Message by Her Excellency Madam Andrea Reichlin, Ambassador of Switzerland

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Good morning distinguished guests and speakers, ladies and gentlemen,

Let me first express congratulations to all present and those connected by video for the successful collaboration of this meaningful R&D. Partnerships such as this contribute meaningfully to science diplomacy and provide impetus for bilateral collaborations.Cross border inputs and processes indeed stimulate innovation performance, as the current example showcases.

Especially in times of a global health crisis and economic recession, Swiss authorities remain convinced that innovation and competitiveness remain key factors for a successful reset. Prioritising innovation and R&D have become even more crucial; with an array of indicators pointing to the causality between innovation and economic growth. From a sample of OECD countries, it is estimated that a 1 percent increase in R&D spending could grow the economy by 0.61 percent. In short: countries with more R&D investment tend to have deeper growth.

There are many ongoing debates about how innovation happens. At the heart of it, R&D activities allow researchers to develop new technologies, techniques and applications. With increased knowledge, people produce better and use fewer resources. LiveLife has walked the talk by translating such processes into reality: with an excellent example of market-oriented

R&D and dynamic knowledge sharing.

As academics and entrepreneurs, you are well aware that R&D spending is on the one hand a question of political priority but also very much depending on private-public partnerships. Figure shows that innovation performance in Malaysia is one of the highest in emerging Asia. Malaysia is ahead of most Southeast Asian countries in terms of the level of R&D intensity achieved. According to the World Bank, Malaysia spends roughly about 1.4% of GDP in R&D expenditure, second highest in Southeast Asia behind Singapore of 1.9%. Moving forward, Malaysia’s focus will be, as I understand, on translational research providing positive impact to local and international communities. I am glad that the collaboration between LiveLife and UTAR has translated this commitment.
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As a Swiss representative, I have to pay special tribute to the private sector-academic cooperation that you have led. Nowadays, more than 70% of R&D investments in Switzerland are engaged by the private sector, whereas the public sector R&D spending focuses on basic research and shoulders higher education cost. Government often funds a university’s share in a joint private sector – university research project. It goes without saying that private sector initiated networking and partnerships at home and internationally are highly encouraged.

To sum up: research and innovation are deeply rooted in Switzerland and originate in dynamic and creative partnerships. For many decades, Switzerland ranks high in innovation, and it leads the Global Innovation Index since 2011 for the tenth consecutive year. To mention just one innovation outcome: Switzerland registers a high number of patents and IPs.

Let me close by congratulating all, the Malaysian UTAR Research team, the local LiveLife team and not forgetting the LiveLife Switzerland’s team. Thank you for taking part and contributing to this meaningful cross border scientific cooperation.