Your organisation plans to develop innovative products, services or processes. To do so, you need the expertise of a Swiss research institute. Then you should join forces and realise your innovation project together.
Innosuisse co-funds innovation projects that companies and private and public institutions conduct jointly with research partners.
Requirements for submitting an application
Project partners who want to submit an application must meet certain requirements.
As a company or as private or public institution (so-called implementation partner)
As an implementation partner, you must meet these four requirements:
- Your company or private or public institution must operate in Switzerland and engage in value-creating activities.
- You assume the project costs incurred in your company in the amount of 40–60% of the total project costs
- You are willing to cover expenses of the research partner (known as the cash contribution) in the amount of at least 5% of the total project costs
- A Swiss research partner must be prepared to implement an innovation project with you.
You must work at a Swiss research institution. Your research institution (the so-called research partner of the project) must belong to one of the following categories:
- Higher education research centres as per Art. 4, Letter c of the RIPA
- Non-commercial research centres outside the higher education sector in accordance with Art. 5 of the RIPA
- Government bodies as per Art. 16 (3) of the RIPA which carry out their own research for the purpose of fulfilling their mandates
- Federal research institutes according to Art. 17 of the RIPA
- A company must want to realise an innovation project with you as a research partner.
Please note that research and development partners should be independent of each other in terms of finance and personnel. They must also respect the code of scientific integrity. Projects or activities that are contrary to scientific integrity or good scientific practice are not encouraged.
For more information, see the evaluation criteria.
Innosuisse supports projects from all fields of innovation and interdisciplinary projects.
What your application should include
Fill out the application online through the Innosuisse application platform.
You will have to provide the following information:
- Information on project partners: Expertise and track record of the partners, available infrastructure
- General information: Title, background, initial results
- Added value of your innovation project: Business model, competitive situation, USP, market analysis, potential for profitability
- Your innovative solution: Development status, innovative content, risk and ambition (e.g. level of technological maturity), feasibility of the results
- Project plan including schedule: work packages, quantitative objectives (technological, scientific, economic), risk analysis
- Financial plan: wage costs, material costs, 40-60% contribution from implementation partner including 5% cash contribution.
In the case of innovation projects with implementation partners, there is no limit to the project duration. As a rule, they run for between 6 and 36 months.
In the case of innovation projects without an implementation partner, a project may run a maximum of 18 months.
In justified cases, the duration may be extended in accordance with the requirements of Article 6(2)(c) of the Implementing Provisions for Innovation Projects (PDF, 319 kB, 28.12.2022).
There is no financial ceiling for applications for contributions to innovation projects of research partners with or without an implementation partner, provided it makes sense for your innovation project and the cost-benefit ratio is right.
However, in the case of innovation projects with an implementation partner, the latter must be prepared to pay 40-60 per cent of the total project costs themselves. This applies to all subject areas.
Since this institution cannot yet be selected in the online application portal for applications involving new research partners, and no hourly rates for staff have been stored for these applications yet, the research partner must first get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know their request. Once the notional hourly rates have been approved, the institution will be added to the application portal.
The new research institution submits the documents listed in the for non-commercial research centres outside academia in parallel with the funding application.
In the online application portal, personnel costs are calculated on the basis of the stored notional hourly rates of the respective research institutions. Together with the material costs applied for, these make up the project budget. In addition, there is an overhead contribution (percentage calculation on the project budget). This gives you the funding budget.
Project budget: The project budget is calculated using the calculated notional hourly rates for personnel and material costs in the application and is considered the planned budget for the project. Adding the overheads gives you the funding budget.
Effective costs: The effective costs are the verifiable costs incurred for the project, which must be listed in the final statement of accounts (including the relevant supporting documents). The amount of the final tranche or the amount to be recovered is determined on the basis of the final statement of accounts.
The chargeable direct project costs comprise personnel costs and material costs.
