Promoting Innovation

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Back in 2017, the Vice Presidency for Innovation launched several new startup initiatives aimed at encouraging innovation and further easing the transfer of technology from our labs to society. These initiatives gained momentum last year.

Around 30 projects were selected for the XGrant program, which offers financial assistance to help Bachelor’s and Master’s students get their companies off the ground. And 17 startups – including the likes of Motion Pilot, L2F, Aeler, Visium Technologies, Caulys and Ouay – have already been officially created under the program. Last year also saw the launch of Tech4Impact, an initiative to leverage the technologies developed in EPFL’s labs in order to address social and environmental challenges. Under this initiative, we offer research grants, Y-grants for impact-driven startups, and a platform designed to foster multi-stakeholder engagement. In 2019, we will also run a number of startup camps, giving budding entrepreneurs the chance to immerse themselves in thriving innovation ecosystems like Silicon Valley.


Last year was a particularly productive one for the startups on campus. There were a record 25 new spin-offs from EPFL’s labs. What’s more, EPFL-based startups raised a total of 217 million Swiss francs, almost half of which went to a dozen newly created companies.

The Vice Presidency for Innovation is also tasked with facilitating partnerships and knowledge-sharing between our labs and pioneering corporations. Five such companies – Firmenich, Schindler, Magic Leap, maxon motors and Rollomatic – set up camp at Innovation Park in 2018. And a record CHF 34 million was invested by industry in research projects last year.

Finally, EPFL is a key innovation partner for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). One example of this is Forward, the School’s first innovation forum for SMEs, which was a great success. We intend to expand our work with SMEs in 2019 by setting up new events and research partnerships.

Marc Gruber
Vice President for Innovation

Innovation | 16 articles