Swiss Success Stories

Participation in the European Union's Framework Programmes for Research and Innovation (FPRI) enables Swiss players in research and innovation to integrate themselves into this internationally competitive environment. The importance of the FPs extends far beyond funding. A selection of Swiss success stories can be found on this page.

Using an ancient force more efficiently

  • Hydropower plants PERformance and flexiBle Operation towards Lean integration of new renewable Energies
  • Project duration: 09/2013 – 02/2017
  • Number of project partners: 10, Number of countries: 6
  • Total budget: € 6'294'644, Budget of Swiss Partner: € 1'628'270

The history of hydropower goes back a long way. Historians estimate that it was used in China 5000 years ago. In 1866, Werner von Siemens succeeded for the first time in converting hydropower into electricity. This was followed in 1880 by the first commissioning of a hydroelectric power plant in Great Britain. Since then, hydroelectric power has become increasingly important as a source of electricity, not least because of its inexhaustible potential as a renewable energy source. Recently, the EU issued a directive that dictates a massive increase in the use of renewable energy sources. Hydropower plants will have to play a major role in achieving these ambitious targets.


“Thanks to EU funding, it has been possible to establish international collaboration between key players.“

Prof. François Avellan
EPFL Lausanne

The 3D laser printer no bigger than a shoebox

  • Femtosecond laser printer for glass microsystems with nanoscale features
  • Project duration: 05/2010 – 04/2013
  • Number of project partners: 9, Number of countries: 5
  • Total budget: € 3'391'780, Budget of Swiss Partner: € 161'699

“I am grateful to the EU framework programme. Without it, our company FEMTOprint would not exist.” These are the words of Nicoletta Casanova, co-founder and CEO of FEMTOprint SA, a high-tech company in Ticino which has won several awards. The company continues to expand and currently employs around twenty specialists.


“The success of FEMTOprint is an incentive for companies from Ticino to participate and apply for FP projects. In doing so they are supported by regional institutions in Ticino.“

Nicoletta Casanova
Co-founder and CEO

Native fodder plants reduce nitrogen emissions

  • Optimising plant polyphenols in LEGUMES for ruminant nutrition PLUS health PLUS environ-mental sustainability
  • Project duration: 01/2012 – 12/2015
  • Number of project partners: 8, Number of countries: 6
  • Total budget: € 4'097'982, Budget of Swiss Partner: € 751'172

Global challenges such as climate change and rapid population growth pose a threat to our food security on the long term. One way of dealing with such threats is to improve the efficiency of ruminant fodder production and use. But there is no need to reinvent the wheel, as the LegumePlus project, launched in 2012 under the EU framework programme, shows.


“Such a project offers an ideal platform for international, intersectoral and interdisciplinary collaboration.”

Dr. Frigga Dohme-Meier
Head of the research group at the Agroscope research institute

TABULA RASA in the world of biometric systems

  • Trusted Biometrics under Spoofing Attacks
  • Project duration: 11/2010 – 04/2014
  • Number of project partners: 12, Number of countries: 7
  • Total budget: € 5'567'257, Budget of Swiss Partner: € 737'886

A technique which featured only in sci-fi films a few years ago is now an integral part of real life: machines equipped with facial and vocal recognition software are now widespread. Smartphones, tablets and passports – all contain personal and confidential information that can be protected by a biometric system. But biometric sensors still have some weaknesses. This makes deceptive attacks possible while concealing one’s own identity (so-called spoofing attacks). For example, scammers can try to bypass the facial recognition system by using other people’s photos or masks.


„TABULA RASA has given rise to a number of spin-off projects funded under FP7 and Horizon 2020 and by national promotion agencies throughout Europe.“

Dr. Sébastien Marcel
Idiap research institute
Martigny (VS)

Welfare state priorities – helping to find compromises

  • Welfare state politics under pressure: Identifying priorities, trade-offs and reform opportunities among citizens, political and economic elites
  • Project duration: 09/2017 – 08/2022
  • Number of project partners: 1, Number of countries: 1
  • Total budget: € 1'474'133, Budget of Swiss Partner: € 1'474'133

When cuts need to be made, countries are faced with making difficult decisions and compromises in their welfare policies. When resources are tight, whose risks should the social security system safeguard? Should the welfare state give priority to the needs of older or younger people? Of workers or the unemployed? Of the country’s nationals or immigrants?


„Right from the start, the project attracted a lot of interest among political parties, decision-makers and the media.“

Prof. Silja Häusermann
University of Zurich

New ways to address the problem of water pollution

  • Microorganism and enzyme Immobilization: Novel Techniques and Approaches for Upgraded Remediation of Underground-, wastewater and Soil
  • Project duration: 01/2011 – 12/2013
  • Number of project partners: 16, Number of countries: 8
  • Total budget: € 3'914'682, Budget of Swiss Partner: € 494'137

Industry, agriculture and modern living standards leave their mark on the environment. For example, traces of industrial chemicals, drug residues and personal care products can be found almost everywhere in the water cycle. Wastewater from households and industry contains drugs such as antibiotics, hormones and organic compounds. This not only poses a threat to human and animal health, but also compromises the supply of clean drinking water in some parts of the world.


“Participation in EU projects and coordination initiatives are an extremely useful means of improving the visibility of our research.“

Prof. Philippe Corvini
University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW)

Health in old age for everyone

  • Lifecourse biological pathways underlying social differences in healthy ageing
  • Project duration: 05/2015 – 04/2019
  • Number of project partners: 17, Number of countries: 11
  • Total budget: € 7'259'113, Budget of Swiss Partner: € 841'525

Various studies show that differences in social, economic and ecological conditions that people experience during their lives can lead to considerable differences in terms of their health. The disadvantaged are more likely to develop certain illnesses such as diabetes. This group also demonstrates a higher mortality rate and therefore also have shorter life expectancy.


“Lifepath has been one of the most enriching experiences in my career so far.“

Dr. Silvia Stringhini
University Hospital Vaud (CHUV)

Data stored safely in the cloud

  • Secure Big Data Processing in Untrusted Clouds
  • Project duration: 01/2016 – 12/2018
  • Number of project partners: 7, Number of countries: 6
  • Total budget: € 2'285'377, Budget of Swiss Partner: € 537'000

It is becoming increasingly common for data, including sensitive data such as banking details, to be stored not on a local server but in what is known as ‘the cloud’. Furthermore, it is becoming more common for businesses to offer their online services directly from a cloud. This is practical and reduces costs, but it also carries risks: in the cloud, data is more exposed to non-authorised persons than when it is kept locally. Large-scale cyberattacks such as Petya in 2016 and WannaCry in 2017 can cause huge damage and completely paralyse entire businesses.


„In the medium term, the project could lead to legislative adjustments.“

Prof. Pascal Felber
University of Neuchâtel