Annual Report UZH Innovation Hub 2023

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Boosting Talents

Annual Report 2023 Innovation Hub

LinkedIn @uzh-innovation

Instagram @uzh.innovation

YouTube – UZH Innovation Hub Playlist

Publisher Eva Maria Håkanson Layout Anne-Sophie Skarabis

Growing Visibility & Interest

Dear reader,

The University of Zurich stands for diversity and is a breeding ground for research-based innovation and a training ground for future leaders. By the time we launched the UZH Innovation Hub in 2019 with the intention to make the most of this potential, we did not know how much impact it could have.

Today, over 30 researchers have been empowered to bring their research to market with the UZH Entrepreneur Fellowships resulting in 16 startups and manifold more gained entrepreneurial skills at one of the entrepreneurship courses offered. The UZH Innovation Hub is growing its visibility and has gained considerable interest for partnering opportunities from both foundations and industry partners. Thanks to the donations by Werner Siemens Stiftung, the Hans Eggenberger Stiftung and the Ernst Göhner Stiftung, we will continue to grow the university incubator programs UZH Entrepreneur fellowships and UZH Innovation Grants. I am truly grateful for their trust in our work!

Cluster Leads

I am especially contented to see how two strategic innovation focus areas supported by the Hub now stand independently and with considerable traction among a wide range of partners in Switzerland and beyond. The UZH Space Hub is a cluster for space and aviation comprising 35 high ranked research groups at UZH. The UZH Space Hub is perfectly positioned to play a decisive role in the shaping of the growing space economy and space industry, located in the Innovation Park Switzerland in Dübendorf. The Healthy Longevity Center covers activities in research, innovation and societal impact

Harald Gall, Prof. Dr. Oliver Ullrich, Prof. Dr. Dr. Onur Boyman, Prof. Dr. med. Mike Martin, Prof. Dr.

for healthy longevity, where healthy longevity is the desired outcome of healthy ageing. With a generous donation by the Velux Stiftung, the HLC could be successfully turned into an independent center at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, located at Stampfenbachstrasse, Zurich. In 2024 we look forward to support new bottom-up initiatives at the University of Zurich to foster innovation at scale.

It fills me with joy to see 12 prominent UZH researchers actively contributing to nurture ideas for innovation and showing paths forward for early career researchers as Innovation ambassadors and Jury members. These researchers are visible innovation promoters that act as important multipliers of our work and contribute to the vision of creating an entrepreneurial university.

I am delighted to see how the UZH Innovation Hub and the community around it is evolving. Please reach out to our passionate teams at the Innovation Office, the Healthy Longevity Center, the UZH Space Hub, the Therapy Development Accelerator, the BioMed Entrepreneurship Team at IREM and the various initiatives in the institutes of UZH to learn how you can become part of it!

Wishing you an innovative year with many breakthroughs!

Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Stark, Vice President Research of the University of Zurich

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The activities of the UZH Innovation Hub are initiated, lead and supported by many dedicated people including entrepreneurship program managers, engaged researchers and coaches. Over the last four years, Cluster leads have been developing the strategic innovation areas Space & Aviation, Digital Innovation, Life Sciences Innovation and Healthy Longevity. Innovation ambassadors are researchers dedicated to innovation, providing advice for research-based innovation projects and act as multipliers for the UZH Innovation Hub programs. The Innovation council advices the UZH’s innovation strategy. The experts from research and business in the Entrepreneur fellowships jury provide invaluable feedback to the applicants.

