When the pandemic began in early 2020 it triggered an avalanche of economic and societal upheavals. Faced with the prolonged pandemic, stupefaction has given way to a willingness to innovate. Using novel solutions to get by has even become unavoidable.
Since then, this development has continued to grow. The number of requests for funding did not fall in 2020. In fact, quite the contrary. Innosuisse thus supports various innovation projects developing solutions to fight Covid-19. Despite the pandemic, companies, start-ups and research centres have taken the initiative and continue to innovate!
According to André Kudelski, President of Innosuisse, Covid-19 is an opportunity for innovation.
Innosuisse has been working hard to ensure that companies and academic institutions can continue to carry out their joint projects despite the crisis. As a first step, between April and the end of June 2020, the Swiss Agency for the Promotion of Innovation introduced targeted and simple flexibility measures to approve extensions and cover additional costs caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in many ongoing innovation projects. As far as start-ups are concerned, they have also been able to benefit from support thanks to the federal loan guarantee system. Until the end of August, the cantons were able to call on a committee of experts coordinated by Innosuisse to evaluate applications for loan guarantees. Since the start of the second partial lockdown, Innosuisse has also been offering its customers digital signatures for subsidy contracts to facilitate teleworking.
In addition, Innosuisse launched two new support initiatives in January 2021: the impulse programme “Swiss Innovation Power” and the Flagship initiative. The aim of these two programmes is to strengthen the long-term competitiveness of the Swiss economy. The impulse programme is intended to boost the launch of science-based innovation projects by SMEs during the pandemic in a targeted manner. The Flagship initiative aims to provide impetus to systemic innovations in the light of the economic and societal challenges currently facing Switzerland, including the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Examples of support:
To create a hand sanitiser that is more effective over its lifetime. That is the goal of the “Disigel” innovation project run by the company Lumendo in collaboration with Empa. Tests are currently being conducted in the laboratory to optimize this new type of gel.
In cooperation with the University of Lucerne, SkyCell is developing more efficient and durable insulation of air freight containers to provide effective transport of medicines around the world. Some medicines and vaccines must be stored and transported at a constant temperature to avoid compromising their efficacy.
With the innovation project “Remask”, researchers from Empa, EPFL, ETH Zurich and the Spiez Laboratory are working on a solution to revolutionise mask performance using new filtration systems and more durable antiviral and antibacterial materials.
Alveolix aims to reproduce the functioning of a human lung. The technology developed by the Bernese start-up is an organ-on-chip which reproduces its functioning on a small scale. With COVID-19 pandemic, which particularly attacks the lungs, this technology has great potential.
Last modification 19.04.2021