Contributions by Innosuisse are not subject to value-added tax as subsidies in accordance with Art. 18(2)(a) of the VAT Act, but are counted as non-remuneration. On the other hand, the expenses incurred by the research centres for the project (e.g. costs for a machine) are subject to VAT. This means that the research centre’s expenses and financial contribution (cash contribution) must be specified in the application and in the statement of accounts, in each case including VAT.
Personnel costs of the research partner
They comprise salary costs and employer contributions.
Only the function-related expenses for the project are chargeable, i.e. personnel costs for work directly related to and required for the development of the innovation project. The annual expenditure may not exceed the maximum annual gross salaries according to Art. 15(1) of the Implementing Provisions for Innovation Projects (PDF, 319 kB, 28.12.2022).
The maximum amounts must be adjusted according to the degree of employment. This means for a degree of employment of 50 per cent, the maximum gross salary must be reduced by 50 per cent, for example.
At the beginning of each calendar year, all research partners receive from Innosuisse a guide, a test certificate and an Excel template. Please consult the guide for details.
The notional hourly rates are calculated roughly using an Excel template as follows: Total annual gross salaries of all employees of the research institution per personnel function divided by full-time equivalents and by the annual productive hours.
For employer contributions, a direct percentage is quoted per personnel function.
If your institution does not yet have approved notional hourly rates, the documents can be requested at email@example.com. The submitted documents will be reviewed and approved by Grant Surveillance and subsequently stored in the application tool.
The annual hours that may be allocated to the project are based on the internal guidelines of the respective research institution or implementation partner. Among other things, employment law requirements regarding maximum working hours must also be taken into account.
The rule that the salaries claimed may not be funded by other means applies equally to all project staff. The criterion of function or temporary or permanent employment is not decisive.
No personnel costs can be claimed for project staff whose employment is already fully funded by the public sector or other third-party funding. It is the responsibility of the respective research partner to provide proof that this is not the case for professors in a specific funding application.
No, Innosuisse does not recognise such payments as the relevant salary components of the project partners for project funding.
The hours must be entered based on the employee’s personnel function and his/her salary costs in the research institution and not according to his/her function in the project. The classification should be identical as for the calculation of notional hourly rates. If the hourly rate of the salary category differs greatly from the real hourly rate, Innosuisse allows a classification into the next higher or lower salary category. However, the research centre must be able to justify and demonstrate the deviation upon request. If in doubt, please contact your institution’s Grants Office.
Other costs of the research partners
Material costs are chargeable if they are necessary for the realisation of the project, do not concern the basic equipment of a research institution and are not compensated by the financial contribution of the implementation partner. This may include, for example, the costs of apparatus, consumables and licenses, third-party services and international travel. Please b article 18(2) of the Implementing Provisions for Innovation Projects regulated (PDF, 319 kB, 28.12.2022).
The utilisation of project results, in particular for publications on research results, for the marketing of project results and for the registration of industrial property rights, is not chargeable. All expenses incurred within Switzerland (e.g. meals and travel) are also not chargeable.
The costs for research infrastructure applied for must be necessary for the implementation of the project and may not be part of the research institution’s basic equipment. Chargeable depreciation rates are those determined in accordance with the institution’s internal accounting rules over the lifetime of the project.
If the infrastructure (including existing infrastructure) is not used exclusively for an Innosuisse project, the actual share of use in the project can be charged. The share of use must be duly verifiable (e.g. through laboratory notebooks) and auditable.
The costs of consumables that are necessary for the implementation of the project and that have been purchased during the lifetime of the project and are not part of the research institution’s standard equipment are chargeable. The project reference must be documented in a comprehensible way (e.g. with a purchase receipt).
Basically, the work in a project is performed by the project parties.
The involvement of third parties must be justified and necessary. This may include purchasing services from third parties, for example, for computing time and cloud computing or blood draws from patients. If a foreign research institution has to be contracted for individual tasks, these costs can be requested as third-party services.