Liliane Brunner-Halbach, Therapy Development Accelerator

Andreea-Loredana Cretu, BioEntrepreneurship & Innovation Program

Urs Dommann, Unitectra

Kynan Eng, Coach

Stephanie Engels, Coach

Andreia Fernandes, Coach

Calista Fischer, UZH Space Hub

Jan Fülscher, Coach

Marc Grosjean, Healthy Longevity Center

Eva Maria Håkanson, UZH Innovation Office

Wolfgang Henggeler, Unitectra

Melanie Kovacs, Coach

Chantal Landis, Associated Content Producer

Manuel Merki, Innovation Office

Martin Murmann, Digital Ventures Seminar

Sebastian Niederberger, Innovathon

Maria Olivares, UZH Innovation Office

Michio Painter, Therapy Development Accelerator

Jessica Plucain, Minor in BioMed Entrepreneurship

Claudia Röösli, UZH Space Hub

Christina Röcke, Healthy Longevity Center

Innovation Ambassadors

Aileen Schröter, Cluster for Life Sciences Innovation

Adrian Sigrist, Unitectra

Anne-Sophie Skarabis, UZH Innovation Office

Patrick Sticher, Unitectra

Svantje Tauber, UZH Space Hub

Oliver Ullrich, Director UZH Space Hub

Patrick Utz, Coach

Anna Gromova, UZH Innovation Office

Nuria Brüngger, UZH Innovation Office

Emmi Kavander, Coach

Theresa Schachner, Coach

Patrycja Pielaszek, Innovathon

Isabella Gyr, UZH Innovation Office

Abraham Bernstein, Digital Society Initiative

Markus Christen, Digital Society Initiative

Carol Alexandru, Department of Informatics

Anja Schulze, Innovathon

Sarah Ebling, Full Professor ad personam of Language, Technology & Accessibility

Lauren Howe, Assistant Professor in Management

Thomas Puschmann, Director Swiss FinTech Innovation Lab

Claudia Röösli, Senior Researcher in Earth observation

Anja Schulze, Professor of Technology & Innovations Management

Gerhard Schwabe, Professor of Information Management

Claudio Tessone, Professor of Blockchain & Distributed Ledger Technologies

Viktor von Wyl, Assistant Professor of Digital & Mobile Health

Ning Wang, Senior Researcher in Ethics & Value Sensitive Innovation

Jury Entrepreneur fellowships

Onur Boyman, Professor of Immunology at UZH

Dominik Escher, Partner at Pureos Bioventures

Harald Gall, Professor of Software Engineering at UZH

Simon Hoerstup, Professor for Regenerative Medicine at UZH

Bea Knecht, Founder & Board Member at Zatoo

Jan Lichtenberg, CEO at InSphero

Sandra Neumann, Chairman of the Board of Directors & Founder at Peripal AG

Jess Snedeker, Professor for Biomechanics, UZH, ETHZ, Balgrist

Claudia Witt, Professor for Complementary & Integrative Medicine at UZH

Tobias Zehnder, Co-Founder & Partner at Webrepublic AG

Cluster Leads

Onur Boyman, Professor of Immunology at UZH

Harald Gall, Professor of Software Engineering at UZH

Mike Martin, Professor & Director of the UZH Healthy Longevity Center

Oliver Ullrich, Professor & Director of the UZH Space Hub

Innovation Council

Judith Bellaiche, Director at Swico

Onur Boyman, Professor of Immunology at UZH

Alexandra Dhavernas von Elverfeldt, Senior Advisor at L Catterton and Managing Partner at Dhavernas Advisory

Stéphanie Engels, Partner at Signium

Harald Gall, Professor of Software Engineering at UZH

Nadja Lang, CEO of ZFV-Unternehmungen

Veronica Lange, Head of Digital Engagement at UBS AG

Mike Martin, Professor & Director of the Healthy Longevity Center at UZH

Nike Möhle, VP Communication & Sustainability at Sunrise

Maria Olivares, Head Innovation Office at UZH

Gabriele Siegert, Vice President Education & Student Affairs at UZH

Adrian Sigrist, Managing Director at Unitectra

Elisabeth Stark, Vice President Research at UZH

Oliver Ullrich, Professor & Director of the UZH Space Hub

Andreas Wallnöfer, Partner at Jeito Capital

Simon Wirth, Head of Corporate Development, Innovation & Transformation at IKEA

Tobias Zehnder, Co-Founder & Partner at Webrepublic AG

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UZH Innovation Hub

As the largest comprehensive university in Switzerland, the potential for innovation is huge. In 2023, 27’958 students, 3’867 early career researchers and 712 professors were active at the University of Zurich (UZH). To foster innovation and entrepreneurship at UZH, the Innovation Hub defines its mission in four fields:

