What happens during coaching? What are the responsibilities of the Innovation Council? You will find answers to the most fequently asked questions here.
The key provisions can be found in the Innosuisse Act (SIAA Innosuisse Act)
Board of Directors
The Board of Directors is the strategic body of Innosuisse. Its responsibilities are regulated in the SIAA (Art. 7).
In accordance with the SIAA: four years.
The Board Chairman can be re-elected twice.
The members of the Board of Directors can be re-elected once.
It is the expert body of the future Innosuisse. Its responsibilities are regulated in the SIAA (Art. 10)
The Board of Directors has decided to elect 20 Innovation Council members initially. The law stipulates at least 15 and at most 25 Innovation Council members.
The Board of Directors reserves the right to add to the Innovation Council as necessary at a later stage.
The Board of Directors wants to constitute a committee of genuine volunteers who spend most of their time working outside Innosuisse in a relevant field. The workload is therefore not expected to exceed 20 per cent.
The members are elected for four years. They can be re-elected once.
In accordance with Article 10 Paragraph 2 of the Innosuisse Act (SIAA; SR 420.2), the Innovation Council may put forward experts to the Board of Directors for election who are to evaluate applications within its remit and support project work.The Board of Directors is the strategic body of Innosuisse. Its responsibilities are regulated in the SIAA (Art. 7).
The experts cover the full range of projects funded by Innosuisse with their expertise.
- The application is prepared using the “Innosuisse Analytics” online tool and submitted to Innosuisse, where its form and content are assessed.
- The Innovation Council makes a decision regarding the content of the application. If an application is approved, the applicants will receive an information letter describing the next steps.The research partners use the “contract details” form to inform Innosuisse of the project payment method, the contractual partners and the start of the project.
- The funding agreement signed by all partners must be sent to Innosuisse. Only when the agreement has been concluded will Innosuisse be obliged to make the approved funding payments. If an application is rejected, the applicants will receive a rejection ruling giving the reason and including the rights of appeal.
- Applications that were submitted from 1 January 2018 will be assessed and implemented in accordance with the new regulations.
- Applications that were submitted up to 31 December 2017 will be assessed in accordance with the old CTI regulations.
- The right to submit an application is reviewed as part of a specific funding application for an innovation project.
- Since applications involving new research partners do not yet include hourly rates for staff and the institution cannot yet be selected in the online tool, the research partner must first contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The necessary data will then be entered in the online tool. For the first application, personnel expenses will subsequently be calculated using maximum hourly rates on a provisional basis. If the right to funding is recognised, the research centre will inform Innosuisse of its notional hourly rates.
- Together with its funding application, the new research institution should ideally submit its Articles of Association, a list of research staff including their role and level of training, a list of any innovation projects already completed in the last two years as well as any other useful information.
- The application tool calculates the project budget and
the cost ceiling based on the standard personnel expenses
stored for the relevant research institutions, requested
material costs and overheads.
The cost ceiling takes the maximum rates for personnel
expenses into account.
- The standard rates calculated in accordance with the
Innosuisse Excel template are being used for 2018
(see point 6). The calculation according to the Excel
template is roughly performed as follows: total sum of
the annual gross salaries of all research institution staff
per role divided by full-time equivalents and annual
productive hours. The employer contribution is also
calculated with a flat rate of 20%.
- Innosuisse sent all research partners who have previously
taken part in projects an Excel template to calculate
the standard rates for personnel expenses. The
document can also be requested by e-mailing supervision@
innosuisse.ch. As an interim solution for 2018,
a confirmation by the finance department of the research
partner is sufficient to prove the accuracy of the
hourly rates used. From 2019, it is envisaged that the
accuracy of the calculation will be confirmed by an external
assessment body (e.g. an auditor) if the hourly
rates will be used for project payment as well as submitting
- Names of project staff do not need to be provided in
the application/contract, with the exception of the key
people. However, the budgeted hours must be submitted
in each staff category in order for an estimated
value to be calculated. When making funding decisions,
Innosuisse particularly considers the reasonable
and efficient distribution of proposed hours across
each staff category in the project.
- Hours have to be entered according to the employee’s
personnel function and the employee’s salary costs for
the research institute, not according to the function
within the project.
