Innovation initiatives


USI fosters many initiatives in the field of innovation. Among these we find application-oriented research - with spin-offs, field studies and projects, translational research and dedicated centres and observatories - the promotion or participation in competence centres, specialised networks, osmosis and reflection initiatives, technology and knowledge transfer support, and startups.

These initiatives are part of the University's so-called "third mandate", which aims at affirming the role of USI as an active contributor towards the economic and social development of the region.

Application-oriented research


The so-called "spin-offs" are companies born as an "applied" productive offshoot of research activities. Some examples: 

Explore the full list on the Knowledge transfer success stories page.


Field studies and projects

In addition to basic research, researchers from all areas of the University also engage in studies and consulting at institutions, companies and other organisations. These activities also include Field Projects (projects carried out with the involvement of students) and regular collaborations with cultural institutions to value funds, collections and works for public benefit.

Translational research

In the specific field of medical and biomedical research, USI also engages in so-called translational research, which aims to enable the timely transfer of research results "from the laboratory to the patient's bedside". Translational research is performed in the context of a network of collaborations with the Ente Ospedaliero Cantonale, clinics and physicians.

Specialised centres and observatories

Certain research centres at USI are more directly and systematically focused on application-oriented research, R&D, and/or implementation of analyses and recommendations for the benefit of regional economic entities and institutions:   


Competence centres and networks

Switzerland Innovation Park Ticino

Switzerland Innovation is an ecosystem which, through competence centres created within so-called "innovation parks", enables the collaboration between businesses, startups and universities to share ideas, accelerate the transformation of research results into products and services and thus strengthen Switzerland's position as one of the most innovative countries in the world. The ecosystem is organised in six parks in Switzerland. Park Ticino is an associated entity of Park Zurich and USI is an academic partner of it. Find out more


Swiss Drone Base Camp

The Swiss Drone Base Camp is a competence centre that aims to explore, innovate and activate cutting-edge projects in the field of drones and their use through the development of research, technology, know-how and regulatory and commercial aspects. USI is one of the academic partners of the centre, which is part of the Switzerland Innovation Park Ticino. Find out more

Lifestyle Tech Competence Center

LTCC is an association that promotes collaboration between companies and academic institutions in the Lifestyle sector, with the aim of stimulating technology and knowledge transfer, boosting innovation and fostering organic growth both nationally and internationally. USI is one of the academic partners of the platform. Find out more

Life Sciences Competence Center

USI is among the founding members of the Life Sciences Competence Center association. The Center aims to promote innovation and research in the biomedical field, the development of sustainable solutions and the creation of a network of collaborations between academic and industrial partners. Find out more


Locarno Media City

Locarno Media City is a coordination platform promoted by the City of Locarno, Locarno Film Festival, Palacinema Locarno, Swisscom and USI. It aims to strengthen existing collaborations within a framework initiative and share new projects and activities in the field of creative industry related to communication and the art of cinema and audiovisuals.

Lugano Living Lab

Lugano Living Lab (L*3) is an initiative by the City of Lugano to promote and enable digital and technological innovation. L*3 is committed to creating, testing, and developing digital and technological solutions, integrating research and development projects related to digital transformation to make Lugano an innovative city with a human face. USI is a partner of the project. Find out more

Ticino Blockchain Technologies Association

Ticino Blockchain Technologies Association is committed to fostering innovation and research, creating synergies between the public and private sectors, to raise awareness and development in all technologies related to blockchain and decentralised applications. USI is one of the partners of the platform. Find out more

Other initiatives

House of Sustainability

The House of Sustainability is an outpost of USI in Airolo that aims to educate and raise awareness on the major sustainability challenges through a hands-on approach to test ideas and solutions. Find out more   

European Solar Telescope Foundation

USI, representing also the USI-affiliated Istituto Ricerche solari Aldo e Cele Daccò (IRSOL), is among 9 institutions from 7 European countries that signed the deed of the Canarian Foundation for the European Solar Telescope (EST). Find out more


Supporting innovation

Innovate with us

World-class research, a people-friendly environment that enables the exchange of ideas and an informal spirit, contribute to making USI a breeding ground for innovation with surprising perspectives. To promote the transformation of ideas and research results into innovation, the University offers support in technology and knowledge transfer, startup development and entrepreneurship training.

Discover more