The Innovation Hub bundles and nurtures the UZH ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship, supporting people, programs, and initiatives across the campus. It serves as a connector to bridge students, researchers, and external partners. Thereby it accelerates the further development of new inventions, discoveries and ideas and supports the transfer of innovative research to create societal impact.

Inspire a venturing spirit Build an entrepreneurial mindset Empower venture creators Nurture the innovation ecosystem
3961 9829 4868 Number of Students at UZH 299 4120 4048 770 Faculty of Law Vetsuisse Faculty Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Faculty of Business, Economics and Informatics Faculty of Theology Faculty of Medicine Faculty of Science

The Power of Communities

Innovation thrives best within a vibrant community. As Switzerland’s largest comprehensive university, UZH offers a unique creative and interdisciplinary environment that holds the potential of a flourishing innovation ecosystem. In our work at the UZH Innovation Hub, we know that creating links between talents, ideas, and partners is essential for innovation to happen and successfully translate research into use. In this annual report, we spotlight the power of communities for innovation.

Over the years, we have fostered communities in establishing themselves in strategic innovation focus areas. This year, the UZH Space Hub and the Healthy Longevity Center have developed into two independent and sustainable structures. In these initiatives, like-minded researchers from different disciplines across the faculties of UZH work together to initiate network events, build up new formats for collaboration and establish partnerships with industry. For example, the third Healthy Longevity Innovation Days, aimed at building competence for innovation among early career researchers. Furthermore, in challenge-based co-creation formats such as the Social Innovators Camp, Innovathon, RiskOn, or the Wholesome Living Project, students from different faculties come together and learn to solve problems in interdisciplinary teams. It is always rewarding to follow these students grow as a group, which leads to connections that last long after the course has ended.

We are expanding the visibility of the UZH Innovation Hub amongst others, by increasing the number of events at which the UZH

Innovation Hub is represented. For example, the Innovation Corner at the Scientifica, the largest science festival in Switzerland with over 20,000 visitors, attracted curious students, researchers, and citizens of Zurich. With various UZH spin-offs on site, we actively engaged with the public, talked to visitors of all ages, and showed first-hand, how scientific findings can be transformed into marketable products.

I would like to express my gratitude to all collaborators who have contributed to the activities of the Innovation Hub over the last year. I thank our external partners for their support, their willingness to engage with researchers and students, and their commitment to drive innovative ideas and new ways of collaboration forward.

I thank the innovators and ambassadors at UZH – among them the Cluster Leads – for their inspiration, energy, and passion to strengthen an environment that fosters experimentation, innovative thinking, and entrepreneurship at UZH.

I am impressed to see all the activities, initiatives, and motivated talents that contribute to real value creation based on scientific findings. You are our inspiration, and we look forward to continuing our work in 2024.


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Innovation Hub in Numbers

16 events

140 stories and customized posts on LinkedIn

6 entrepreneurship courses

240 Bachelor, Master and PhD Students

72 business experts and entrepreneurs

Inspire a venturing spirit Build an entrepreneurial mindset

Outreach: Page 32 Entrepreneurship Education: Page 28

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76 invention disclosures

31 patent applications

8 new spin-offs


venture creators

30 Mio CHF in follow-up funding after Entrepreneur fellowships

8 companies awared the UZH Startup Label

4 strategic innovation clusters

9 challenge partners in open innovation programs


the innovation ecosystem

3 foundations in longterm commitment

4 event series to foster the innovation community

UZH Entrepreneur Fellowships: Page 22

Funding for Science-based Innovation: Page 26

UZH Startups: Page 30

Strategic Innovation Cluster: Page 10

Innovation Community: Page 25

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Strategic innovation clusters

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university currently supports four strategic innovation clusters in the areas of Life Sciences, Space and Aviation, Digital Innovation and Healthy Longevity Innovation. The innovation clusters operate university-wide and are strongly oriented towards interdisciplinary collaboration.