Regulation of intellectual property and rights of use
According to legal provisions, when it comes to their goods and services, the implementation partners have at least the right to free, non-exclusive use and exploitation of the results of the supported innovation project. This is set out in Article 41(3-5) of the Swiss Research and Innovation Promotion Ordinance (RIPO).
No. The provisions of Article 41 RIPO apply at the very least. In each case, the project partners are obliged to comply with these regulations in the course of their cooperation. Innosuisse can however stipulate that an agreement that goes beyond these provisions must be concluded between the partners. Requirements of this kind are made by Innosuisse in the vast majority of approved projects. The project partners must individually negotiate and agree on all conditions that exceed the provisions set out in Article 41 RIPO. In the case of such a requirement, the agreement must be submitted by the time the project work begins at the latest. If it does not materialise, Innosuisse shall claim back the first instalment it has paid and abort the project.
PLEASE NOTE: As the negotiations are important and can be complex, Innosuisse recommends dealing with this issue at an early stage and coming to an agreement in principle at the very least by the time application preparations begin.
Innosuisse informs applicants whether they just need to submit a signed confirmation that an agreement has been concluded in accordance with the minimum requirements in Article 41(1-3) RIPO, or whether the concluded agreement itself needs to be submitted.
The project partners have until up to three months after the conclusion of the Funding Agreement to submit the requested documents concerning the rights of use regarding intellectual property.
If a corresponding requirement has been incorporated into the Funding Agreement by Innosuisse and communicated in advance via the information letter about the approval of the project, Innosuisse pays 50% of the promised funding upon the conclusion of the Funding Agreement, even if the signed agreement is not yet available. The second project instalment cannot be paid until the documents requested in the Funding Agreement are provided. The detailed provisions are set out in the Funding Agreement.
The minimum requirements in terms of content are outlined in Article 41(2) RIPO. The content of agreements exceeding these provisions is determined on a case-by-case basis.
Article 41(3-5) RIPO regulates the minimum rights that must be granted to implementation partners.
Independence of project partners from each other
- No, unless you are working purely as a consultant (with or without a fee) for a limited period and subject to a written agreement (Art. 2 Section 1 of the implementing provisions for innovation projects). In particular, the following types of work are not permitted:
- Activities associated with decision-making powers in the implementation partner’s company
- Working on the board of directors of the implementation partner’s company
- Carrying out research for the project for both the research partner and implementation partner
Yes, provided that you are not involved in the project on the research partner’s side in any way and receive any remuneration for your work on the project solely from the implementation partner.
No, unless the contribution does not permit any relevant influence on the implementation partner’s business activities (Art. 2 Section 1 letter b and Section 2 of the implementing provisions for innovation projects).
- No, unless loans are granted on the condition that they are repaid with interest at the standard market rate.
- Yes, provided that you are not involved in the project on the research partner’s side in any way.
- The eligible direct project costs include personnel expenses and material costs.
- They include the actual personnel costs and employerpaid contributions.
- Notional hourly rates: The project accounting applies the notional hourly rates submitted by the research partner and accepted by Innosuisse.
- Gross annual salaries: The project accounts apply the salary statements submitted by the research partner and approved by Innosuisse.
- In addition, the actual social insurance contributions paid by the employer are covered
- No. Every project partner is free to choose whichever accounting method seems best suited for reporting their personnel expenses.
- The method selected applies only to the project that has been approved.
- Only the function-related costs for the project are eligible.
- The standard rates calculated in accordance with the Innosuisse Excel template are being used for 2018. The calculation according to the Excel template is roughly performed as follows: total sum of the annual gross salaries of all research institution staff per role divided by full-time equivalents and annual productive hours. The employer contribution is also calculated with a flat rate of 20%. The annual costs may not exceed the maximum annual gross salaries pursuant to Article 5 of the implementing provisions for innovation projects.
- The rule applies equally to all project staff that the salaries
submitted for reimbursement are not financed in
any way through other sources. The function criterion,
or whether the employment relationship is temporary
or permanent, is not relevant.
- Project staff whose employment is already fully financed
by the public sector or other third-party resources
cannot claim any personnel expenses.
- If in a given funding application this is not the case with
respect to professors, it is the responsibility of the research
partner in question to provide proof to this effect.
