The Swiss Innovation Park Northwest Switzerland becomes a reality
The offices and laboratories at the initial location of Bachgraben in Allschwil are to be renovated and occupied by the middle of the year by the first research units. The official opening is scheduled for the second half of 2015.
The National Innovation Park launched by the Swiss government in 2011 is a new instrument for promoting innovation. Its aim is to set up several platforms around Switzerland for exchanges between universities and companies, as well as joint research projects.
As a business and science location, the region of Northwestern Switzerland is teeming with unique expertise in health, nutrition and nanoscience. Specific thematic priorities are set under the umbrella of "Biomedical Engineering, Sciences, and Technologies (BEST)", which includes the classic life sciences and the technologies integrated in life sciences.
The region of Northwestern Switzerland is ideally suited as a site for the Swiss Innovation Network owing to its local universities and industries, excellent transport links and international networking. This was confirmed by the Conference of Cantonal Directors of Economy (VDK) in June 2014. It recommended that the Swiss government include the Swiss Innovation Park Northwest Switzerland (SIP NWCH) from among eight candidates as one of only two projects in the starting line-up for the National Park. A national funding body will now be formed together with the two Federal Institutes of Technology in Lausanne and Zurich, and the equally successful project "InnovAARE" from the Canton of Aargau, which will commence its activities in January 2016.
SIP NWCH is a physical venue where representatives of large and small companies as well as universities and private research institutes can work together on joint research and development projects. It offers buildings with laboratory and office facilities, as well as areas for informal exchanges and sufficient development space for research and development projects and research groups to set up. The project is supported by the cantons of Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt, and Jura, as well as by the Basel Chamber of Commerce.
SIP NWCH will be realised in two phases.
Phase I: Initial location Bachgraben in Allschwil
First, what is known as an initial location will be built and run. This comprises of approximately 5`000 m2 of laboratory and office space on the Bachgraben site in Allschwil. The site is home to the former research laboratories of Actelion; the premises are ready to move into and have given SIP NWCH an easily accessible opportunity to set up and run a site without delay and to implement their concepts as quickly as possible. The initial location will also be used to gain some first experiences, evaluate them and then incorporate improvements for the concept of the definitive site. Currently, out of the 5`000 m2 that can be rented, 330 m2 are still available. The laboratories and offices have already been renovated and in May 2015, the first research units will move in. In the third/fourth quarter 2015, the plan foresees the building of an area of approx. 500 m2 that will be used as a common shared area with conference rooms, meeting rooms and recreational areas for all the tenants of SIP NWCH. This will mark the official starting point of the Innovation Park, which will be officially opened at this time.
Phase II: Definitive location Bachgraben in Allschwil
The second phase includes financing, planning and construction of the permanent location, which is also at the Bachgraben site in Allschwil (approx. 200 m away from the initial location), on the BaseLink plot. This site will be in the form of a new research and development building.
The first experiences from the operation of the initial location will be incorporated into the design and operation of the definitive location. This ensures that the building of the definitive location can be accurately and demonstrably adapted to the practical requirements of its users.
The SIP as a catalyst for the region and existing institutions
The purpose of SIP NWCH can be regarded as a catalyst or accelerator for research and development projects (R&D) and companies. Independent projects and research groups can move forward faster and in a more targeted manner within the infrastructure of SIP NWCH and in close cooperation with the existing organisations, i-net, BaselArea and Basel Incubator. SIP NWCH can produce the following results:
Companies can emerge from research and development work, which move into the appropriate infrastructures of the region. These innovative technology companies can then, for example, set up in Technologiepark Basel or the existing commercial areas of the Canton of Basel-Stadt in the Stücki site or in Rosental and grow there.
Products and insights can result from the research, which can also be further developed without the need to set up a new company.
In the longer term, entire institutes may also emerge from larger projects in the industrial or university environment, which either remain in SIP NWCH, or like the spin-offs, find their own infrastructure or become affiliated with a university.
In-licensing in conjunction with SIP NWCH refers to an existing company that either buys a license for further exploration or development of a research outcome or buys out a whole project group or research unit and integrates it into their own business.
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