The innovation potential of UZH research activities in the Life Sciences domain is huge. With more than 350 professors and researchers at four university hospitals, UZH has a unique opportunity to drive innovation along the entire translational chain, from laboratory to clinic. This potential is reflected, among others, in the number of UZH spin-offs founded in recent years. In the last two years, 9 out of 10 spin-offs founded bring either BioTech or MedTech product to market.

The Life Sciences innovation ecosystem is rich in initiatives and programs that support researchers to translate ideas from the lab to the market. Researchers and Master’s students who are curious about entrepreneurship and want to learn more about the different aspects of building a startup can visit the BioEntrepreneurship and Innovation (BEI) Program. Early career researchers can apply for the UZH Entrepreneur fellowships, a program that supports researchers to bring research-based products and services to the market. The Therapy Development Accelerator offers advice to translational medicine projects in all stages. Wyss Zurich supports more advanced translational projects, and the UZH Life Sciences Fund invests in UZH spin-offs in the Life Sciences domain.

Therapy Development Accelerator

The Therapy Development Accelerator (TDA) supports idea development, company formation, preparation, and launch of Life Science projects from within UMZH (University Medicine Zurich). The team works alongside founders to “stress-test” all aspects of the idea, gather key feedback, and ultimately facilitate investment and partnering discussions. Since 2017, the TDA has supported the Entrepreneur fellowship program by offering regular coaching to Entrepreneur fellows along with preparation for the SPARK nights and the UZH Life Sciences Fund.

SPARK Zurich

The TDA organizes quarterly SPARK* nights as an opportunity for translational medicine project teams to get early contact with industry professionals and investors. These interactions have shown to be impactful, the constructive feedback from the SPARK advisors help the teams to shape their ideas into investable solutions for patients. At the same time, the SPARK nights make up a great learning opportunity for Life Sciences entrepreneurs. SPARK advisors bring expertise in regulatory affairs, legal aspects, and preclinical and clinical development. In 2023, SPARK saw an increased demand both internally and from across Switzerland, with participants engaging from different universities and advisers traveling from as far as Geneva and Basel.

*SPARK has been developed at Stanford University and SPARK Zurich is part of the global SPARK network.

UZH Life Sciences Fund

The UZH Life Sciences Fund, founded in 2016, provides early financing for UZH spin-offs in Life Sciences, BioTech, and MedTech domain. The UZH Life Sciences Fund involves two equal partners: the UZH (raising funds through the UZH Foundation) and the Novartis Venture Fund. Since 2016 the LSF has financed seven companies which have gone on to raise over 300 Mio CHF and enter several late-stage clinical trials.

Projects supported by the TDA.

In 2023, the TDA saw a diverse range of ideas moving forward and researchers growing into their roles as entrepreneurs. The TDA supported 25+ projects from across the ecosystem, many of which have successfully received grants, awards, or other distinctions. The TDA equally had a great year collaborating internally and externally as jury members, panelists, and invited speakers on topics related to entrepreneurship.

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Minor BioMed Entrepreneurship

The Minor in BioMed Entrepreneurship is a joint program of the Faculty of Science and the Institute for Regenerative Medicine (Faculty of Medicine) at UZH. The program was launched in 2021 to meet the need for young scientists who combine business, science and technology knowledge for innovative medical advances and therapies. The Minor in BioMed Entrepreneurship offers the opportunity for Master’s students to explore entrepreneurship in the fields of BioTech, MedTech, and Digital Health. Over the last years, the program has enabled young talents to open their career perspectives and develop an entrepreneurial mindset.

