The Netherlands and India: Partners for Affordable Healthcare Innovation

The Netherlands Trade Mission to India 2018 unfurled from 22nd May to 25th May. With over 200 participants, 140 companies/knowledge institutions, 4 cabinet ministers, and Prime Minister Mark Rutte, this was the biggest ever Dutch Trade Mission to India and almost twice the size of previous flagship-mission in 2015.

During the course of the trade mission, Indian and Dutch companies brainstormed, discussed and shared ideas about collaborations in the below-mentioned sectors:    

  • Agribusiness & Horticulture
  • Life Sciences & Healthcare
  • Water Management, Logistics & Maritime
  • High tech & IT and Smart Cities
  • Startups
  • Sustainable Business

The Life Sciences & Healthcare [LSH] sector was represented by Bruno Bruins, Dutch Minister for Healthcare and Sports, alongside above 25 LSH companies/knowledge institutions like Erasmus MC, Royal Phillips, TU Delft, Litevax, Intravacc, University of Maastricht among many others.

Life Sciences and Healthcare is a priority sector for strategic investment in both the Netherlands and India. Growing market opportunities in India, combined with the Netherlands’ strengths in areas such as Therapeutics & Vaccines, Diagnostics, Medtech and E-health create excellent opportunities for partnerships that address shared societal challenges with smart solutions. Making India, a valuable partner for the Dutch Life Science and Health Sector.

In 2016, The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) / the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw) opened a joint-call for project proposals. The topic for the call was, ‘Technology for a Sustainable Healthcare: Minimally invasive techniques.’ The joint call resulted in funding for three Indo-Dutch projects dedicated to developing sustainable healthcare systems.

In addition to these three projects, the Life Sciences and Healthcare session also saw the launch of HIV Cohort the first-of-its-kind Collaborative Research Program on HIV/AIDS. The program is aimed at harnessing complementary research strengths and diverse expertise across the three nations to catalyse the development of better tools to understand and address the burgeoning global epidemic of HIV.

“The Netherlands has always been a strong ally in the fight against HIV and AIDS. When the AIDS epidemic first emerged as a major public health threat, in the 1980s, the Netherlands faced the challenge heads on,” Minister Bruins mentioned in context of the HIV Cohort.

According to Dr. Renu Swarup Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, India was also present during the launch of these projects that have the common aim of making healthcare accessible, innovative and affordable. The session and launches also commemorate 10 years of collaboration between the Netherlands and the Department of Biotechnology, India.

The four Indo-Dutch projects that were launched:

A. Smart surgical system Prof Jenny Dankelman & Dr. Prashant Jha
Delft University of Technology and the International School of Biodesign

B. Imaging Needles Prof Srirang Manohar & Prof Manish Arora
University of Twente and Indian Institute of Science

C. Next-generation corneal crosslinking Dr. Tos Berendschot & Dr A. Sinha
Maastricht University and Institute of Biomedical Science

D. India-Netherlands-Sweden- HIV Cohort
International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and Erasmus Medical College