BRIDGE: «The high level of interest confirms the funding programme’s added value»

After the four-year pilot phase, the SNSF and Innosuisse are taking positive stock of the joint BRIDGE funding programme. They have increased the budget for the period 2021-2024.

The programme bridges the gap between basic research and science-based innovation. Thanks to BRIDGE, both young and experienced researchers can develop innovative products or services with market potential based on their research findings.

160 applications approved

Demand was consistently high after the launch in 2017 and until the end of 2020. 1,047 applications for funding were received over the four years. «We are delighted with the high level of interest. It shows the vigorous activity in this important area between research and innovation and confirms the funding programme’s added value,» says SNSF Director Angelika Kalt.

In total, the SNSF and Innosuisse approved 160 BRIDGE applications for over CHF 58 million – 121 in the “Proof of Concept” part of the programme for young researchers, and 39 in the «Discovery» part of the programme for experienced researchers, who want to develop their results from basic research further towards application. This corresponded to success rates of around 20 per cent and 9 per cent respectively. «Unfortunately, we were not able to fund all high-quality applications with the available budget,» says Angelika Kalt.

Start-up companies and patent applications

The large number of one-year Proof of Concept projects that have already been completed confirms that, thanks to BRIDGE, the researchers are able to push their results further in the direction of the market. By the end of 2020, 67 start-up companies had been founded by the funding recipients, often together with other people. Half of them took over the exective management themselves. In addition, 30 patent applications resulted from this part of the programme. The first of the multi-year Discovery projects will end in 2021. 13 patent applications related to these projects were filed by December 2020.

«It’s not only the high demand and the concrete results to date that are great to see. I’m also very pleased that the dovetailing of BRIDGE funding with the downstream innovation funding schemes has already proven successful,» says Annalise Eggimann, CEO of Innosuisse. She points out that many of these young companies have benefited from Innosuisse’s training courses and start-up coaching programme.

BRIDGE Discovery: two project examples


Matthieu Despeisse and Arnaud Walter from CSEM (pictured) are working together with researchers from EPF Lausanne and EMPA on the «Power» project to produce high-performance solar cells. With the help of a new coating, solar collectors should become up to 30% more efficient in future.

Professor Ursula Wolf testing the first prototypes of ProTex in the laboratory

Professor Ursula Wolf (pictured in the laboratory) from the University of Bern, together with researchers from EMPA and the Interstate University of Applied Sciences Buchs, is developing a textile sensor system that triggers an alarm signal in the event of danger, thus preventing pressure injuries.

50 per cent more funding

High-quality scientific projects that develop innovative products and services on the basis of research results are of great importance to Switzerland. As a result of the successful pilot phase, Innosuisse and the SNSF, the two organisations running BRIDGE, have increased funding for the period 2021-2024 by 50 per cent. Instead of CHF 70 million, a total of CHF 105 million is now available, including compensation for indirect research costs incurred by the universities. As a result, more projects will receive funding. In addition, the Discovery offer has been open to researchers from all fields since the beginning of 2021. 

Further links

>BRIDGE support offers and calls

>Other BRIDGE project examples

>Other support offers from the SNSF

>Other support offers from Innosuisse

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Last modification 05.07.2021

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Eliane Kersten

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Lukas Krienbühl

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