BioEntrepreneurship & Innovation (BEI) Program

In the dynamic field of BioTech, MedTech and Digital Health, the BioEntrepreneurship & Innovation (BEI) program unites innovators from UZH, ETHZ, and USZ. In 2023, five individual BEI modules were offered at the Institute of Regenerative Medicine (IREM). The program fosters collaborative learning and brings ideas forward to shape the future of healthcare. 27 Entrepreneurs and Experts-in-Residence together with 15 experts were involved in the program, bringing external and market perspectives to the university. Throughout the year, 22 outstanding projects were supported and a total of 103 participants visited the program. Beyond numbers, BEI cultivates bonds across academic centers and empowers future Life Sciences entrepreneurs. Collaboration is promoted beyond the program by cultivating a community of previous students and involved experts at different events.

UZH IncubatorLab

The UZH IncubatorLab, offers a state-of-the-art infrastructure and expert support with, for example, design and regulatory issues to Entrepreneur fellows in the MedTech track. Since the opening of the lab in 2018, the supportive community of current and alumni Entrepreneur fellows has become a valuable asset. In 2023, three new Entrepreneur fellows joined the lab. Seven Alumni from the Entrepreneur fellowship program were still participating in the community events and using the infrastructure.

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Photo Credits: Saskia Rosset



It all started with the development of a platform to measure food intake. For this, Josua Jordi, co-founder of EraCal, initiated the work on zebrafish and developed a specialized microscope at Harvard University. With some clever tricks of screening the brain of the zebrafish, the platform could be further developed to measure appetite suppression. It soon became apparent to Josua and his research team that their platform provided unique capabilities for phenotypic drug discovery.

In the beginning, the team was looking not only at obesity but also at other indications and markets. “What has helped us to focus is designing and performing killer experiments”, says Josua. Killer experiments are tests and questions that will allow a company to stop funding a product idea before it is too late. “I think it’s crucial to learn that as a BioTech Entrepreneur, you need to be smart about gathering information to stop the work on any assets that will not make it in the market. The sooner you can ‘kill’ a molecule or indication, the less time you’re wasting”. He explains that at EraCal they had to kill many projects, including their initial lead target. However, this is typically not the information that you share in a press release, so from the outside it looks different.

Josua shares the story of how they needed to stop their main project two years ago. They had found out that the asset they were working on would not be possible to deliver orally. He emphasizes the importance of strategy and decision criteria. Only thanks to the predefined criteria for whether to move on or not with the molecule, they manage to keep the emotions out and make the right strategic decision to drop the first asset. At this point, the team could thank their innovative platform for the fact that they already had a second molecule in the pipeline. And it looked promising! This made it possible for them to keep the investors onboard and go on to develop that molecule.

received a UZH Entrepreneur fellowship to advance the technology and lay the foundations for the spin-off. EraCal has also received a convertible loan from the UZH Life Science Fund.

It was around this molecule that interest was raised with NovoNordisk. The company had been collaborating with EraCal for several years, mainly to use the platform to screen NovoNordisk molecules, and was invited to take a closer look at EraCal’s newest asset. It turned out that it looks very promising, which led to a collaboration and license agreement with Novo Nordisk A/S to develop and commercialize EraCal’s oral, small molecule program #lifesciencesinnovation

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Photo Credits: Susana Metzger EraCal Therapeutics was founded by Josua Jordi and Simon Breitler as a UZH spin-off in 2018. Josua


2021 until 2030 has been declared the UN Decade of Healthy Ageing by the World Health Organization. Research into healthy longevity and the development of innovative approaches to aging have been a strategic priority at UZH for several years now. With the recently established UZH Healthy Longevity Center (HLC), UZH has a unique position to identify current and future societal challenges and help set the international research and innovation agenda in the field of healthy longevity for years to come.

