Technology Outlook, navigating the technology jungle


Institutional Communication Service

27 November 2023

The new Technology Outlook of the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW) compiles insights from 183 science and industry experts for the Switzerland of tomorrow. The presentation, which took place at the USI-SUPSI East Campus in Lugano on 16 November, provided interested guests with an insight into future developments, challenges and opportunities in technology for our society. The study, which can be accessed at, presents cutting-edge technologies and showcases the most promising industrial applications and national and international trends.

New technologies often cause significant shifts in the economy and society, making it crucial to provide guidance on their significance and consequences.   

"The Technology Outlook analyses the multifaceted technological landscape that the Swiss economy and politics will face in the future. It provides insights into a future that both fascinates and inspires us but also brings fear and uncertainty. With a focus on health, nutrition and construction, we shed light on sectors with particular potential for innovation and transformation," said Claudia Schärer, head of the study since 2016. 

The independent study has identified three areas where Switzerland has good opportunities - interdisciplinarity, high-tech and niche applications, and the export of know-how. Switzerland's research and business world thrives on the collaboration of actors and industrial classes from different research fields, which naturally leads to interdisciplinary solutions. This approach is particularly crucial for developing innovative technologies that can improve efficiency, safety, and environmental protection in various sectors, as explained by the head of the study.

"Some high-tech and niche technologies, such as bioplastics, digital twin or antimicrobial surfaces, and their applications, offer interesting business cases for companies of all sizes. Furthermore, it is clear that for some technologies - such as mobility systems, negative emission technologies and personalised power supply - Switzerland plays a pioneering role and exports know-how rather than products."

SATW's Technology Outlook is characterised by its thematic breadth, its short to medium-term time span and the fact that it can be accessed free of charge. It also differs from similar analyses in its focus on Switzerland. The study is based on interviews with 183 experts from 89 institutions, such as CSEM, EPFL, ETH Zurich, IBM, Migros Industrie, Mobility and Nestlé. It classifies technology trends according to their relevance to the Swiss intellectual and industrial hub and compares national developments with those of other countries. The new edition presents 32 technologies and 22 showcases of Swiss industries, as well as national and international trends. The core of the study is the quadrant graph with its four technology categories (hope, niche, success and star). For each technology, the graph illustrates its economic significance for Switzerland and national research competence.


What contribution can the business world and politics make?

The presentation on 16 November, moderated by Giovanni Pellegri (USI/L'Ideatorio), was attended by Emanuele Carpanzano (SUPSI), Luca Gambardella (USI), Samantha Paoletti (CSEM), Giuseppe Perale (IBI SA, USI), Tiziano Serra (mimiX, AO Foundation) and Monica Duca Widmer (USI, SATW).
USI Council President Monica Duca Widmer summarises the evening in the following words: "USI is grateful to SATW for this study identifying the most promising technologies and for the evening's discussion, during which two key messages emerged. The first is that innovation arises best at the intersection of different disciplines. The second message is that policy, both cantonal and federal, must complement the efforts of researchers by providing them with the best framework conditions to create a true innovation-friendly 'ecosystem' capable of supporting not only start-ups but also existing SMEs.