The Switzerland Innovation parks have already attracted over 300 companies in just the past few years. The six parks serve as an important link between research and the private sector.
New procedures for the development of pharmaceuticals, recycling procedures for battery storage, autonomous vehicles, laser robots for operations on human bones, proton therapy for cancer treatment and supportive apparatus for people with disabilities: the list of projects moving forward in the six Switzerland Innovation parks is long.
Since launching six years ago, the innovation parks in a total of 16 locations – involving 23 cantons – have grown into an ecosystem for innovation across Switzerland, allowing universities and innovative companies to work together and utilize their knowledge and research findings to develop new, marketable products and services. Since 2016, a total of over 300 companies have opened here – with one in three coming from abroad. This has created about 2,700 new jobs in Switzerland. Switzerland Innovation itself employs over 100 people.
Thematically, the parks focus on the areas of health and life sciences, mobility and transportation, energy, environment and natural resources, manufacturing and production as well as computer and data science. Each park’s thematic focus is shaped by the research interests of the affiliated universities as well as the regional industrial and research environment.
The Federal Government Sets Goals
Switzerland Innovation is a joint initiative of public institutions, science and the private sector. Between 2016 and 2021, private companies and public authorities, specifically the cantons, provided a total of CHF 38 million for the establishment, expansion and operation of the foundation, while investment funds of about CHF 500 million have been effected or approved for expansion projects by the end of 2021.
After self-financing through the private sector from 2015 to 2020, the operating costs for Switzerland Innovation have been covered by contributions from the federal government since 2021. In a performance agreement, the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) and Switzerland Innovation recorded the goals for 2021 to 2024. Switzerland Innovation is tasked with generating additional private research and development investments from inside Switzerland and abroad in order to create quality jobs in Switzerland. The innovation parks thus offer the companies operating there direct access to Swiss universities, their scientists and their infrastructure. The innovation parks perform a facilitative function between university research and private enterprise and make an important contribution to the transfer of knowledge and technology. They also strengthen the cooperation between universities, government research institutions and the private sector.
Switzerland Innovation is responsible for marketing in target markets in the USA, Japan, South Korea and China, among other things. To do so, Switzerland Innovation is working together with site sponsor Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE) and with the company Generis in China, as well as with additional public innovation operators, namely Swissnex, Innosuisse and Präsenz Schweiz, on a project basis as part of “Team Switzerland”. The goal is to increase awareness of Switzerland as a location for innovation and to strengthen the Switzerland Innovation network. At the same time, high-tech companies are being directly approached with regard to establishing a location in one of the innovation parks.
An Important Link
The past six years have shown that the Switzerland Innovation concept works. Today, Switzerland Innovation is an integral part of the Swiss innovation landscape. The parks perform an important facilitative function in transferring knowledge and technology between academic research and private enterprise. In doing so, they form an important link between researchers from companies and scientists and industrial partners working on joint projects.
This direct exchange creates fertile ground for innovation. The locations also provide the infrastructure required for innovative processes, such as offices, labs and special-purpose rooms. They support the companies located there with tailored services such as coaching, pilot and test facilities, consulting or financing arrangements. Switzerland Innovation helps strengthen Switzerland as an innovation location and, in doing so, significantly contributes to maintaining its leading international position.