Healthy Longevity Center

The HLC was launched in 2022 with the generous support of the Velux Stiftung. It promotes and fosters the acquisition and use of data on the heterogeneity, complexity, and context-dependency of functional ability in healthy aging to create paradigm-changing research and innovation for healthy longevity. The HLC currently includes 7 research and innovation groups spanning topics such as complexity medicine for healthy longevity to digital mental health management. It takes an innovative approach, where science-based innovation with societal impact involves the design and implementation of new solutions (e.g., concepts, processes, products, or organizational changes) that aim to improve the wellbeing and welfare of individuals and communities as they age. The HLC is housed at a strategically central location near UZH’s main buildings and Zurich’s main station and will soon open a new innovation space.

In April 2023, the launch event for the HLC took place at the Zunfthaus zur Meisen and included notable invited speakers, such as Alexandra Dhavernas von Elverfeldt (Member, UZH Innovation Council), Annelise Eggimann (CEO, InnoSuisse), Dr. Lukas von Orelli

(Director, Velux Stiftung) and, as moderator, Dr. Barbara Bleisch (SRF and UZH). It was a fantastic event with 130 guests from academia, politics, non-profit organizations, and the private sector. Based on interviews with the Directors of the HLC and various guests present at the event, the first episode of the new UZH Innovation Podcast was recorded. The episode entitled “Live longer: But how?” is available at podigee.

Since the launch event, the HLC has intensified its strategic communication on its website, LinkedIn account and via its newsletter to provide more information on current research, news, and events and to build a community interested in healthy longevity research and

We want to enable research findings to be translated as quickly as possible into implementable and innovative measures that support healthy aging.”

innovation. The response has been very positive with over 2,000 new followers on the LinkedIn page and over 4,000 subscribers to the newsletter. An additional boost to the HLC’s visibility was provided by the publication of a special issue of the UZH Magazin entitled “Gesund älter werden” that focused on healthy aging and featured multiple informative contributions by the Directors and selected research and innovation group leaders of the HLC.

Thanks to the strong outreach work, the center has entered into several new strategic partnerships with various academic entities (e.g., Childrens Hospital Zurich, Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development, Interdisciplinary Faculty “Ageing of Individuals and Society” at the University of Rostock) in a collaborative effort to strengthen integrative Lifespan Science at UZH and beyond and with different practice partners (e.g., Pflegezentrum Reusspark Niederwil) to strengthen innovative translational approaches of research into practice.

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Guests at the HLC Launch Event

Healthy Longevity Innovation Days

The Healthy Longevity Innovation Days were launched in 2021 with the goal of bringing together the stakeholders for Healthy Longevity Innovation on a regional, national and international level. In 2023,

the event targeted researchers from the University of Zurich and focused on capacity building. The program included input sessions by the innovation management professor Tim Kastelle from the University of Queensland in Australia, who is member of the Faculty of Excellence at HLC, and science communication specialist Dr. Mirko Bischofsberger, a panel discussion with two science entrepreneurs, and other informal networking opportunities.

On the first day, participants took a deep dive into “Identifying and leveraging intangible value” with Tim Kastelle. In an interactive workshop, he showed the importance of intangible values in modern cooperations and how this plays a role for the translation of research findings into innovative products, services or processes.

The day was concluded by a panel discussion with the two psychology researchers and entrepreneurs Dr. Markus Grüschow and Dr. Burcu Demiray. In a very open discussion, they shared their motivations for transforming research into products and discussed the

challenges of balancing their roles as entrepreneurs and scientist. They talked about the importance of having a strong vision and how role models and mentors can be very valuable on the bumpy entrepreneurial path. All in all, they encouraged anyone who plays with the idea of developing real solutions based on their research insights to get started right away. They pointed out that there will never be the “right moment”. Instead, starting early to talk about your idea and vision with friends and colleagues will help you to shape your project and get a better understanding both for the potential impact and your own motivation.

The second day offered a hands-on training in storytelling with the experienced science communicator Mirko Bischofsberger. The attending (mainly) early career researchers learned how to build a story that really catches the attention of their audience. Finding a way to communicate about your scientific findings in a way that is not only understandable but also engaging is the very first step for someone who is interested in creating impact in the real world. Successful entrepreneurs know that having conversations with potential partners, customers and investors early on are crucial to get a good understanding of the problem to be solved and how real value can be created. The insights gained from such conversations form the basis for a sustainable business.