- In the funding application, a flat rate of 20 per cent of the salary costs is initially applied to cover the employer paid contributions under OASIA/InvIA/LECA, OPA and UIA.
- For the project accounting, the flat rates submitted and accepted with the notional hourly rates or the actual percentage paid on gross salary as documented in the salary statement are subsequently applied.
- Material costs are eligible if the materials in question are essential for realising the project, do not pertain to the basic infrastructure of a research facility and are not covered by the financial contribution from the implementation partner.
- Material costs may comprise costs for equipment, consumable supplies, third-party services and international travel.
- Costs that are not eligible include:
- publication of research results
- travel within Switzerland (included in overheads)
- If the infrastructure (including existing infrastructure) is
not used exclusively for an Innosuisse project, the actual
percentage used in the project may be booked to
the project. The percentage utilisation must be verifiable
(e.g. through laboratory log books) and auditable.
- To be eligible, the costs must pertain to consumable
supplies that are essential for carrying out the project,
were purchased during the course of the project and
are not among the standard supplies provided by the
research facility. The relevance to the project must be
clearly documented (e.g. purchase receipt).
- As a rule, the work in a project is done by the project
participants, not outsiders.
- Grounds must be given for using third-party service
providers and it must be demonstrated that it is necessary
for the project. This may also pertain to services
purchased from third parties, such as computing time
and cloud computing.
- If a research institute abroad must be enlisted to perform
certain tasks, the related costs may be claimed as
third-party service costs.
- To be eligible, the costs must pertain to cross-border
travel that is essential for carrying out the project, specifically
with respect to cross-border projects. Costs for
travel within Switzerland should be covered, if necessary,
via the overhead contribution and are not reimbursed
- The reimbursement of travel costs is based on the FDF
Ordinance of 6 December 2001 to the Federal Personnel
- The equipment and infrastructure required for the ordinary
operation and standards of a research facility
cannot be charged to Innosuisse. Nor may the use of
such equipment and infrastructure be charged to Innosuisse.
- Basic infrastructure covers equipment, materials and
other items of infrastructure which are part of the
standard equipment of a research facility with a similar
research purpose. This includes, for instance, standard
IT infrastructure – including hardware and software –
and disposable gloves and syringes in clinical work.
However, if a software item is directly related to the
project and is essential to the project’s realisation, its
cost is eligible.
- Funding budget: The funding budget is calculated in
the funding application using the standard costs determined
for personnel, for example, and serves as the
planned budget for the project.
- Cost ceiling: The cost ceiling is calculated on the basis
of the maximum hourly rates for project staff in the
funding application, among other things, and is stipulated
in the funding agreement along with the funding
budget. The cost ceiling may be used up without
amending the funding agreement, provided the increase
in personnel expenses is due to reasonable
salary rises, necessary higher employer-paid social insurance
contributions, inflation adjustment measures,
salary increases associated with staff changes within
the same project function category and minor changes
to the distribution of the proposed working hours
across the various personnel functions or due to approved
changes to key people. The cash contribution
and the individual contribution by the implementation
partner, on the other hand, are set in the funding
agreement in accordance with the funding budget and
may not be changed.
- Actual costs: The actual costs are the verifiable costs
generated by the project, which are reported in the
project’s final accounts and documented, by receipts
for instance. Based on these final project accounts,
both the amount of the final funding instalment and
the total amount of funding actually paid out for the
project are determined.
Participation of implementation partners
- The implementation partners contribute at least the
same amount towards covering the project costs as
the amount of Innosuisse’s funding contribution as calculated
according to the funding budget stipulated in
the funding agreement. For this purpose, the funding
contribution is understood to exclude the overhead
portion (i.e. less the overhead contribution).
- Implementation partners participate by contributing
their own work and services as well as financing (cash
amount) to the research partner. The financial (cash)
contribution is at least 10 per cent of the funding contribution
made by Innosuisse.
- Financial contributions made by the implementation
partners to the research partners to cover essential
costs incurred by the research partners in carrying out
the project (i.e. salaries and material costs) are treated
as part of the cash contribution.
- Staff and material costs of the implementation partners
which must be incurred due to their participation in the
project count as contributions of own work and services.
- The implementation partners’ personnel expenses are
composed of salary costs and employer-paid social insurance
contributions. The implementation partners
apply the hourly wage rates (standard costs) accepted
by Innosuisse and applied by the research partner
managing the contributions in determining the wage
costs in the funding application.
