Good things come to those who wait: After two attempts, the third has finally worked out. The Federal Council approved the proposal for Innovation Park East on 21 April 2021, after the Switzerland Innovation Foundation had applied to the Federal Council to include St. Gallen in the national innovation network as the sixth location, alongside Dübendorf, Lausanne, Allschwil, Villigen and Biel. While part of the innovation park is planned in Buchs, the main site is to be realized right next to Empa in St. Gallen.
The innovation park is to become a hub of business, science and politics and create new jobs. With the innovation focus on health, digitalization and the machine, electrical and metal industry (MEM), the planned Innovation Park East will focus on the core competencies of the regional economy in Eastern Switzerland and the local academic partners such as Empa, the University of St. Gallen and the Cantonal Hospital of St. Gallen. In addition to the business incubator Startfeld, the University of Applied Sciences of Eastern Switzerland (OST) and Rhysearch in Buchs will also contribute their expertise to a successful technology transfer.
Another milestone for Switzerland as a center of innovation
Companies from Eastern Switzerland can profit, but also new companies from abroad that would like to settle here and create innovations thanks to collaboration with academic partners. Suitable infrastructures for research and development will be available for this purpose. The proximity to Empa at its location in St. Gallen will certainly also prove advantageous. After all, health technologies are a research focus at Empa's St. Gallen site. Here, Empa concentrates on the development of soft materials (polymers, hydrogels, etc.) for medical applications in and on the human body. It investigates new materials and systems that protect and support people in their everyday lives. In the areas of bioanalytics and process technologies, Empa has invested several million francs in St. Gallen in recent years.
Empa CEO Gian-Luca Bona says: "The launch of the Innovation Park East is another milestone in the development of the Swiss Innovation Network and enhances the Campus Lerchenfeld in St. Gallen as a place where business and science can work together to find solutions to societal challenges." Empa played a key role in shaping the application process for the Innovation Park East and will also play an important role in the upcoming development of the Innovation Park.