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UZH Innovation Hub

Receiving Innosuisse Funding


How do I set up an innovation project and get funding from Innosuisse? Advice from experts at a recent event. 

At an event on November 8, more than 20 researchers from the University of Zurich were given an insight into the world of Innosuisseprojects - the second-largest state funding instrument for research in Switzerland. 

Following the trend that university researchers are increasingly interested in seeing their findings translated into practical innovations, the Digital Society Initiative (DSI) and the UZH Innovation Office organized an event to talk about Innosuisse funding programs. While the interest is there, many researchers experience practical hurdles in the actual preparation of applications. At the event, researchers from the University of Zurich were able to learn first-hand how these hurdles can be overcome. 

“For a long time, the prejudice persisted that Innosuisse funding for research projects was not relevant for most university researchers because it was too application-oriented and the search for industry partners too laborious. This has changed,” says Markus Christen, Managing Director DSI. 

In a presentation by Ingo Hebach from EU GrantsAccess, attendees were given an overview of the numerous funding opportunities offered by Innosuisse - from “Innovation Cheque” for the rapid assessment of ideas, to classic partner projects with industry and larger flagship projects. He also emphasized that project submissions without funding partners are possible. 

In a panel discussion moderated by Maria Olivares from the UZH Innovation Office, three researchers reported on their experiences with Innosuisse projects. Henning Richter, Head of the Diagnostic Imaging Research Unit at the Vetsuisse Faculty, emphasized the importance of the “Innovation Cheque” as a low-threshold instrument for trying out new ideas. Computational linguist Sarah Ebling - who heads the Innosuisse flagship project “Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies” – talked to the possibility of doing long-term research projects as part of Innosuisse flagship projects. Medical IT specialist Michael Krauthammer - who also works as an Innosuisse expert himself -discussed the differences in working with industry and research partners. He stressed that it is important to keep in mind that when you are jointly developing a solution with an external partner there is a stronger focus on setting up clear project plans and milestones. This calls for an adaptation in how we plan and work as such clear milestones are usually not even possible in basic research projects. In conclusion, all participants in the round table agreed that Innosuisse is a promising funding instrument that also provides researchers valuable insights into practical problems. 

The next workshop on Innosuisse funding will take place on November 30th and is organized by the Therapy Development Accelerator. Please reach out to them if you would like to join. 

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