Indo-Swiss Collaboration in Biotechnology (ISCB)


The Indo-Swiss Collaboration on Biotechnology is a long-standing (over 40 years) agricultural research cooperation between Switzerland and India. It aims to develop products (seed varieties, cultivation techniques) that respond to the needs of India’s smallholder farmers. Currently, four networks of Indian and Swiss institutions are researching on biofertilizer and –irrigation, finger millet, pigeon pea and cassava. A final phase will allow them to finalize their research, and give space to properly document the partnership and develop knowledge products.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
India
Agriculture & food security
Agricultural research
01.11.2017 - 31.10.2019
CHF 970'000
Background

In the context of climate change and the increasing pressure on scarce resources, the Department for Biotechnology (DBT) of the Government of India aims to achieve higher productivity and better quality food while reducing resource inputs through research support to biotechnology programs. Its basic research is aimed at the protection of yield loss due to stress/climate change, and the enhancement of nutritional value.

The Indo-Swiss Collaboration in Biotechnology has supported DBT in this endeavor for more than 40 years. In the design of the new strategy 2017-2020 and the connected portfolio analysis, it was decided to end SDC support to the programme.

Objectives

The overall goal of ISCB is to contribute towards food security through innovative life sciences and biotechnology approaches supporting sustainable and climate resilient agriculture.
Innovative biotechnological products and processes addressing small and marginal farmers’ needs and demands are developed and validated; their dissemination and adoption is promoted through public and private partners, with a strong focus on capacity building at all levels.

Programme objective 2017-2019:
The Partnership comes to a close in an orderly manner, allowing for ongoing work to be completed, products and lessons to be documented and disseminated, and the handover to Indian institutions to be completed.

Target groups

Primary: Indian and Swiss research and development organisations

Secondary: Smallholder farmers, public and private sector product developers

Medium-term outcomes
  1. Priority products and processes (biotech and socio-economic) elaborated in Phase IV are further developed / brought to a meaningful milestone based on the existing plans and priority settings of the four ISCB research networks.
  2. The products of the research networks (publications, conference reports, workshop reports, etc.) are made available to the scientific community, farmer community, policy makers and other stakeholders.
Results

Expected results:  

  • Completed priority products of the four research networks
  • Interactive compendium of products and ISCB timeline
  • International symposium on 45 years ISCB and the future of biotechnological research in India


Results from previous phases:  

  • Research progress and capacities built in four networks on bio-fertilizer and –irrigation, pigeon pea, finger millet and cassava.
  • Socio-economic component was added to the biotechnology driven networks to assess each crop’s production system, market(s) and policy, and where applicable, the aspects relevant for the technology transfer, product development, public acceptance and adoption by end-users.
  • Successfully establishing and building up the Technology Advancement Unit (TAU) in India


Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
Swiss Academic and Research Institution
  • Bern University of Applied Sciences


Coordination with other projects and actors

Polytechnical Institute of Zurich (ETHZ), University of Zurich, University of Basel, FIBL, University of Liège

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF   970'000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF   900'000
Project phases Phase 16 01.11.2017 - 31.10.2019   (Current phase) Phase 15 01.01.2013 - 31.10.2017   (Completed)