15-02-2018
 
Funding News

Innosuisse replaces CTI: Funding opportunities for Swiss researchers, SMEs and industry

The Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation CTI (Kommission für Technologie und Innovation KTI), one of the two main funding agencies for research and innovation in Switzerland, supported projects in applied sciences and development until the end of 2017. Since the beginning of this year its successor has become operational: Innosuisse. This change is more than just a rebranding and today we’re going to be looking at who Innosuisse is suitable for and the most relevant changes and facts relevant to any future applicants.

Innosuisse in a nutshell

CTI/KTI`s former mission statement hasn’t changed and the goal of Innosuisse remains “[to promote] science-based innovation in all disciplines represented at university-level research institutions in the interests of the economy and society”.

Same mission, new organisation

While the organisational structure might have changed, potential proposers are not facing game-changing decisions. Experienced CTI/KTI proposers will be pleased to hear that the funding instruments will remain under the new branding. Innosuisse will still be supporting R&D projects from all areas of research-based innovation topics. Similarly to the Eurostars programme and the new SME instrument, Innosuisse follows a bottom-up approach: Although applicants will select one of five primary funding areas (ICT, Life Sciences, Engineering, Energy & Environment and Social Sciences & Business Management), there are no predefined topics.

What has changed is the organisational structure. Innosuisse will offer a better integration into the Swiss research and innovation environment. Operational and strategic activities will be separated to create a more transparent governance of the organisational structure. Innosuisse is still a public institution but will have its own legal entity. The new organisational structure includes a board with seven members, an innovation council with 21 members, a management team and an auditing body whereas the previous CTI/KTI had a commission (72 members) and a secretariat. The changes to the organisational structure mean that Innosuisse will have more business like structures and this could result in more transparency, efficiency and efficacy making their services verifiable.

Innosuisse budget and how to get funded

Another big change has been made to the concept of salary costs. The average costs per research staff and research institution under the CTI/KTI will be replaced by a cap on expenses for each staff category. Henceforth, material costs will also be chargeable. However, these will be explicitly regulated in implementing regulations and can only be claimed for project-specific and non-standard equipment. Travelling costs inside Europe (not within Switzerland) and intercontinental travelling can also be claimed as material costs.

Innosuisse has set an expenses cap (after reduction) for the next couple of years. Displayed below are the caps for the coming years:

Year 2017 2018 2019 2020
Total (in mio. CHF) 238.7 228.9 227.5 221.4

Innosuisse will cover the research partner’s salary for the duration of a project. Under certain conditions, Innosuisse will also cover material costs and provide a contribution to overheads. As projects are a joint effort between an implementation partner (company) and a research partner, any company applying for Innosuisse funding must be prepared to bear their own costs. Additionally, companies have to be prepared to provide the research partner with costs in the amount of at least 10% of Innosuisse’s funding.

Who should apply?

As under CTI/KTI, project proposals will be evaluated based mainly on their “degree of innovation, the scientific significance of the innovation, the market potential and the contribution to the promotion of sustainable development”. As with Horizon 2020, Innosuisse is also looking to promote innovative projects in the area of energy. Until 2020 there will be CHF19 million available as part of the energy funding programme. Another similarity to the Eurostars programme is the absence of deadlines. Submissions to Innosuisse are now online and the first projects to receive funding are expected in March 2018.

What if you’re a researcher with a great idea for a project and don’t have an implementation partner (company) yet? Innosuisse has a solution for you. Support for highly innovative yet risky projects, without an implementation partner, can be provided. Innosuisse will support such projects for a maximum of 18 months. These types of projects include feasibility studies, prototypes and test facilities. If you’re missing an implementation partner, make sure that your project displays a considerable innovation potential and a clear business idea.

Young and experienced researchers alike also have two options provided by the BRIDGE programme. The BRIDGE programme bridges the gap between fundamental research and technology development and is a joint effort between the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), which provides funding for fundamental research, and Innosuisse, which provides funding for technology development. For young researchers at an early stage of their career, the BRIDGE Proof of Concept scheme provides funding to apply their research results and gain the confidence to enter the market. Experienced Researchers may apply to BRIDGE Discovery, which offers contributions to help them realise the innovation potential of their research findings.

A quick look at what is to come

Along with the changes mentioned, Innosuisse has also given us a short glimpse at what is still to come. Most interesting is their goal to go global. By the end of the year there will be an international strategy.

accelopment`s experience with CTI/KTI projects

As CTI/KTI has come to an end, so are two projects we supported in receiving funding. DLX was active in the financial sector and Der Wert der beruflichen Weiterbildung created a model to evaluate the return on education of higher education. Alongside that, we supported more than a dozen CTI/KTI proposals as part of our work for ManuFuture-CH and the energie-cluster.ch. We helped both consortia during the stressful proposal preparation phase successfully.

Do you have a project suited for Innosuisse, Eurostars or another funding scheme for research and innovation? Then do not hesitate to contact us. Find out more on our proposal preparation services here.

Sources and helpful links