The event was also a great networking opportunity for the registered participants, 41 and 47 participants on Day 1 and Day 2, respectively.

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WiseLearn is a blended learning concept and platform for senior learners. Since early 2021, it has provided senior citizen universities in Switzerland (universities for 60+) with an age-friendly e-learning platform, customized for each Seniors University. Thanks to WiseLearn, universities can deliver their courses in a hybrid format (both online and on-campus) offering new digital learning tools and flexible solutions to their members.

In 2023, WiseLearn also began to provide its own content for e-learning in late life. The offer has a unique focus on accessibility and user experience in this user group. Thanks to research into seniors’ diverse learning needs, competencies, and interests and co-development strategies, WiseLearn has been able to develop content that also accounts for this heterogeneity.

WiseLearn was developed by Dr. Burcu Demiray, a senior researcher at the Healthy Longevity Center. Over the last years, she has been leading a consortium of 7 EU universities to develop age-friendly e-learning courses. The courses train senior learners on various timely topics, such as permaculture, critical thinking skills and artificial intelligence. These courses are launched and will be tested

during spring 2024, with the potential to reach thousands of senior learners across Europe in two years.

In the next years, Burcu will continue to use the strong consortia of interdisciplinary research and innovation teams to develop unique, customized, and timely content. The two courses in the pipeline are titled “Digital Competences” and “Innovation and Business Development”, which is a course not existing on the market. One module that is being tested currently as part of this course is Design Thinking, in which senior learners develop and implement their own projects with design thinking principles. In sum, WiseLearn is not only a platform for educating older adults in a digital space, but also a safe space where seniors take on new projects and create social and/or economic value, leading to a positive impact both on a personal and a societal level.

WiseLearn is an entrepreneurial project led by Dr. Burcu Demiray, a psychologist and senior researcher at the Healthy Longevity Center, UZH.

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In recent years, access to space has changed dramatically: Whereas in the past all access had to go through governmental space agencies, today the main drivers of innovation are private companies such as SpaceX and Blue Origin. Their transport systems, designed for scalability and reusability, and the resulting massive drop in the cost of transporting a kilogram of payload, form the very foundation for the fulminant growth of the New Space Economy and boost further developments. The New Space Economy is based on three pillars: technological innovations for use in space, the adaptation of space technologies for use on Earth and space manufacturing in low Earth orbit.

The UZH is a renowned player in the field of space and aviation research. At the University, space research and innovation span many disciplines including Earth observation/remote sensing, global biodiversity and climate change, biotechnology/space medicine, astrophysics, supercomputing, autonomous flying, and aerospace.

In 2023, UZH researchers participated in the ESA Euclid-Mission with the goal of detecting Dark Matter and Dark Energy and testing the existing Dark Matter models. The LISA mission, to be launched beyond 2035, is the largest and most complex mission ever initiated by ESA (the European Space Agency). It aims to detect the ripples in space-time and to put Einstein’s theory of relativity to the test. The LISA Swiss Science Team is led by a UZH researcher. In space Life Sciences, the researcher Jaap Swanenburg in Prof. Oliver Ullrich’s lab could show how the lack of gravity changes the curvature of the human spine by carrying out experiments during the 83rd ESA Parabolic Flight.

The ecosystem of innovative research projects, world-class experimental platforms and involved stakeholders from the university and beyond holds great innovation potential, this is why the UZH Space Hub was launched in 2018.

