Switzerland Innovation

About

Who we are

For years, Switzerland has been the most innovative country in the world. What makes us so successful?

The key word is education. Swiss schools and universities are among the best in the world and form the foundation of our innovative strength. Yet for our leading education and research to create marketable products and services, our universities must have the best possible links to the economy.

This is where Switzerland Innovation comes in, with six sites nationwide offering universities and companies the opportunity to network. This exchange between science and the economy allows ideas to be developed further – to create products and services that can be marketed successfully. At the same time, working together closely in a single space accelerates the development processes for all parties. This leads to successful innovation.

Switzerland Innovation forms an ecosystem for domestic and international companies allowing them to further their research activities in partnership with universities and higher-education institutions. The sharing of ideas between researchers, talented individuals, and innovative entrepreneurs creates breeding grounds for innovation.

For Switzerland, the launch of Switzerland Innovation with its six sites nationwide represents a milestone. Because innovation is the basis for our nation’s economic success – and thus the guarantee for our prosperity.

Switzerland Innovation

  • forms an ecosystem that allows universities and innovative companies to collaborate and use their research results for the development of new marketable products and services;
  • provides breeding grounds for innovations; and
  • strengthens Switzerland as one of the most innovative countries in the world.

Mandate

Switzerland Innovation has the following objectives:

  • Realizing successful R&D collaborations between private companies, Swiss universities, and other research partners
  • Generating domestic and foreign R&D investment
  • Localizing domestic and foreign companies and research partners that create jobs and develop new marketable products, services, and processes
  • Creating a platform to accelerate the development of research results into marketable solutions
  • Creating attractive conditions for research groups and start-ups as catalysts for the localization of established companies
  • Securing our attractiveness and competitiveness through clear competence profiles at the sites as well as excellent conditions and services for our customers

The Switzerland Innovation Foundation is the national organizing institution of Switzerland Innovation, and provides services to the various sites. It deals with those issues that need to be approached from a foundation-wide perspective, thus covering all sites.

The foundation takes on the following tasks:

  • The international positioning and marketing of Switzerland Innovation on the basis of attractive offers that are defined by the sites using uniform criteria
  • Supporting the sites with financing solutions, both through the use of federal guarantees and by creating financial instruments in collaboration with the financial industry
  • Coordinating and networking the sites and ensuring efficient cooperation with the federal authorities while providing a coherent umbrella brand
  • Ensuring uniform quality standards at the sites on the basis of the Conference of Cantonal Directors of Economic Affairs (VDK) criteria catalog and its further development in the context of continuous improvement processes

ORGANIZATION

SWITZERLAND INNOVATION: 
ONE INNOVATION PARK AT SIX SITES

Federalism is the basis for the Swiss success model, which is why Switzerland Innovation comprises several regional sites for research and innovation. International companies are attracted to the overall potential of an area. A successful innovation site in Switzerland must therefore

  • network and pool its strengths;
  • ensure quality above all else; and
  • create a unified public image.

Therefore, Switzerland Innovation operates with six legally independent sites and a national organizing institution.

Switzerland Innovation

Foundation Board

The Foundation Board is the highest body of the foundation. It ensures the observance of the foundation’s objectives and supervises the activities of the bodies of the foundation. It is responsible for the strategic positioning and the further development of Switzerland Innovation. 

Members

Andreas Rickenbacher, Andreas Rickenbacher Management Ltd, President of the Foundation Board
Johanna Gapany, Member of the Council of States, Vice President of the Foundation Board
Dr. Christian Brönnimann, President of the Board of Directors innovAARE Ltd
Peter Brunner, Department of Technology and Computer Science, Bern University of Applied Sciences
Dr. René Buholzer, CEO Interpharma
Urban Camenzind, President of the Cantonal Councillors for the Economy (CCCE)
Martin Debusmann, Partner Ernst & Young Ltd
Professor Matthias Egger, President of the National Research Council
Dieter Egli, Member of the Government of the Canton of Aargau
Dr. Sebastian Friess, Head of the Office for Economic Affairs of the Canton of Bern
Dr. Adam M. Gontarz, Member of the Executive Board Swissmem
Professor Dietmar Grichnik, Director of the Institute for Technology Management, University of St. Gallen
Urs Haeusler, Member of the Management Board Die Mobiliar
Trudi Haemmerli, Vice President Innosuisse
Professor Michael Hengartner, President of the ETH Board
Roman Huber, Chairman of the Board of Directors Roy C. Hitchman Ltd
Thomas Kübler, Head of location promotion Baselland
Felix Kunz, Delegate BOD, Co-founder Switzerland Innovation Park Biel/Bienne Ltd
Roland Ledergerber, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Switzerland Innovation Park Ost Ltd
Daniel Lipp, Member of the Executive Board of DZ PRIVATBANK Switzerland Ltd
Urs Lüthy, Head of Commercial Insurance Switzerland Zurich Insurance Company Ltd
Christian Mähr, Head CoE Corporate Hybrid Ecosystem UBS Switzerland Ltd
Professor Joël Mesot, President of ETH Zurich
Isabelle Moret, Member of the Government of the Canton of Vaud
Dr. Markus Müller, Co-Head of Location Promotion Canton of Zurich
Stefan Nünlist, Head of Corporate Communications Swisscom Ltd
Alexandre Pauchard, CEO CSEM Ltd
Dr. Didier Raboud, Secretary General University of Geneva
Professor Christian Rüegg, Director of the Paul Scherrer Institute, Villigen
Monika Rühl, Chairwoman of the Executive Board economiesuisse
Dr. Till Rümenapp, Head of Corporate Research Center ABB Switzerland Ltd
Markus Schaefer, Partner Hosoya Schaefer Architects
Dr. Christian Studer, Head New Technologies Schindler Management Ltd
Beat Tinner, Member of the Government of the Canton of St. Gallen
Dr. Luciana Vaccaro, President swissuniversities
Professor Martin Vetterli, President of EPF Lausanne
Gabriela Winkler, Winkler Communication
Professor Hans-Florian Zeilhofer, Associate Vice President Innovation, University of Basel

