Latest news & views

Innosuisse grant to boost sport innovation in Switzerland

Version française
Deutsche Fassung

  • ThinkSport, UNIL and EPFL to receive a grant by Innosuisse to spur sport innovation in Switzerland.
  • Selection is a recognition of sport’s significant contribution to the Swiss economy and the unique ecosystem.
  • New opportunities for innovative partnerships and projects by Swiss sport-related companies and start-ups.

Innosuisse recently announced that it will allocate a grant to ThinkSport, the University of Lausanne (UNIL) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) in order to boost innovation in sport and physical activity in Switzerland. Following a two-step evaluation process, the NTN Innovation Booster Sport and Physical Activity was selected together with 11 other projects among 64 applications. A total budget of 21,3 million CHF will be distributed to the different projects over the next 4 years. 

This initiative, which will officially kick off in January 2021, is an innovative tool for the country's economic development. It will enable new partnerships between key stakeholders from the academic world and the private, public and sport sectors to generate new joint projects with an open-innovation mindset. Innosuisse expects the NTN – Innovation Boosters to spark around 1,000 radical innovation ideas over the next four years, around a third of which should be developed further into concrete solutions.

Calls for projects will be launched on a regular basis in order to identify partners for specific themes, which will be broad and include e.g. technology, social development, health and tourism. First details will be revealed in early December. 

ThinkSport will act as a “Leading House” of the consortium, which also comprises EPFL and UNIL.

Anna Hellman, Director of ThinkSport, said: “This is fantastic news and demonstrates that sports tech and innovation in Switzerland are moving forward at a fast pace. The grant by Innosuisse will provide additional fuel. It will enable us to increase our reach, initiate new partnerships and projects and benefit from innovative methods to push progress in sport. We intend to make the best use of this outstanding opportunity by being as inclusive and creative as possible.”

Recent research carried out on behalf of the Swiss Federal Office of Sport shows that, with an estimated turnover of 22.2 billion francs, the Swiss sports economy produces gross added value of 11.4 billion francs and is equivalent to 97,900 full-time jobs per year. Thereby, overall sport contributes 1.7% to the gross domestic product (GDP) and 2.4% to the Swiss labour market. This national context and Switzerland’s rich sport ecosystem provide an outstanding opportunity and a fruitful ground to drive innovation in sport. For a few years now, ThinkSport has been leading and coordinating these efforts through different initiatives, including the creation of a sport innovation hub in Lausanne and the organisation of an annual international sport and innovation event “THE SPOT”.

About the NTN – Innovation Boosters (2021-2024)
The NTN – Innovation Boosters bring together interested teams from universities, business and society at national level around a defined innovation theme, and provide direct funding to stimulate the emergence and testing of concrete innovation ideas. Each NTN – Innovation Booster has its own thematic focus, which is determined by the consortium. The term innovation can be interpreted broadly and in addition to technology-based innovation themes, may also focus on business model innovations, innovation culture or innovation methods. The NTN – Innovation Boosters play a role as part of the innovation chain and draw on existing synergies. Through cooperation with partners and the transfer of knowledge between universities, companies and society, the NTN - Innovation Boosters should provide Swiss SMEs with competitive advantages and enable them to meet today's societal challenges. Learn more here.

Click here to read the announcement by Innosuisse.