- The implementation partners apply a flat rate of 20 per
cent of the salary costs of their own work and service
contributions in determining the employer-paid social
insurance contributions for the purposes of the funding
- Material costs are counted towards the implementation
partners’ contribution of proprietary n work and services
insofar as they are essential for the proper execution
of the project and represent the actual costs. In
other words they must be recognisable in the operating
accounts of the implementation partners.
The expenditures are to be entered in the “Contributions by implementation partner” form and confirmed by signature. For both accounting methods noted below, a time-based statement (comprising in minimum the name of the person, function and a monthly listing of hours) must be submitted.
◾ Notional hourly rates method: Accounting is based on the calculatory hourly rates submitted by the main research partner and approved by Innosuisse.
◾ Gross annual salary method: Accounting is based on the gross salaries declared by the implementation partner. The salaries are to be documented by salary statements or extracts from an HR or SAP system, for example.
- Article 23 RIPA (SR 420.1); Articles 33, 34, 37 and 38
RIPO (SR 420.11); Article 8 Innosuisse Funding Ordinance
- Overhead contributions partially cover the indirect
costs incurred by the research institutes in connection
with research projects supported by Innosuisse
through project funding (Article 33 RIPO).
- Innosuisse pays overhead contributions to all research
partners who qualify.
- As a flat rate based on personnel expenses.
- Parliament stipulates a maximum flat-rate payment.
For the 2017–2020 financial period, this was 15 per
- Innosuisse sets the applicable flat rate relative to the
annual financial resources available.
- In 2019, Innosuisse paid the maximum 15 per cent
- The overhead contribution is based on the personnel
expenses approved in each individual case (salary
costs and employer-paid social insurance contributions,
- Material costs do not qualify as overhead for this purpose.
- The overhead contribution is calculated using the percentage
valid for the flat rate on the date on which the
funding application is submitted.
- Yes. The flat rate applicable at the time the project
funding application is submitted applies for the project’s
- Yes. In the project funding decision, the overhead contribution
is distinguished from the direct project costs.
- The overhead contribution is paid along with the funding
instalments for the direct project costs on the same
percentage basis as the direct project costs.
During the project
- No. It is not possible to redistribute personnel expenses
and material costs within the budget.
- In exceptional cases, costs in addition to the expected
contribution stipulated in the funding agreement may be
approved as part of a supplementary application if they
are incurred due to approved changes to the project or
were unforeseeable and the project partners could not
be held responsible. The funding agreement will be
amended accordingly. (Article 11 of the implementing
provisions for innovation projects).
- The personnel expenses can be increased up to the
cost ceiling for the reasons mentioned in question 23
without amending the funding agreement.
- No. Not unless the change concerns the key people
reported to Innosuisse.
- The key people noted in the funding agreement are
project staff who cannot be replaced within a short period
of time (less than six months) due to their
- The financial contribution (cash amount) must be paid
to the research partner by the time Innosuisse makes
the second funding instalment.
Interim financial report/prognosis and final project report
The accounting method chosen when the agreement is
signed (“Gross salaries” or “Notional hourly rates”) applies
for the duration of the project and cannot be
- For projects less than 18 months in duration it is not
necessary to produce an interim financial report unless
Innosuisse expressly requests one. In all other projects,
an interim financial report is normally required
every 12 months. Depending on the duration of the
project and the agreed funding instalment payments,
there may be minor deviations from this rule.
- It is not necessary to submit supporting documentation/
receipts with the interim financial report.
- The prognosis is supposed to indicate the anticipated
costs up to the end of the project. This information
helps Innosuisse in the overall assessment of the project
- The purpose of the interim report is to give Innosuisse
a rough idea of the status of the project, including the
progress of the research and the relationship of the
costs incurred thus far to the final costs. This should
make it possible to identify any divergences from the
project plan at an early stage and take correction action,
- The number of annual hours that may be allocated to
the project depends on the internal guidelines of the
respective research institute or implementation partner.
The maximum eligible gross salary is stipulated in Article
5 Section 1 of the implementing provisions for innovation
- Staff cost adjustments: Staff cost increases for the
reasons mentioned in question 23 do not require the
funding agreement to be amended, provided that they
are below the cost ceiling. Cost increases of this nature
are only permitted for personnel expenses, however.
