UNIGE and FONGIT strengthen their support for innovation

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Technology developed by FluoSphera: fluorescent cells are encapsulated in fluore

Technology developed by FluoSphera: fluorescent cells are encapsulated in fluorescent alginate capsules, allowing the measurement of multiple biological activities in multiple tissues in communication. Visualisation by light microscopy (left) or fluorescence microscopy (right). UNIGE

This new partnership offers Geneva-based start-ups easier access to research laboratories and new funding opportunities. A first project is taking off.

The University of Geneva and FONGIT, the foundation supporting technological entrepreneurship in the canton of Geneva, have announced a strengthening of their collaboration in favor of Geneva start-ups. Companies hosted by FONGIT now have full access to the laboratories of the Science Innovation HUB of the University of Geneva Faculty of Science. Another important partnership is that local start-ups can combine the UNIGE’s INNOGAP grant with a grant from the FONGIT Innovation Fund (FIF) for a total of CHF 80,000. As a result of these collaborations, FluoSphera’s development is accelerating.

Start-ups active in the life sciences, supported by FONGIT, can now benefit from privileged access to the research laboratories of the Science Innovation Hub. This university pre-incubator, which is part of the University of Geneva’s innovation ecosystem, aims to help researchers exploit the commercial potential of their fundamental research. "This partnership will enable Geneva’s most promising start-ups to benefit from first-rate research conditions capable of fostering the emergence of flagships [MC1]  while rationalizing investments," says Jérôme Lacour, dean of the University of Geneva’s Faculty of Sciences.

Facilitated financingfor UNIGE and HUG spin-offs

Emerging spin-offs from the UNIGE and the University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG) who have been able to benefit from the INNOGAP grant of 30,000 francs offered by Unitec, the technology and skills transfer office of the University of Geneva, the HUG and the HES-SO Geneva, will now have accelerated access to the additional funding of 50,000 francs offered by the FONGIT Innovation Fund. For Laurent Miéville, director of Unitec, "this double boost to our promising young spin-offs will enable them to perfect their product more quickly".

The INNOGAP grants support researchers from the UNIGE or the HUG in their efforts to advance their scientific discoveries towards a concrete application.

For Antonio Gambardella, Director of FONGIT, "the objective is to promote and enhance the research carried out within our academic centers of excellence to contribute - through innovative entrepreneurship - to creating the economy and jobs of tomorrow".

Created at the beginning of 2021, the FIF is a financing tool resulting from the collaboration between FONGIT and the State of Geneva. The objective of this fund is to accelerate the growth of Geneva-based technological innovation projects. It offers grants of up to CHF 50,000 for scientific research projects aimed at launching a new product, process, or service that meets a social or economic need and has a potential market.

For the past 10 years, INNOGAP has been supporting researchers from the UNIGE and the HUG in their efforts to advance their scientific discoveries towards a practical application.

FluoSphera, the first start-up to be supported

FluoSphera, a spin-off of the University of Geneva, was recently awarded an INNOGAP grant of CHF 30,000 and was quickly awarded a complementary grant of CHF 50,000 from the FONGIT Innovation Fund. FluoSphera is active in the life sciences and uses the precision of fluorescent light to measure several biological processes in different cell types simultaneously. The start-up, which benefited from the Science Innovation Hub’s pre-incubation program and has now joined FONGIT’s life sciences incubation program, will continue to benefit from access to the Science Innovation Hub’s laboratories, accelerating its development towards the market.

About the University of Geneva

The University of Geneva ranks among the top 100 universities in the world. Founded in 1559 by Jean Calvin and Théodore de Bèze, it welcomes more than 19,000 students in its nine faculties and thirteen academic centers. Internationally recognized for the quality of its research, it is also a member of the European League of Research Universities (LERU). It is [MC2]  constantly strengthening its ties with international and non-governmental organizations in Geneva, one of the world’s capitals of multilateralism. The UNIGE pursues three missions: teaching, research and service to the community.

About FONGIT

Founded in 1991 and the first technological incubator in Switzerland, the mission of the Geneva Foundation for Technological Innovation, FONGIT, is to support entrepreneurs in the process of innovation, which consists of the transformation of their idea or invention into products or services, generating economic and social value and providing a sustainable benefit for Geneva. FONGIT is a private non-profit foundation recognized as being of public utility and supported by the State of Geneva. Today, FONGIT supports more than 100 technological projects totalling some 800 highly qualified jobs with a strong multiplier effect on the local economy.

September 29, 2021

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