CTI allocates CHF 60 million to support SME innovation projects

Bern, 24.01.2017 - The 2016 special measures to mitigate the effects of the strong franc, put in place by the Commission for Technology and Innovation CTI on behalf of the Federal Council and Parliament, have been concluded. 161 innovation projects were conducted by export-oriented SMEs; the additional credit of CHF 61 million was used up almost entirely.

Between the beginning of July and the end of December 2016, 335 applications were evaluated for funding totalling around CHF 142 million. 161 projects were approved, receiving funding of CHF 60.3 million, which is an approval rate of around 48 per cent. The overriding consideration during the evaluations was on the quality of applications. Each application was carefully and thoroughly examined by independent experts from science and industry to ensure that there was a correlation with the strong value of the franc, and that the approved applications were of a high quality.

The facilitated conditions of the special measures (see below) met with great interest on the part of SMEs. In the cases of 90 projects, the implementing partner contribution and the cash contribution were reduced. In six cases, only the implementing partner contribution was reduced, and in 65 projects, only the cash contribution was reduced. The SMEs were also keen to make use of the CTI’s innovation mentors, who advised and supported the businesses with their plans.

Diverse range of projects largely in the field of engineering sciences

The largest number of approved projects came from the field of engineering sciences – 68 in total (CHF 24 million). This is partly due to the fact that the sector consists of a large number of SMEs from the mechanical and electrical engineering industry, and this is one of the largest exporting branches of our country.

The approved projects cover a wide range of proposals: one project team from eastern Switzerland, for example, wants to develop a system for testing ropes made from high performance textiles. This should allow the condition of ropes used in elevator or ropeways to be accurately assessed. Another project team is starting work on a robot that can wire electrical cabinets and distribution panels and be cost-effective for small-scale installations. Both systems could meet with a great deal of interest on international markets.

The CTI will provide more detailed information about the special measures in the 2016 Activity Report, which will be published in the spring.

Facilitated conditions for innovation funding
The 2016 special measures consisted of the following:

  • Reduction of cash contribution from business partners in innovation projects
  • The usual rule whereby private implementation partners are expected to cover half of the project costs of CTI-funded innovation projects was eased to allow for a minimum own contribution of 30%.
  • The involvement of CTI innovation mentors to advise on SME innovation plans was intensified.

The Federal Council requested CHF 61 million in additional resources for the CTI from Parliament to implement these measures (see press release). Parliament approved the release of the funds in the summer session (see press release).

The funds were distributed across the CTI’s funding areas as follows:

Engineering Sciences

  • Federal funding (in CHFm): 24.0
  • No. of approuved projects: 68

Micro- and nanotechnologies

  • Federal funding (in CHFm): 17.0
  • No. of approuved projects: 42

Enabling Sciences

  • Federal funding (in CHFm): 7.0
  • No. of approuved projects: 22

Life Sciences

  • Federal funding (in CHFm): 12.3
  • No. of approuved projects: 29

For more details such as the implementation timeframe, conditions and frequently asked questions, visit www.kti.admin.ch/specialmeasures.

Address for enquiries

CTI Media Office
Tel. +41 58 469 18 77


Commission for Technology and Innovation - as of 1.1.2018 Innosuisse – Swiss Innovation Promotion Agency