Thanks to the budget surplus in 2018, Innosuisse has a pleasing amount of funds available for the promotion of innovation projects in 2019. However, a rapid increase in the current number of applications is required in order to be able to make effective use of the available funding of around CHF 150 million.
In contrast to other funding instruments, Innosuisse recorded a disappointing fewer than 500 applications for innovation project funding in 2018. Although the success rate was 56%, slightly higher than the CTI’s success rate in previous years, the available funds would easily have been sufficient to finance one and a half times the number of applications. The Federal Council has allowed Innosuisse to keep the surplus funds for the current year, but has made clear that they will flow back into the Federal Treasury at the end of 2019 if they cannot be used to promote innovation projects. It is also in the interest of Swiss SMEs that the return of these funds should be avoided. Annalise Eggimann, CEO Innosuisse: “I am concerned that another underspend would send a completely wrong signal about the need for innovation support. In the longer term, this could have negative consequences for Innosuisse’s financial resources and thus for the promotion of innovation in Switzerland.”
In early 2019, Innosuisse commissioned an external study from Interface to get to the bottom of why so few applications have been received. It revealed that the switch from CTI to Innosuisse has led to a degree of uncertainty on the part of research partners, especially with regard to the processes in general, the funding conditions and the evaluation processes. This uncertainty has apparently prompted potential applicants to wait a little before submitting an application in order to better understand the new evaluation process and to better assess the effort and chances of their application’s success.
In the past months, weeks and days, Innosuisse has done a lot to implement improvements in the application process and in the area of communication (see below). In particular, the excessively long reaction times seen at the beginning of 2018 have been reduced to previous levels. Eggimann therefore expressly encourages all potential applicants to submit their project entries: “There’s no good reason to wait any more now. The funding works, reaction times are appropriate and the funding conditions are known and not significantly different to those of the CTI.”
Find out for yourself that the reservations cited are not warranted and let us know if you see further potential for improvement.
Measures taken by Innosuisse
Innosuisse noted INTERFACE’s conclusions and recommendations for action with great interest. It has taken or implemented measures on individual points of criticism by the applicants and on the recommendations for action.
1. Improvements in the application process:
- The meeting dates of the Innovation Council have been published on Innosuisse’s website since April.
- The funding conditions for innovation projects have been clearly summarised on the website.
- Innosuisse has also produced an explanatory film on the submission of innovation projects.
2. Improvement in communication:
- With the introduction of the Innosuisse newsletter, applicants receive information that is important to them at regular intervals à Links to registration form
- Innosuisse will continue the roadshows it launched in 2017. Some dates are already known: Innosuisse will appear at EPFL on 11 June and at ETH Zurich on 4 September.
- Innosuisse is also present at numerous events throughout Switzerland to provide information about the opportunities it offers (Swiss Economic Forum SEF, Start-up Days, Swiss Medtech Day, Swiss NanoConvention, Swiss Digital Day, Swiss Innovation Forum SIF, etc.).
Last modification 22.05.2019