The Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI) has identified five priority areas to encourage innovation in Switzerland. Here is an introduction.
Swiss companies will face major challenges in the coming years, as the onward march of globalization increases international competition, demographic changes result in an aging population and the lifespan of knowledge shortens each day. For SMEs, the capacity for innovation will play an ever-increasing role in order for them to remain competitive and stand out.
The Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI) is well aware of this. To help the Swiss economy remain at the cutting edge of innovation, the agency has identified five action areas considered as priorities during the period from 2013-2016:
- Encouraging R&D projects. Support for research and development (R&D) – a flagship objective for the CTI – requires knowledge transfer between academic research and the private economy. The agency encourages companies to communicate their needs to universities, and scientists to transform their discoveries into marketable products with the help of companies. In particular, the CTI has introduced "innovation vouchers", which are granted to companies to acquire research services.
- Encouraging entrepreneurship. The agency is planning to strengthen its "CTI Entrepreneurship” initiative, which offers training to young graduates planning to launch a start-up. The CTI also wants to extend its coaching program for start-up founders, facilitating access to networks, investors and know-how.
- Supporting knowledge and technology transfer. The CTI intends to ensure that SMEs benefit more from the expertise of Swiss universities. Knowledge transfer will be encouraged, particularly via "national thematic networks" between academic environments and the private sector, which will focus on projects of national rather than regional importance. SMEs will also be able to benefit from the CTI's innovation experts and its information platforms.
- Strengthening cooperation. The CTI plans to encourage cooperation between the various partners at a national as well as international level.
- Developing the CTI's resources. In order to remain the preferred partner in Switzerland for innovation, the agency is striving to optimize its processes and attract the best specialists while securing long-term funding.