Switzerland is currently a non-associated third country in Horizon Europe, the EU framework programme for research and innovation. This status does not allow participation in the Accelerator funding instrument of the European Innovation Council (EIC), which supports innovative small and medium-sized enterprises. This concerns Swiss SMEs and, in particular, start-ups. In its autumn 2021 session, Parliament therefore included a provision in the Federal Act on the Promotion of Research and Innovation (RIPA) to allow the Swiss Innovation Agency (Innosuisse) to implement its own programme as long as Swiss companies cannot participate in EIC Accelerator calls for proposals.
On 4 March, the Federal Council decided that this legislative provision would come into force on 15 April 2022 and approved the related amendment to the Innosuisse Funding Ordinance. It also approved and submitted to Parliament the financial resources for Innosuisse's transitional measures for the 2022 EIC Accelerator calls for proposals. Innosuisse will publish the calls implementing these measures on its website.The remaining provisions of the revised law, which mainly concern the promotion of innovation, are planned to enter into force on 1 January 2023. The revised law increases Innosuisse's room for manoeuvre and flexibility by allowing companies to contribute between 40 and 60% of the total costs of innovation projects as Innosuisse implementation partners. Up to now, a 50% contribution has been the rule. In future, Innosuisse may determine a higher (above 60%) or lower (below 40%) partner contribution in individual cases. Special emphasis will now be placed on funding innovation projects by start-ups. Innosuisse will be able to directly support start-up innovation projects preparing for their market entry.
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