An exemple of Big Data’s impact on your holiday

Recommended by Mark Engler (swiss Embassy in Australia)

The potential of Big Data is not only used by public institutions. The private sector has a growing interest in the exploitation of all the Data they gather during their daily activities.  This article illustrates how airlines companies usethe information you provide to optimise their prices. What if the price paid by the person next to you was lower because you live in a wealthy inner city neighbourhood and they live in a cheaper suburb? Or maybe you paid more for the flight because the airline knows from your booking history that you fly the same route at the same time every year to visit family overseas?   If you want to learn the answers, read the article here.




Open Government Data Projects in Japan

Written by Matthias Frey, Science & Technology Office Tokyo, Embassy of Switzerland in Japan 

When it comes to new technologies, Japan is often at the forefront. Already in the 1960’s the Japanese Government used computers to automate a large amount of paperwork and form-filling: large main frame computers for business were installed. This article describes the development and future trends of big data in Japan and it also touches upon the related topic of “open science”.



Russian Government Supporting International Cooperation in the Big Data Field

written by Andrey Melnikov – Embassy of Switzerland in Russia

Mega-grants are considerable funding provided on a tender basis by the Government of the Russian Federation to offer state support to the scientific research led by world-famous scientists in Russian universities, research institutes and centers. This program was started back in 2010. Very often such grants are awarded to former Russian/Soviet scientists working currently abroad, S. Smirnov for example, and foreign top-notch researchers like Osamu Shimomura and George F. Smoot. One of the program’s goals is to create research laboratories capable of competing with the world leading institutions, thus creating conditions required to improve the professional quality of the faculty and research specialists of Russian institutions and encourage young people to pursue professional development. In 2014-2016 the research carried out in 23 Russian universities will be supported by such mega-grants.

Ural Federal University (URFU)

Ural Federal University (URFU)


Argentina: Future regional leader in Big Data?

written by Dieter Cavalleri, Embassy of Switzerland  in Argentina

Data-driven strategies in the market – The big data and analytics market is growing fast in Argentina. After an education phase in 2013, big data is gaining increasing attention from the industry and the Government, which consider it to be an important opportunity for business and research. buenos aires 1 (more…)

Big Data for the social sciences

Recommended by Sebastien Hug, State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation

The Swiss Foundation for Research in Social Sciences (FORS) published an article on the opportunities and threats of the use of big data in social science. During 2014, FORS held periodic meetings of a working group on big data among interested staff, with the goal of understanding the scope, definition, benefits, impact, and problems concerning big data for the social sciences. This paper summarizes the conclusions of these meetings and reflections. Further, it outlines the ways that FORS will likely use big data in the near future to benefit the research community that it serves, and addresses the extent to which we may modify or expand our services to this effect. You can read the complete article at FORS.


Indian government initiative for Big Data

Written by Indraneel Ghose, Embassy of Switzerland in India

In 2012, the size of the big data analytics market was estimated globally at US$ 8 billion and it was expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 45 per cent to reach US$ 25 billion in 2015. The market for India for the same period was estimated at US$ 200 million, growing at a CAGR of 83% to reach a figure of US$ 1 billion this year. These were the finding of a study commissioned by NASSCOM, the Indian IT industry body in 2012. However, the Indian market touched revenues of US$ 1 billion in 2014 and this is expected to grow to US$ 2.3 billion by the year 2018. Not all of this is export driven as the domestic market, estimated at US$ 163 million in 2014 is expected to grow to US$ 375 million by 2018. Big data analytics accounted for some 29,000 jobs in India in 2014, of which 5000 jobs were focussed on the domestic market. So big data and data analytics presents a big opportunity for IT companies in India and Bangalore is quickly becoming a hub for data science in India, as reported earlier in this blog. However, not all big data and data analytics activity in India is industry driven. The government has been a driving force in creating platforms and large datasets which will require the acquisition and manipulation of massive amounts of data. Some of these are to provide identification documents to citizens who would not other-wise have access to them easily, or to provide e-governance platforms which would simplify contacts with governmental agencies. Some of these initiatives are described below.


Digital India is an initiative of Government of India to integrate the government departments and the people of India. It aims at ensuring the government services are made available to citizens electronically by reducing paperwork. source:


Early stages for Big Data in Brazil

Written by Gioia Deucher, swissnex Brazil & Daniel Grünenfelder, Embassy of Switzerland in Brazil

Since research about Big Data in Brazil did not yield many results, we decided to interview a university professor (Dr. Geraldo Xexéo, Prof. for Engineering and Computer Science, UFRJ) and several members of the Rio-branch of SERPRO, the biggest government-owned corporation of IT services in Brazil. SERPRO is linked to the Ministry of Finance of Brazil, developing software and services for increased control and transparency about government revenues and spending.


(more…) Conference 2015

Written by Léonard Mouny, State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation

On 1 July 2015, the association held its annual conference in Bern. On this occasion the major actors from the Swiss and international open data scene were present. The conference lasted a whole day and was divided into three parts; it started with keynotes on different aspects of Open Data, followed by workshops dedicated to specific themes and was concluded by a panel debate about the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the Swiss legal framework for Open Data. In this article, the essence of this conference will be summarised.

Source: Slide from Matthias Stürmer Presentation

Source: Slide from Matthias Stürmer Presentation


Korea Takes a Lead in Medical Big Data System

Written by Sunwoo Lee, Science & Technology Office Seoul, Embassy of Switzerland  in South Korea

 South Korea, a world leader in information technology (IT) infrastructure, has been taking big data to the next level over the past years. So far, Korea excelled in engaging big data in service delivery in the public sector, policy making, and building foundations for the future by effectively utilizing its solid IT infrastructure. Of the big data developments yet, one that especially stands out from a global standpoint is the advancement of big data in Korea’s medical system.

Source: MaRSHealthKick

Source: MaRSHealthKick


Bangalore is fast becoming the data science hub of India!

Written by Maitree Dasgupta, swissnex India

The Federal Council of Switzerland recently launched a National Research Programme devoted to the development of Big Data solutions, with a budget of CHF 25 million. We looked at a similar trend arising in India – where Bangalore, the Silicon Valley of India is witnessing the rise of Big Data analytics as a sector in itself. Here’s what Prof. Pulak Ghosh – member of the UN’s Big Data Group and Professor at IIM Bangalore – had to say about the new developments and the future of Big Data in India.

Bangalore, India, Credits:

Bangalore, India, Credits: