BRIDGE projects harvest startups

08.06.2018 09:58
Technology transfer

The new BRIDGE programme has supported 40 projects through the journey of transforming their research into actual products and services. First projects have already evolved into start-ups.

Two years ago, Innosuisse and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) launched the BRIGDE funding programme to support young researchers who are dedicated to translating their research findings into a feasible startup during a period of at least one year. Before, researchers hoping to develop practical applications for their discoveries were unable to turn to the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), because its core mission is to support research. By the same token, many projects were not yet sufficiently mature to benefit from the support of Innosuisse. It’s precisely this gap that BRIDGE fills.

The BRIDGE programme offers support in two categories. The first funding scheme - Proof of Concept - supports young researchers (bachelor's degree and higher) who want to develop an innovative application based on their own research results. The projects may target innovations of all kinds from all research areas. Funding is generally awarded for 12 months but may be extended to 18 months for special reasons. The applicants' salaries and any materials directly linked to the project are eligible for funding under this funding line.

As a second line of funding, Discovery is aimed at experienced researchers seeking interactions between basic and applied research to assess and if possible realize the innovation potential of the research results. Only technological innovations with a strong societal or economic impact will be funded. Projects can last for up to 4 years and can be submitted by an individual or by a consortium consisting of up to three research institutions. The salaries of the project staff and project-related materials can be charged to the grant. 

40 projects supported
Launched in December 2016 by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and Innosuisse, the BRIDGE funding programme is already supporting some 40 projects. One of the successful outcomes from one of the supported research projects is the startup AgroSustain, founded by Olga Dubey.

Dubey is currently the CEO of her own startup. During her Ph.D. studies, she discovered a natural compound effective against fungal plant pathogens that damage many fruits and vegetables. To further refine her findings and transform them into a feasible business, she received a BRIDGE Proof of Concept grant. “We have just applied for a patent and launched our start-up Agrosustain. Starting next year, we plan to offer our compounds to big Swiss agro-food companies”, says Dubey. “Without the financial support provided by BRIDGE, my discovery might have been relegated to the cemetery of good ideas that never materialized,” adds Dubey.

Launched one year ago, the programme has been a resounding success with researchers. “We have received many more applications than we anticipated,” says Martin Müller, Chair of the BRIDGE Proof of Concept evaluation panel and a former industry executive. He is confident: “Based on the quality of the selected projects, several start-ups are bound to emerge thanks to BRIDGE support.” 

Call for proposals are announced on the BRIDGE Website.

(Press release / RAN / SK)

Picture: Fotolia / Vasyl

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