Collaborating with academic partners for research development and innovation (RDI) projects offers significant benefits and opportunities for companies. Access to expert researchers with specific knowledge and skills can lead to new products, partnerships, and eventually to growth.
At the cantonal level, the New Regional Policy (NRP) from the Canton of Fribourg provides financial support for RDI projects that aim to achieve qualitative and sustainable growth and improve the attractiveness of the canton. The Collaborative projects tackle innovative challenges, as a pre-competitive research or creating new value chains, in collaboration with several companies and academic partners. At the national level, Innosuisse is the Swiss innovation agency that supports and promotes research and innovation. The Innovation cheques provide the company with a voucher to perform idea analyses with a research partner. The Innovation projects, bigger in terms of budget and scope, encourage collaboration to turn innovative ideas into successful commercial products, services, or processes.
Companies can access both NRP and Innosuisse funding tools in a complementary manner to bring an innovation to the market. Pascal Bruegger, professor at HEIA-FR, shares his experience: “Our project Hestia, an intelligent medical data exchange platform, was developed thanks to the collaboration between academic and economic partners. First, the project benefited from an Innosuisse cheque in order to study some machine and federated learning aspects. We are currently running a NRP collaborative project with regional companies in the IT and medical sectors in order to carry out the software development phase. When the platform will be running, we plan to apply for an Innosuisse project to integrate artificial intelligence into the solution.”
Bloom Biorenewables, a startup in Canton Fribourg transforming biomass into renewable chemicals, materials, and fuels creating an alternative to petroleum benefited from these funding tools. Philip Scholten, Chief Innovation Officer at Bloom, comments: "Local swiss funding is a real differentiator for Switzerland and the canton of Fribourg. It allows to create value locally and grow the local network with key partners for our developments. Bloom has immensely benefited from both regional and national funding in the past. Such funding for innovative solutions is key for a successful development and implementation of sustainable solutions and for the future growth of the local industry."
These collaborations and funding tools encourage compagnies in their R&D efforts and allow them to accelerate their innovation process.