New chair of the Innovation Council: an interview with Alois Zwinggi

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The Board of Innosuisse has appointed Alois Zwinggi – a member of the Managing Board of the World Economic Forum – as Chairman of the Innovation Council. Bettina Ernst, an entrepreneur and CEO of Preclin Biosystems SA, was appointed Vice-Chairwoman. As the specialist body, the Innovation Council decides in particular on the funding of innovation projects and support for start-ups.

We could ask Alois Zwinggi four questions. He has worked for Innosuisse since 2017 and will chair the Innovation Council for a two-year period from January 2020.

Mr Zwinggi, how do you identify a project’s innovative character?
Innovation solves a problem or meets a need for which no product or service currently exists. In relation to Innosuisse, it is obviously also crucial that the innovation is science-based. That is why it is important to me that Innosuisse especially funds projects that provide new opportunities for both research and implementation partners. An innovative project should also create intellectual property and jobs in Switzerland.

You work as Managing Director for the WEF: What sets Switzerland’s innovative capability apart on the international stage?
Our competitiveness report ranked Switzerland in third place in terms of innovative capacity. The number of patents in proportion to the population, international cooperation, the level of research expenditure in relation to gross national product and the smooth cooperation between research institutions, the private sector and the public sector in the field of innovation are worthy of mention in particular. There is still some catching up to do when it comes to removing obstacles to setting up a company. The somewhat risk-averse culture in Switzerland also tends to inhibit innovation.

You will chair the Innovation Council: What are you looking forward to?
I am particularly looking forward to harnessing the wide-ranging experience and views on the Innovation Council so that – together with the Innosuisse office and Board of Directors – we can help to ensure that Switzerland maintains its leading position in innovation.

How do you see the role of the Innovation Council in future?
The Innovation Council’s core activities will continue to be the promotion of innovation projects and the support for start-ups. However, it is also important to encourage the transfer of knowledge and technology and to develop international cooperation in the field of innovation. Regarding topics, digital transformation and sustainable development within the framework of the goals of the 2030 Agenda will be essential. I believe the Innovation Council will also play a key role in ensuring that Innosuisse becomes a recognised platform for all innovation players in Switzerland.

Last modification 26.03.2020

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