Innosuisse helps companies bear innovation risks according to new survey

Bern, 08.12.2020 - For the first time, as part of the Innovation Survey the Swiss Economic Institute KOF at ETH Zurich also surveyed all companies that had submitted applications for innovation projects and innovation cheques to Innosuisse, the Swiss Innovation Agency. The study shows that Innosuisse supports highly innovative companies’ risky innovation projects. For Innosuisse, the results emphasise the fact that the two funding instruments examined are very well geared to the needs of innovative SMEs and are appreciated accordingly.

The results provide a deeper insight into the innovation behaviour of funding clients and allow a comparison to be made with other innovative Swiss companies that have not submitted an application to Innosuisse. They underline three special characteristics of the companies supported by Innosuisse.

Innosuisse supports innovation projects of particularly innovative companies

All of the survey’s innovation indicators show that Innosuisse promotes innovative companies in particular. Innosuisse’s project funding reaches a comparatively large number of young, strongly export-oriented companies, which are less exposed to competition in their market and more productive than companies that do not apply for support. They also expect market demand to increase in the future. The survey also shows that 80 percent of Innosuisse’s funding clients are classified as innovative, compared with 64 percent in the high-tech sector and 33 percent in the economy as a whole according to the figures from the Swiss Innovation Survey. Furthermore, the share of expenditure on research and development (R&D) is much higher in supported companies as a percentage of turnover. They are also investing more heavily in R&D abroad and in cooperation with external partners.

Bearing higher innovation risks

According to the survey, Innosuisse approves innovation projects considered by the applicant companies to be higher risk. Innosuisse thus helps companies to bear their higher innovation risks.

Support for more efficient innovation activities

The results show that the funding agency supports innovation projects of companies that produce above-average economically successful innovations with relatively fewer funding for R&D. Innosuisse’s funding clients are thus more efficient in translating their R&D efforts into new and commercially successful products or services. They also have higher sales shares of products that are new to the market. This underlines the innovative strength of the funding clients.

For the authors of the KOF study, Professor Martin Wörter and Andrin Spescha, certain differences were to be expected between the companies supported by Innosuisse and other companies that are active in research and development in Switzerland. But it is nevertheless surprising to see the clear differences in the three characteristics mentioned. Furthermore, the survey shows that the funding clients rate the benefit of Innosuisse’s project funding as high. Almost 80 percent of the companies surveyed rate the funding as useful or very useful. The riskier the projects, the higher the estimated benefit. SMEs see additional needs with regard to making funding more flexible, supporting radical innovations and accelerating the innovation process.

For this analysis on behalf of Innosuisse, the KOF surveyed all 2,200 companies that had applied for support for innovation projects or innovation cheques between 2016 and 2018, in addition to the KOF Innovation Survey in 2019. This study compares these results with the results of the KOF Innovation Survey that is representative of the whole of Switzerland, published on 27 November 2020. This shows that 11 percent of companies active in research and development in Switzerland with more than five employees have applied to Innosuisse for support for their innovation projects.

Innosuisse is the Swiss Innovation Agency. Its role is to promote science-based innovation in the interests of the economy and the society in Switzerland. Among other things, Innosuisse funds up to 50 percent of the costs of innovation projects carried out by industrial partners, SMEs, start-ups and private or public organisations together with a research partner.

Address for enquiries

Innosuisse Communication
Eliane Kersten and Lukas Krienbuehl
Co-Heads of Communication
+41 58 481 84 73

Authors of the survey:
Dr Andrin Spescha and Prof. Dr Martin Wörter
+41 44 633 99 48


Innosuisse – Swiss Innovation Promotion Agency