It was not without reason that we gave all those who actively supported the Innovation Park in 2020 an “Innovation Park snakes and ladders” game for Christmas. Because last year the development of the project really saw its ups and downs!
First the good news, of course: We are delighted with the renovation of the ETH section in Hangar 3. In the meantime the “competition teams” Swissloop, e-Sling, AMZ Racing and ARIS have moved in. And research is already being done in the laboratory of the Centre for Immersion Wave Experimentation of Prof. Johan Robertsson. The experimental laboratory of Startbahn 29 in the converted supplies building also went into operation in August. In over 20 class workshops and holiday camps, around 500 kids and teenagers experimented for example, with sound and electricity, learned more about plastic or the human brain, or programmed an exoskeleton or a dancing robot themselves. And lastly, among others, Dufour Aerospace tested its demonstration aircraft with VTOL technology and Sevensense its cleaning robot in our drone hangar in Hangar 3. And just recently, Tinamu Labs, a spin-off of ETH Zurich, tested their drone, which is used for industrial applications such as inspections inside a dam, with us. We were there via video.
In our “waiting room for firms” at Maagtechnic three further companies have moved in – remotely, please note – whilst the administrative court decision on the rezoning of the perimeter development is still pending. Furthermore with Airbus, Akenza, Habasit, embotech and Dufour Aerospace more companies have confirmed, with an LOI, their intention to locate in the Innovation Park in the medium to long term.
Both Innovation Park locations in Central Switzerland and Ticino took a big step closer to the Zurich Innovation Park in 2020. The national Foundation Switzerland Innovation endorsed both their applications for association in the summer. The association agreements are to be signed by the end of March 2021 and cooperation has already begun.
It is also gratifying to see the “big picture,” in fact, what the Innovation Park generation project is really all about: its contribution to the creation of value in our region and its effect on the research ecosystem. A 2020 study by the Swiss independent institute for economic research BAK Economics produced impressive figures: Well over 10,000 new jobs are to be created in and around the Zurich Innovation Park, which could generate an additional tax revenue of several dozen million francs for the canton and the municipality. The economists estimate the accumulative economic benefit for the canton at around 2.5 billion francs annually. But even the site development itself has already had a positive economic effect of several hundred million francs.
Administrative court decision and Corona slow the tempo
Our project’s rapid progress was hampered on the one hand by the decision of the administrative court communicated in July to repeal the cantonal design plan. This would have made new construction on the site possible. The Board of Trustees of Innovation Park Zurich supports the government council in planning activities for the area. The President of the Board, Peter E Bodmer is involved in a newly formed task force headed by Roman Bächtold, which will prepare a synthesis report with the involvement of all stakeholders, as basis for land use planning, by the second quarter of 2021.
Further to this, the coronavirus also caused our “play counter” to slide back a few squares in 2020: Of the around 170 planned events, only half could actually be carried out.
Ups and downs are sometimes part of a project of this size and complexity, and everyone contributing to its success needs to show a great deal of patience and resilience. This year also looks like it will bring us a few ups and downs.
If you want to get an idea of the Innovation Park Zurich for yourself, we cordially invite you to one of our public tours - if the virus lets us...
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