07.06.21 | 2 min

From research to innovative solutions

When writing these lines, Google delivered, among other things, the addition “... not natural events” in response to the input “Innovations are ...”. Even if chance plays a major role in the success of many products, processes or business models, planning is still a decisive factor. The strategic use of technology is often the deciding one.

An innovation must provide users with a solution to a need. Once the need is clearly formulated and the solution outlined, you can quickly get down to implementing it – technical hurdles aside. Strategically, it becomes more difficult to define potential solutions for needs that do not yet exist or are only guessed at. Especially in this medium- and long-term area, the CSEM regularly sets the course. How is it possible to operate successfully here?

Breeding ground for solutions
First, CSEM is developing technology platforms in perspective. One element is cooperation with academic partners – for example, via national and international projects and master’s and doctoral theses. The focus here is on applied research. Another pillar is informal exchange with industry via clusters and networks, workshops and strategy meetings. An understanding of the needs of a wide variety of industries is thus built. At the same time, CSEM opens doors for its industrial partners with international networking. Monitoring tools for technological developments and intellectual property as well as market studies serve as a third element, rounding off the overview. The combination allows key trends to be identified and thus guides CSEM’s strategy. The goal is to bring well-defined technology platforms to a level of maturity so that they serve as a breeding ground for industrial solutions.

The task now is to develop concrete solutions from this breeding ground in close interaction with the respective users or even to found their own start-ups. Technologies cannot be used in the same way in every environment. This requires an understanding of the framework conditions in the industry and the market. Almost 600 people now work at CSEM – some fresh from academic research and some with many years of experience in industry. It is this mix that brings innovative solutions from applied research to the industrial environment – from startups to SMEs to corporations.

For long-term needs
CSEM is shaping the future with its research focus areas Precision Manufacturing, Digitalization and Sustainable Energy. It is financially supported by the federal government and the cantons; the site in Alpnach in particular by the cantons of Central Switzerland. CSEM aims to help enable the highest manufacturing standards and smarter solutions and processes to meet the needs of Swiss industry not only today, but especially in the long term.