Fostering Stronger Ties: Netherlands-Switzerland Collaboration in Life Sciences & Health


In March, a delegation from Health~Holland embarked on a work visit to Switzerland, engaging with key stakeholders over several days of fruitful discussions and sharing lessons learned. The primary focus was on enhancing collaboration to bolster the Life Sciences & Health sectors of both nations which ultimately benefit patients. Among the notable organizations visited were the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Switzerland, Innosuisse and Novartis. Discovering that Switzerland is the number one innovation country in the world, we wondered: What lessons can we learn from their success?  

It was an enriching experience as we had the honor to visit the residency of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Switzerland. Ambassador Karin Mössenlechner, Deputy Ambassador Rick Slettenhaar and their colleagues warmly welcomed us and emphasized the importance of strengthening ties, particularly in the field of entrepreneurship, sustainability, and innovation. Hereby highlighting the Embassy's facilitating role in assisting Dutch companies and institutions to seize economic opportunities in Switzerland. 

Innovation Mission 

The collaboration between the two countries already boasts exciting initiatives. For example, Health~Holland contributes to the Innovation Mission to Switzerland which currently takes place (21-25 April). During this mission, we bring together experts from both Life Sciences & Health ecosystems to connect on innovative therapies development and manufacturing, with particular focus on cell- and gene therapies. The mission also seeks to explore opportunities for accelerating the development, production, and accessibility of novel therapies, ensuring they reach patients more swiftly and affordably. For more information, please visit our events page


Additionally, efforts will be directed towards promoting the EUREKA CH-NL Call: Cell and Gene Therapy Towards Clinical Practice. This open call aims to promote knowledge sharing and allows for rapid technological advances in gene and cell therapy and new approaches in stakeholder engagement. Therefor the primary focus of this call is on stimulating public-private partnerships in translational research and clinical development of cell and gene therapies. Moreover, the emphasis is on making these therapies not only clinically effective but also sustainable and affordable. Recognizing the industry-wide challenge of reducing regulatory obstacles, the goal is to expedite the process of cell and gene therapy development, ensuring faster, sustainable, and cost-effective therapies reach the market. Interested? Please visit our funding opportunities for more information. 

'Switzerland offers many opportunities for the Dutch Life Sciences & Health sector, and Health~Holland is an indispensable partner for our embassy to capitalize on those opportunities - whether it concerns exchanges or research collaboration, innovation partnerships or mutual investments.'

'We were therefore pleased to receive Health~Holland colleagues in Switzerland to get to know each other better and to discuss our mutual activities. Many thanks for your visit, and we look forward to our collaboration in the coming years!' – Rick Slettenhaar, Deputy Ambassador at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Switzerland. 

Bridging Academia and Market for Swiss Innovation 

Moreover, we had the opportunity to visit Innosuisse. This is a Swiss Innovation Agency which fulfills the crucial role of promoting science-based innovation for the benefit of Switzerland's economy and society. During our visit we had engaging discussions with Innosuisse, while highlighting their support for fostering partnerships between academia and the market through various avenues. Such as innovation projects, networking opportunities, and comprehensive training and coaching programs. These initiatives serve as a catalyst for the development of groundbreaking start-ups, innovative products, and services by SMEs, contributing to Switzerland's innovation ecosystem. 


If you're embarking on an innovation journey or seeking support for your start-up in Switzerland, we recommend checking out the Innosuisse Guide. This comprehensive resource is your roadmap to finding the perfect support for your innovation project or start-up. Dive in and explore the possibilities

'We were very pleased to receive Health~Holland colleagues in Bern and to meet personally. It was insightful to learn about their activities and give them insight into Innosuisse funding instruments. We are looking forward to a fruitful collaboration in the 2024 call!' - Colette John-Grant, Program Manager Eureka, Innosuisse. 

Valuable Insights 

A visit to Novartis provided valuable insights into the complex journey of drug development and the future of healthcare. Discussions at Novartis delved into fundamental questions such as: How are new medicines made? Why do diseases arise? What will healthcare look like in the future? The Novartis Pavilion offered an interactive experience as we wandered through a museum of pharmaceutical history, while emphasizing the significance of public-private partnerships in advancing healthcare. 

'Novartis was very pleased to receive the Health~Holland delegation and show them around our campus. In a nutshell, we went back to the core of innovation and how important research and development is. Public-private partnerships are essential, and we look forward to working together for better healthcare in the future.' - Amela Halilovic, Public Affairs Manager, Novartis. 



We have had a wonderful time in Switzerland and felt very welcomed by all organizations. We want to express a heartfelt thank you and we are looking forward to fostering these connections and driving impactful advancements together! 

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