- Other adjustments: Approval for changes to the project
plan or work packets or other unforeseen changes
in the project that result in higher costs must be sought
from Innosuisse in advance using the appropriate form,
not only at the end of the project. They require the
funding agreement to be amended.
- The contribution of the implementation partners is
based on the funding budget stipulated in the funding
agreement and, therefore, remains unchanged.
- If the implementation partners contribute less than the
amount defined in the funding agreement, Innosuisse’s
funding contribution will be reduced accordingly.
- Notional hourly rates: The employer-paid contributions
are accounted for in the amount accepted by
Innosuisse in accordance with the definitive calculation
of the notional hourly rates.
- Gross annual salaries: The employer-paid contributions
are accounted for in the amount actually paid according
to the salary statements submitted.
- No. Innosuisse does not recognise remuneration of
this nature as salary components of project partners
that are relevant for the project funding.
During initial coaching, your entire business idea is examined and reviewed. Together with coaches, you work out its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and risks, determine the next critical steps and receive recommendations on key milestones that are important to the successful development of your business idea. In addition to assisting you with this main activity, the coaches will be on hand to help and advise you.
Core coaching usually builds on the outcomes of initial coaching. More specifically, the action plan developed during initial coaching is implemented in this second stage. With the help of coaches and special coaches, you work on establishing and developing your start-up in a variety of ways. If you successfully complete core coaching, you will also receive an Innosuisse certificate, provided that you successfully pass the final milestone review where the following elements are assessed:
a) your start-up has a solid base and can handle growth in the future;
b) your start-up is prepared to receive external funding if it is needed;
c) your start-up can rely on a professional management team that has the required skills or has access to these skills;
d) your start-up has shown that it has access to the market and is established within the industry;
e) your start-up was founded in accordance with Swiss law.
Scale-up coaching will not be available until the second half of 2019. This type of coaching is aimed at start-ups with very high growth potential and is primarily intended to help them implement their growth strategy. More information will be available in the months to come.
The two first coaching stages can be seen as building on one another, following the timeline of the typical life cycle of a start-up. In terms of the services on offer, these first two coaching stages, initial coaching and core coaching, are especially closely linked. Initial coaching can thus be understood as the stage where you develop the action plan that you will try to implement during core coaching in its original form or a similar form. We therefore strongly recommend that you start with initial coaching, even if your start-up has already progressed further in its development.
However, as a basic principle, you can apply for any coaching stage at any time, and it makes sense to apply for the type of coaching which offers the services that suit the start-up’s stage of development and current targets in terms of their impact. It is also important to note that your start-up cannot participate in different stages of coaching at the same time, which means it is not possible to apply for different types of coaching simultaneously. However, you can apply for another stage of coaching when you are about to complete one.
The initial coaching and core coaching process follows a voucher principle and is based on milestones. If your application for coaching is approved, you will receive a voucher which you can redeem during the coaching process with the coaches in Innosuisse’s list of qualified coaches. Your first step is to choose a “lead coach”. This coach will be your first point of contact throughout the entire coaching process and will help you with activities including planning your coaching programme. During coaching, you can invite additional coaches and special coaches to work with you. Special coaches have specific expertise in one or more areas such as financial planning or managing intellectual property.
Together with your coaches, you try to achieve milestones, some defined by Innosuisse, which are important for the positive development of your start-up.
For each milestone, you will be given a certain amount of the total budget provided by the voucher, which you can share out between different coaches.
You need to submit the relevant application for each coaching stage. The applications are then reviewed by Innosuisse, first against formal requirements and then in terms of their content. For core coaching and scale-up coaching, you will also be invited to present your business case to a jury in Bern after the content of your application has been reviewed
Tip: If you are already participating in initial coaching and intend to apply for core coaching too, you can submit the application shortly before you complete your initial coaching. This will enable you to transfer seamlessly to the next coaching stage if you meet the criteria.
The requirements in accordance with Article 21 of the Federal Act of 14 December 2012 on the Promotion of Research and Innovation (RIPA, SR 420.1), Articles 21-24 of the Innosuisse Funding Ordinance of 15 November 2017 (SR 420.231) and the implementing provisions for coaching of 16 November 2017 must be met to participate in coaching. More specifically, the main assessment criteria for the degree of innovation associated with the business idea are the current state of the art, competition within the market, market potential and you and your team’s potential to implement the science-based business idea.
