BRIDGE Discovery projects: Turning research into applications for the economy and society

The Discovery projects completed to date under the BRIDGE funding programme have all developed positively towards potential applications: this is the conclusion reached in an external evaluation by research institute KMU Forschung Austria in Vienna, which was commissioned by the SNSF and Innosuisse.

The aim of the study was to analyse the results and effects of 13 Discovery projects that had been completed by mid-2023. The projects lasted 3.7 years on average and were each supported through funding amounting to around CHF 1 million.

The evaluation concludes that all projects have taken significant steps towards potential applications thanks to the public funding they received. Almost all completed projects are being continued. Without the funding, most of the evaluated projects would not have been carried out – or this would have been to a much lesser extent.

However, due to the complexity of the research projects, the expectation is that the first economic effects will not be seen until two to five years after the project is completed.

Different methods for implementation
According to the evaluation, three basic paths can be identified in the implementation of the projects, which were also combined. These lead to different implementation and utilisation options: the projects either result in the establishment of a spin-off derived from the research directly, the implementation takes place via an existing industrial partner, or the technology is licensed out.

Successful knowledge transfer is crucial in BRIDGE Discovery projects. According to the study, it is particularly beneficial if the project team is aware of the ways expectations differ between researchers and industry and if it takes both perspectives into consideration. Interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary project management skills and entrepreneurial expertise are also necessary for successful knowledge transfer.

No substantial changes necessary
The BRIDGE Discovery instrument meets expectations in relation to the funding objectives. The instrument is clearly positioned between the two funding portfolios of the SNSF and Innosuisse. According to the study, there is no need to make any substantial changes to the offer in the coming funding period. There is potential for improvement in the communication of the programme with regard to more specific funding objectives, the offer of supportive accompanying measures, and the time between project submission and decision.

BRIDGE Discovery is an open-topic funding programme at the interface between basic and applied research. It is jointly funded and implemented by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and Innosuisse - Swiss Innovation Agency.

Last modification 26.03.2024

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