The Research and Innovation Promotion Act (Federal Act of 14 December 2012 on the Promotion of Research and Innovation (RIPA)) designates the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences and Innosuisse as the organs responsible for promoting research in Switzerland. These organs receive federal subsidies through SERI for their activities in promoting research and innovation.
The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)
The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) will receive a federal credit of around CHF 4.6 billion between 2021 and 2024. The SNSF is the most important federal instrument for promoting research and nurturing the next generation of scientists. The private foundation, which was set up in 1952, supports scientific research at universities and independent research institutes. The main thrust of the SNSF's activity is the financing of high-quality individual projects in the sphere of independent basic research. The promotion of young scientific talent is achieved through grants for future and advanced researchers as well as exchange programmes with various partner countries. The SNSF has also been assigned by the Federal Council and Parliament to carry out various research programmes:
Innosuisse - Swiss Innovation Agency
Innosuisse is the federal government's funding agency for science-based innovation for business and society. Its mission is to build a bridge between research and the market for the purpose of driving and accelerating innovation processes. As such, it acts as a catalyst for innovation by encouraging businesses and research institutions to work together on innovation projects. Its tasks also include supporting science-based entrepreneurship and the creation and development of science-based companies. Innosuisse also supports the use of knowledge as well as knowledge and technology transfer (KTT) between universities, businesses and society.
The Federal Council manages Innosuisse by establishing a series of strategic objectives. Each year, the Innosuisse Board submits a report to the Federal Council on achievement of these objectives.
Innosuisse's core activity and main budget item (around 70% of the total budget) is innovation project support, which takes the form of co-funding of project proposals submitted to Innosuisse by business and research partners. On the research side, partners tend to be university institutes or non-commercial research institutions outside the higher education sphere. On the business side, companies are involved with the practical implementation of research ideas. Research proposals are submitted to Innosuisse through the bottom-up principle. This approach allows businesses and society to benefit from the expertise of both university research institutions and non-commercial research institutions without receiving any direct subsidy from Innosuisse, since all federal funding is paid directly to the research partner. Prospective projects are selected on the basis of their innovative potential with respect to current projects on the market. Selection of eligible projects is carried out by the Innosuisse Innovation Council whose members are representatives of the research and business community and who work for Innosuisse on a part-time basis.
Support for entrepreneurship
Innosuisse also fosters the creation and development of science-based companies by providing tailor-made training modules to budding entrepreneurs. This training equips them with the tools and methodology needed to successfully implement a promising business idea through a new company. Young entrepreneurs can also apply for professional coaching. Support is provided for knowledge-intensive and technology-based companies offering great market potential.
Knowledge and technology transfer
Innosuisse provides targeted, performance-based support for knowledge and technology transfer between universities, businesses and society. The support mechanisms 'innovation mentoring', 'national thematic networks' and 'thematic platforms' offer SMEs services to facilitate the transfer of innovative knowledge from universities and the search for solutions catering to company-specific needs. Innovative Swiss companies and researchers also gain access to development opportunities through international programmes and networks such as EUREKA or ERA-Net.
Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences
The Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences is an association of four academies of sciences: the Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT), the Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences (SAHS), the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences (SAMS) and the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW). Complemented by the centres of excellence TA-SWISS and Science et Cité, this association is intended to enable the expertise and resources of member institutions to be pooled together for the purpose of jointly addressing the following core tasks:
- Early identification and communication of socially-relevant developments in the areas of education, research and innovation, as well as their potential consequences;
- Efforts to raise awareness of ethically based responsibility both in the production and practical application of scientific knowledge;
- Fostering dialogue based on a partnership between science and society with the aim of promoting mutual understanding;
The academies serve as a bridge between science and society. They promote greater public understanding of scientific issues, foster cooperation with relevant institutions abroad and international organisations, conduct studies and research on science and science policy and support research work by providing scientific assistance.
The academies also coordinate specific medium- and long-term scientific projects (companies, commissions, forums):
- SAHS companies, commissions, forums
- SCNAT companies, commissions, forums
- SAMS companies, commissions, forums
- SATW companies, commissions, forums
- Swiss Personalized Health Network (SPHN)
The academies and centres of excellence will receive CHF 196,5 million in federal funding for the budgetary period 2021–2024.
SNSF performance agreement 2021-2024
Innosuisse strategic objectives for 2021-2024
Framework Agreement with Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences for 2021-2024
Additional protocol to the framework agreement for 2021-2024: Tasks of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences (SAMS) in relation to the Swiss Personal Health Network (SPHN) initiative (german) (PDF, 542 kB, 03.06.2021)
Additional Protocol to the framework agreement for 2021-2024: Tasks of the Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT) in relation to the digitalisation and accessibility of scientific collections for research purposes (german) (PDF, 552 kB, 28.05.2021)