Innosuisse – the Swiss Innovation Agency – will be replacing the current Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI) from early 2018 onwards. The agency will continue to pursue the core task of promoting science-based innovation in the interests of the economy and society in Switzerland, presided over by western Swiss entrepreneur André Kudelski.
Switzerland is currently at a groundbreaking point in time in which innovation plays a key role. “Innovation is the new source of prosperity for our country”, says Kudelski, chairman of the Innosuisse Board. He believes that, in the age of digitalisation, the key to economic success is a combination of expertise, experience, research and development.
Converting to Innosuisse – a corporation under public law – will allow CTI to fulfil its role and duties as the federal promotion agency for innovation even more effectively in an increasingly dynamic economic environment. Through targeted funding, Innosuisse wants to help create more jobs in Switzerland that add greater and more sustainable value. The focus here will particularly be on the protection of intellectual property and new business models, which are just as crucial to success as innovative technologies.
By 2020, Innosuisse will have around CHF 1 billion in funding available.
Four bodies and their responsibilities
The Innosuisse Board is the strategic body heading the new organisation. Seven expert representatives from industry and academia are responsible for managing Innosuisse in line with the Federal Council’s objectives and with an eye on the future. The core task of the Innovation Council, Innosuisse’s specialist body, is to make decisions about funding applications. It comprises 20 people from industry and academia who have an excellent track record in innovation. Five of the Council members are from the CTI, ensuring continuity with previous funding activities. Experts support the Innovation Council in assessing applications and supporting project work. The operational body of Innosuisse is the Secretariat under the leadership of the management team with Annalise Eggimann as Executive Director. The auditing body is the Swiss Federal Audit Office SFAO.
A broad range of instruments
Innosuisse’s funding instruments will remain the same in principle, with its funding of innovation projects being the most important financial instrument. Partners from the worlds of industry and research join forces to implement clearly defined innovation projects; Innosuisse will assume half of the project costs, covering the salaries of the researchers involved in the project and the companies will in turn contribute 50 per cent of the costs. Innosuisse innovation mentors are available free of charge in all regions of Switzerland so that companies can find the right research partners and work with them to draw up an application.
New businesses can also take advantage of professional start-up coaching and Innosuisse offers a set of courses and training modules for those looking to found a business. Innosuisse will no longer assign a coach to the start-ups it supports, but rather give the companies vouchers so that they can select their own desired partners from a pool of accredited coaches.
Advisory services for international innovation projects and opportunities to network round off Innosuisse’s portfolio.
Facts and figures about CTI as we know it
In 2016, CTI put some CHF 226 million into innovation. The majority of these funds (around CHF 187 million) went towards supporting 539 research and development projects, which will be continued as innovation projects under Innosuisse. The coaching programme has around 200 start-ups and 14 innovation mentors are currently working for the SMEs. Funds amounting to CHF 950 million have been lined up by CTI/Innosuisse for the funding period of 2017 up to and including 2020.
You can find more information at www.innosuisse.ch.
The seven-member Innosuisse Board is headed up by entrepreneur André Kudelski. Creating jobs that contribute to sustainable added value is to be the main focus of Innosuisse’s innovation funding.
Supporting start-ups will also be one of Innosuisse’s main promotional activities. New company Get your Guide received start-up coaching between 2010 and 2013 and is now the world’s largest online platform for booking free-time activities.
Working with the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland, AOT AG implemented an innovation project and developed the surgery robot Carlo. The project was co-financed by CTI.