The CTI is the federal innovation promotion agency responsible for encouraging science-based innovation in Switzerland by providing financing, professional advice and networks.
The CTI operates on the principle of subsidiarity, supporting innovation projects which, due to lack of funding, would not otherwise be possible, or whose market potential could not be realised. It is active in cases where initiatives in the private sector can be supported by state measures. By helping to transfer research results into concrete marketable products, the CTI helps to improve the competitiveness of Swiss businesses, particularly SMEs, thereby contributing to a strong, innovative economy in Switzerland.
The CTI innovation chain
The three CTI funding areas are closely linked. The R&D project funding area promotes basic research, whilst Knowledge and Technology Transfer (KTT) and Start-up and Entrepreneurship concentrate on applied research. The CTI identifies obstacles to innovation and its instruments help to overcome barriers existing between public research institutions and the private sector.
R&D project funding
The CTI’s task is to help innovative products and services onto the market to the benefit of the Swiss economy, by encouraging higher education institutions and businesses to carry out joint research and development projects. Companies, especially SMEs, can thereby benefit from the infrastructure in the research institutions and bring their innovative products and services to market.
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Start-up & Entrepreneurship
The CTI is tasked with promoting entrepreneurship and supporting innovative business ideas. The CTI programmes and networks provide the skills and methods necessary to successfully turn a business idea into a new company. The instruments used include training courses for potential and active young entrepreneurs and coaching and support in searching for investors.
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KTT stands for knowledge and technology transfer between businesses and research circles. This funding area brings together businesses, especially SMEs, and public research institutions in cases where contact has not otherwise been established. The aim is to create partnerships which will then act as drivers of innovation in Switzerland.
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Special task: Energy research
In order to achieve the Federal Council’s and parliament’s objective of gradually phasing out nuclear power by 2035, a stronger focus is being placed on energy research between 2013 and 2016. Research networks among universities, named the Swiss Competence Centres for Energy Research (SCCERs), have been set up to establish the potential for efficiency savings and the opportunities presented by renewables. The CTI is responsible for creating and funding the SCCERs, supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). The CTI is also funding extra R&D projects relating to energy.
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