Board Committee

The Foundation Board Committee prepares the business of the Foundation Board and is the public face of the foundation. It is responsible for the overall financial results of the foundation and decides on how the sites are supported.

President of the Foundation Board Committee

Andreas Rickenbacher, Andreas Rickenbacher Management Ltd

Vice President of the Foundation Board Committee

Johanna Gapany, Member of the Council of States

Further members

Dr. René Buholzer, Interpharma
Dieter Egli, Member of the Government of the Canton of Aargau
Roland Ledergerber, President of the St.Gallen-Appenzell Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Christian Mähr, UBS Switzerland Ltd
Professor Joël Mesot, President of ETH Zurich
Dr. Christian Studer, Schindler Management Ltd
Professor Martin Vetterli, President of EPF Lausanne
Stiftungsratsausschuss

Economic Advisory Board

The Economic Advisory Board is composed of members of sponsoring companies. It nominates the representatives of the private sector to the Foundation Board and can provide advice to the Foundation Board in specific matters.

Members

Andreas Rickenbacher, Andreas Rickenbacher Management AG, President of the EAB
Dr. Zara Asgharpour, Lonza AG
Yves Bugmann, Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH
Dr. René Buholzer, Interpharma
Andreas Conzelmann, TRUMPF Schweiz AG
Martin Eduard Debusmann, Ernst & Young AG
Selina Frey, Zurich Insurance Company Ltd
Dr. Adam Gontarz, Swissmem
Urs Haeusler, Die Mobiliar
Roman Huber, Roy C. Hitchman AG
Martin Kaiser, Swiss Life AG
Simon Kronenberg, Holcim Schweiz AG
Daniel Lipp, DZ PRIVATBANK Switzerland Ltd
Christian Mähr, UBS AG
Dr. Jürg Marti, Swissmechanic
Professor Rudolf Minsch, economiesuisse
Dr. Till Rümenapp, ABB Switzerland Ltd
Reto Schnarwiler, Swiss Re
Dr. Christian Studer, Schindler Management Ltd
Tina Willibald, Swisscom Ltd
Nicola Yuste, Novartis International AG

Office

The office supports and advises the Foundation Board and its Committee in carrying out their duties. It implements the decisions of the Foundation Board and Committee and secures the operational activities of the foundation.

Thomas Gfeller, CEO
Sophie Cerny, Deputy CEO
Tinka Jakob, Executive Assistant
Geschäftsstelle

Innovation Partners

During the five-year start-up phase of Switzerland Innovation, sponsors from the private sector financed the operation of the national foundation. In the next years, private companies will act as innovation partners and allow Switzerland Innovation to facilitate innovation projects that address socially relevant, cross-industry issues and promote cooperation between the innovation parks, thereby strengthening the network's ecosystem.

In this context the intiative "Switzerland Innovation Tech4Impact" was launched. Its objective is to facilitate the realization of innovation projects in collaboration with the innovation parks of Switzerland Innovation focusing on selected themes of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The following companies support the initiative as innovation partners:

Innovation Partners

In 2012, the Swiss Parliament approved the total revision of the Research and Innovation Promotion Act (RIPA), thereby creating the legal framework for providing federal funding for a Swiss Innovation Park, yet leaving plenty of leeway as to how the park should be set up. However, the law does state that the park should be spread over several sites. Furthermore, the cantons, higher-education institutions, and private sector should determine the focus areas and partners (and so influence the form the park takes).

The Federal Council approved the configuration proposed by the Conference of Cantonal Directors of Economic Affairs (VDK) in the late summer of 2014. Under this proposal, the innovation park would have two hub sites centered on the two federal institutes of technology in Zurich and Lausanne and two network sites in the Canton of Aargau and Northwest Switzerland, forming a single network. In May 2015 the Federal Council decided to add Biel to this configuration, on the recommendation of a group of independent experts.

Federal measures

The current federal funding instruments for research and innovation can also be used for activities at the Swiss Innovation Park’s sites. In the fall of 2015, parliament approved two new measures to finance the innovation park:

  • Federal guarantee: Framework credit of CHF 350 million to be used as collateral for earmarked loans. This guarantee allows the innovation parks to obtain capital funding on preferential terms to facilitate loans to finance research infrastructure (equipment, laboratories, facilities, etc.) for innovation projects of companies settled in the parks.
  • Land use: In order to support the innovation park, federally owned land will be leased with construction rights. However, ground rent must be paid at a rate current with the market.

As it plays a subsidiary role in research and innovation promotion, the Confederation will not be directly involved in the operation of the park, but will conclude an agreement under public law with a national sponsor in accordance with RIPA. 
Federal dispatch on the organizational structure and financial support of the Swiss Innovation Park (German only)
Further information can be found at: State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI)