Federal Council submits dispatch on Swiss Innovation Park

Bern, 06.03.2015 - Today, the Federal Council submitted its dispatch to parliament on the design and support to be given to the new Swiss Innovation Park. Acting in subsidiary fashion, it wishes to take two measures in support of this generation project: a limited-term framework credit of CHF 350 million to be used as collateral and a landmark decision on the awarding of construction rights for federally-owned land. The Innovation Park should help to maintain Switzerland’s leading role as a nation of innovators and reinforce its competitive position.

In 2012, the Federal Assembly adopted the complete revision of the Research and Innovation Promotion Act (RIPA), which establishes the legal basis enabling the Confederation to provide support for an Innovation Park. The Federal Council Dispatch covers the intensive preparatory work, carried out mainly by the cantons, higher education institutions and the private sector, and describes the specific design of the Swiss Innovation Park. The initial configuration provides for two hub sites based in the vicinity of the two federal institutes of technology in Zurich and Lausanne, as well as - for the time being - two network sites, one in the canton of Aargau and the other in the region of Northwestern Switzerland. The design and structure are flexible enough to allow the Swiss Innovation Park to develop in a dynamic fashion. Its umbrella organisation will be a private foundation in accordance with the provisions of RIPA.

With its budget proposal, the Federal Council requests a framework credit of CHF 350 million to be used as collateral for earmarked loans. With this capital on hand, the new foundation will be able to obtain capital funding at advantageous conditions, thereby providing the various site hosts with the loans needed to pre-finance research infrastructures (equipment, facilities). The credit would not be used to finance construction and will be limited in duration and earmarked for specific purposes; the Federal Council will release funding in stages.

Today the Federal Council decided that in support of the Innovation Park, that construction rights may be awarded for federally-owned land without prejudice to ground rents to be paid in exchange for these construction rights. Since this decision affects the Confederation's most strategic land reserve, specifically a portion of land currently used for the Dübendorf military airfield, the Federal Council has also decided to submit this landmark decision to parliament for approval.

Parliament is expected to debate the Federal Council Dispatch in the course of the current year. At the same time, the EAER will proceed with follow-up analysis to determine whether other network sites that have not yet been taken into consideration might be included in the Innovation Park prior to inauguration in 2016.

The Swiss Innovation Park will be built by the host cantons, the private sector and participating higher education institutions. The Confederation will not act as a sponsor. The two support measures mentioned in the Federal Council Dispatch are a reflection of this subsidiary role.

Address for enquiries

Noé Blancpain, Head of Information,
Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research EAER
Tel. +41 58 462 39 60, noe.blancpain@gs-wbf.admin.ch

Gregor Haefliger, Vice Director, State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation SERI,
Tel. +41 58 462 96 76, gregor.haefliger@sbfi.admin.ch


The Federal Council

Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research