Blog Overview

EPFL Innovation Park Pushes Industry-Academic Partnerships

Author: EPFL Innovation Park

With the launch of KNOVA, EPFL Innovation Park, Site of SIP West EPFL, seeks to create flexible, practical, and impactful relationships between companies and EPFL. KNOVA’s goal is to accelerate strategic partnerships so that research can continue to push forward, and new discoveries can be harnessed for the good of society.

Codenamed KNOVA, the project takes its inspiration from kilonovae, phenomena that occur when two stars fuse to generate precious metals, a fitting metaphor for the advantages of combining academics and industry.

The proof of this is in the pudding, which in this case is the EPFL Innovation Park, located in the south of the Campus. With nearly 30 large companies, over 150 startups, 11 SMEs, and more than 20 service providers, it’s full to capacity! However, while it is undoubtedly a success, there are other aspects to it. In a world that changes at an incredible pace, where more and more innovations are being made, it’s crucial to be able to keep up the number of companies at the Innovation plant, in order to provide the ingredients for research and keep up the prestige of the school. If not, the competition, the pursuit of excellence, and the new partnerships will begin to stagnate. Momentum is needed so that these two-way relationships between the academic and business world can continue to expand, multiply, and blossom.

This was the train of thought that led to the KNOVA program, implemented in 2021 via the company Chargeurs, which is acting as an early adopter. 

KNOVA has a bright future ahead of it, with companies from all sectors already having signed up for 2022.

The main goal will remain increasing opportunities between industry and the academic world by fostering strong partnerships. This accelerator for strategic partnerships will give industry stakeholders a chance to discover the EPFL ecosystem’s potential for innovation, and allow them to build efficient research partnerships to benefit the company, entrepreneurs, existing industrial partnerships, and, of course, the students, researchers and start-ups. Although KNOVA is aimed at companies—that is, after all, it’s raison d’être—the program will be central for students and researchers, who can use it to easily build potential partnerships for their projects, which could include research, job opportunities or even creating a company of their own.

The program offers favorable structural conditions for developing smart, practical, and effective synergies that stand to benefit everyone within the EPFL ecosystem. It’s a real win-win at every level, where experience meets knowledge and everyone comes out with more of both. It’s also well worth mentioning the huge amount of time saved by companies, since their needs are directly addressed and “connected” with the right people within the ecosystem.

KNOVA will run for a year, providing companies with twelve months to experience the value that the EPFL ecosystem offers when launching and/or developing innovative projects. The program is open to all companies from any sector.