstein studied. Like last year, the winning idea will represent Nepal in World Innovations Forum.
The workshop includes several keynote speakers from around the world, including Prof. Matthias Peter, professor of cell biology and biochemistry at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and Axel Schultz, CEO of the World Innovations Forum. The workshop will also provide plenty of networking opportunities over lunch and coffee breaks.