Federal Council approves public law agreement on innovation park and provides initial funding guarantees

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Bern, 05.04.2017 - On 5 April 2017 the Federal Council entered into agreements with the Switzerland Innovation Foundation and approved guarantees for an initial CHF 150 million of funding for the Swiss Innovation Park. This means that concrete project proposals for research infrastructures as well as technological platforms and installations can now be considered.

Parliament has approved a federal framework credit of CHF 350 million francs to cover financial guarantees for the Swiss Innovation Park. The credit is divided into three instalments. The Federal Act on the Promotion of Research and Innovation provides for the conclusion of a public law agreement between the Confederation and the Swiss Innovation Park’s national umbrella organisation, Switzerland Innovation.

On 21 December 2016 the Federal Council approved an agreement in which the principles of cooperation between the Confederation and the foundation were defined. On the basis of earlier decisions made by the Federal Council and Parliament, the agreement also established the Switzerland Innovation network with its local institutions, defining the stages of its possible future development, and provided for a supplementary agreement on financial guarantees. On 5 April the Federal Council approved the supplementary agreement, setting out the details of the system of loan guarantees, the principles of the procedure and the responsibilities of those concerned. At the same time, the Federal Council agreed to guarantee an initial sum of CHF 150 million, meaning that it will already stand as surety this year for the first project proposals, once they are approved.

The Switzerland Innovation Foundation now expects to receive project proposals from its local institutions very soon. The projects undergo a three-phase application procedure, with the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation SERI deciding on individual surety cases on the basis of recommendations made by Switzerland Innovation.

The innovation park is a long-term project to promote Switzerland’s attractiveness and competitiveness as a location for research and innovation. The local institutions are cantons, higher education institutions and the private sector. The Switzerland Innovation Foundation acts as the umbrella organisation; the Confederation plays a subsidiary role.

The Confederation provides financial guarantees in a number of policy areas. Its experience with providing such guarantees was analysed and the findings were taken into account when setting up the guarantee scheme for the Swiss Innovation Park.