We also require your start-up to be based in Switzerland, or you need to intend to found your start-up in Switzerland. If your start-up has already been founded, it must not have been founded more than five years ago, or more than ten years ago in justified cases (such as for life science start-ups with time-intensive R&D milestones to achieve).
The coaches are experienced entrepreneurs with outstanding practical expertise in a large range of industries and sectors. They have excellent knowledge of the start-up scene and an extremely extensive network. As a special type of coach, special coaches have deep and excellent expertise in one or more specific areas such as intellectual property rights or financial planning.
The qualification criteria for Innosuisse start-up coaches are available in the articles 51 and 52 of the Innosuisse Funding Ordinance of 15 November 2017 (SR 420.231).
In addition, you will soon find a list of all coaches on the Innosuisse website. If you are approved for coaching, you will also have access to a database where you can find a skills profile for each coach and search for specific coach skills via the IT tool provided by Innosuisse (“Innosuisse Analytics”).
If you are granted a voucher, you can search for coaches using the IT tool provided by Innosuisse (“Innosuisse Analytics”). Various search functions and the coaches’ skills profiles are available to help you find a suitable coach for your project. You will also find the coaches’ contact details so that you can enquire about a potential partnership with a relevant coach in advance. As soon as you have found a coach, you can use Innosuisse Analytics to invite this coach to support you during the coaching programme.
When initially being granted a voucher, Innosuisse will assist you in choosing a lead coach by issuing a recommendation to help you begin you coaching programme. Furthermore, at any time in the programme, if you have trouble finding a suitable coach, Innosuisse or your lead coach will be glad to help you.
N.B.: The voucher can only be redeemed with coaches in Innosuisse’s list of qualified coaches.
Coaches are paid for their flexible coaching services on an hourly basis at a standard hourly rate of CHF 200 (all inclusive). Special coaches are paid at set flat rates which depend on the service. This service is typically a bundled package e.g. in form of a clearly defined workshop.
The whole payment process is managed directly and electronically in the Innosuisse Analytics IT tool.
The relationship between you and Innosuisse will be a funding relationship. The associated rights and obligations are set out in the “decision” you will receive when your application has been approved. A „decision” is a legal term for the paper document that Innosuisse sends to the applicants. This document contains the decision as to whether an application for coaching was approved or rejected.
Your partnership with a coach is governed by a standardised contract template provided by Innosuisse. Every additional partnership with another coach or special coach requires a separate contract. You will need to specify a portion of your budget to be assigned to each coach for their services. The budget amount is to be agreed between you and the relevant coach directly. If necessary, the budget can be amended at any time in the “Innosuisse Analytics” IT tool by mutual agreement.
The contract is usually concluded between you and a coach without any involvement from Innosuisse. However, Innosuisse may request evidence that a suitable contract has been concluded. Innosuisse must also be informed by e-mail (email@example.com) if you or the coach wish to amend the contents of the contract template. This is required so that Innosuisse can check whether the amended agreement is still compatible with the legal basis.
The voucher is managed solely via the “Innosuisse Analytics” IT tool provided by Innosuisse. This tool shows your milestones, which coaches you are working with and how much of your budget you have left. You can also use this tool to perform tasks such as inviting more coaches to work with you on your start-up.
You can log on here: www.innosuisse.ch/analytics
You will request access to the Innosuisse Analytics application via the Federal Administration’s eIAM (“electronic identity and access management”) system. eIAM manages a user’s access rights. This step is only required for initial registration.
On the homepage under “Enter Code” or under My Applications. You can use the authorisation code to add new project team members to projects.
You can submit your application in German, French, Italian or English.
This button is only available to users with the “Project Manager” role.
Users can make changes to their account details in eIAM (“electronic identity and access management”) at https://access.eiam.admin.ch/selfservice/myaccount/.
You can make changes in Innosuisse Analytics under “My Profile”. NB: Innosuisse members (Innovation Council members, experts, Secretariat staff, coaches, innovation mentors) should contact the Secretariat to request changes by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modification 03.06.2019