Travel costs are chargeable if they are absolutely necessary for the implementation of the project, in particular in the case of projects involving travel outside Switzerland. Travel expenses for conferences abroad are only chargeable if participation is necessary and directly related to the project and the partner makes an active contribution to the conference (presentation, poster, lecture and booth). Participation purely as a visitor to a conference will not be covered. Other chargeable costs related to travel include taking samples abroad or experiments that must be performed abroad. Travel expenses within Switzerland are not reimbursed.
For the reimbursement of meals, the flat rates pursuant to Article 43 of the FDF’s Ordinance of 6 December 2001 on the Federal Personnel Ordinance (FPersO) will apply mutatis mutandis and the usual, reasonable, actual local expenses will apply to travel and overnight stays; a maximum amount of CHF 300 will apply to overnight stays.
The equipment and facilities that are part of the research centre’s basic equipment and usual operations and are standard cannot be procured at Innosuisse’s expense. No usage costs can be claimed for them either.
Basic equipment includes apparatus, materials and other equipment components that are part of the standard equipment of a research centre with a comparable research purpose. This includes, for example, the standard IT equipment including hardware and software or, in a clinical setting, disposable gloves and syringes. However, if a piece of software is directly related to the project and is indispensable for the realisation of the project, its costs can be claimed.
Innosuisse pays overhead contributions to all research partners that are entitled to contributions.
Overhead contributions serve to partially compensate the research institutions for the indirect costs incurred by them as a result of research projects that Innosuisse supports within the scope of its project funding.
The overhead contribution is now measured as a percentage of the total Innosuisse project budget (personnel costs plus material costs).
Parliament sets the maximum flat-rate payment. For the 2021-2024 financial period, this is 15 per cent, and 25 per cent for technology competence centres.
Innosuisse will determine the applicable percentage within the limits of the funds available each year. For 2023, Innosuisse is targeting the maximum rate of 15 per cent. For the technology competence centres, the value is determined annually for each technology competence centre.
The overhead contribution is based on the percentage applicable at the time that the application is submitted.
Yes, the percentage of project funding applicable when the application is submitted is valid for the entire duration of the project.
Yes, the overhead contribution is shown separately from the direct project costs in the subsidy contract.
The overhead contribution is paid out together with the contribution tranches for the direct project costs and divided equally in percentage terms.
The subsidy contract or the financial acceptance letter will state the overhead per research centre in the case of projects involving several research centres.
Companies and other implementation partners participate with own contributions in the amount of 40 to 60 per cent of the total direct project costs (i.e. excluding the overhead contribution), with at least 5 per cent of the total project cost as a financial contribution (cash contribution) to the research partner.
In certain cases, a lower or higher participation of the implementation partner is possible (see details in Article 19(2) to and 2ter RIPA, SR 420.1)
The implementation partners’ contribution consists of own contributions and financial contributions (cash contribution) to the research partners. The financial contribution is at least 5 per cent of the total project cost.
Financial contributions by the implementation partners to the research partners to cover necessary direct costs incurred by the research partners in the course of project implementation (specifically personnel and material costs) are chargeable for the cash contribution.
The personnel and material costs of the implementation partners, which are necessarily incurred from participation in the project, are counted towards the own contribution.
To measure the personnel costs in the application, the implementation partners use by default the hourly rates specified in Art. 15(2) of the Implementing Provisions for Innovation Projects (PDF, 319 kB, 28.12.2022). The implementation partners have the option to adjust them. In addition, a flat rate of 20 per cent is applied for employer contributions.
Non-personnel costs are charged to the own contribution, provided that they are necessary for the purposeful implementation of the project and correspond to the actual costs, i.e. can be shown in the operating account of the implementation partners.
No, Innosuisse does not recognise these payments as the relevant salary components of the project partners for project funding.
It can participate in and innovation project as implementation partner, provided that relevant added value in Switzerland can be demonstrated. It is important that the work is carried out by the Swiss subsidiary and that the know-how is available there.
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Last modification 09.03.2023
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