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Swiss companies are to receive long-term support for innovative activities. National thematic networks (NTNs), innovation mentors (IMs) and physical and web-based plat-forms are ready to be introduced in early 2013.
National thematic networks (NTNs)
The national thematic networks help to form contacts between businesses and pub-lic research institutes. Each NTN deals with a different area of innovation which is of importance to the Swiss economy.
Following a multi-stage assessment procedure in 2012, eight national thematic net-works were recognised by the CTI: ‘Carbon Composites Switzerland', ‘Inartis', ‘Inno-vative Surfaces', ‘Swiss Biotech', ‘Swiss Food Research', ‘Swiss Wood Innovation Network', ‘Swissphotonics' and ‘Logistics Network Association'. These networks will begin their work in January 2013.
Innovation mentors (IMs)
Innovation mentors are contact persons for SMEs. They are familiar with and under-stand the innovation challenges and needs faced by companies and help them to find the right research partner in an academic institution. They aim to create contacts and identify, specify and implement ways of encouraging innovation.
The innovation mentors' work is additional to that of the regional and cantonal tech-nology advisors. Eight innovation mentors will be working for the CTI from 2013. If this work is well received and there proves to be a greater need for it among SMEs, further innovation mentors may be recruited.
Physical and web-based platforms
The KTT platforms bring together representatives from the worlds of business and science and provide a physical and interactive interface between innovation mentors and the national thematic networks. Contacts can be made and maintained, and key issues which SMEs are likely to face in the future can be discussed. The platforms will be extended successively over the course of 2013.
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