UZH Space Hub

The Space Hub is the space and aviation ecosystem at the UZH, connecting and supporting researchers, students, industry, and startups to promote innovation for the benefit of Earth. The Space Hub network continues to grow and currently consists of 34 research groups at UZH and more than 25 cooperating institutions in Switzerland and abroad, among them are NASA and ESA. The UZH Space Hub promotes innovation in different ways. For example, it provides easy access to the Swiss Parabolic Flights. The flights are

conducted by the Swiss Sky Lab Foundation and offer tailor-made experimental conditions to test new procedures and technologies in weightlessness. The UZH Space Hub can also provide access to e.g., Zeppelin, suborbital rockets, and the International Space Station. The Space Hub acts as a node for space research, innovation, and outreach. Its activities reach beyond the natural sciences and involve interdisciplinary questions such as ethics and sustainability.

Within a short period of time, the UZH Space Hub has been able to establish itself as a major player with excellent regional roots and global operations.”

In 2023, the UZH Space Hub continued to engage strongly in outreach and educational activities. The event series Space Café attracted more than 200 participants from research and industry. One of the events was dedicated to the Euclid space telescope which was launched in July 2023. The Space Hub was a guest at the Science Alumni annual meeting and was represented with a booth at the Commercial Space Days 2023 in Luzern with over 400 visitors from industry and research from the field of Space and Aviation.

A bi-weekly Space Blog was launched in the Glattaler to make research and innovation by the UZH Space Hub members better known in the region and to the general public.

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St. Gallen

Innovation Park Zurich

The Innovation Park Zurich as part of the Switzerland Innovation Park Network, provides an environment that encourages innovation and promotes networking between industry and science, thereby strengthening Zurich as an attractive area for innovation. The University of Zurich is an active member of the park. In 2023, the retrofitting of Hangar 4 into a space dedicated to the UZH Space Hub activities could finally begin. The Hangar will open for researchers and businesses in April 2024 and offer direct access to the runway, rentable office, meeting, lab and workshop space for startups, SMEs and larger corporations. The idea is to host a vibrant Space and Aviation community that will foster a downstream approach, meaning the transformation of technologies used in space to commercial applications for Earth.

Learn more about the plans for the UZH Space Hub at the Innovation Park in Dübendorf in a recent interview with Oliver Ullrich in SRF Regionaljournal.



Despite over 50 years of global Earth Observation (EO) data collection, challenges persist in converting the data into meaningful and accessible information, primarily accessible to data scientists. askEarth, a UZH, EPFL and ETH Zurich spin-off aims to democratize access to EO insights with an intuitive search engine powered by natural language processing.

The team has developed a software technology solution to democratize access to satellite images and insights, catering to governments, commodity/mining companies, and insurance firms. By overlaying geospatial data with sector-specific information, askEarth aims to assist customers in making accurate future assessments. The company addresses market needs such as regulatory compliance, government intelligence dissemination, and risk reduction in the financial sector.

The company was selected to join the Swiss Space Incubator ESA BIC Switzerland in 2023. The team is currently working on deepening their collaboration with the European Space Agency and providing solutions for the recent European Union Deforestation Regulation.

askEarth is a UZH spin-off founded in 2022. Simon Gruening, one of the co-founders, received a UZH Entrepreneur fellowship to advance the technology and lay the foundations for the spin-off.

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Digitalization research spans disciplines. The interdisciplinary perspective on change with digitalization is important to understand and foresee the effects of digitalization on society. Since 2016, the University of Zurich has been developing its interdisciplinary digitalization research under the umbrella of the Digital Society Initiative. In different initiatives at the UZH spanning areas such as the Digitalization of Mobility, Blockchain, FinTech and more, researchers from across the university come together. It is a challenging but necessary undertaking that also lays the seed for many innovations. New ideas typically emerge when conventional ideas are challenged by a different perspective. With the implementation of the Digital Society Initiative and the appointment of several new professorships at the interface of digital innovation and various domains, the UZH is taking a leading role in digitalization research and innovation.

Innovathon: bringing real-world digitalization challenges to the university

The challenge-based course Innovathon offers a unique opportunity to enhance students personal and professional growth and at the same time bring perspective from industry to the university. The 4th edition of the open innovation program, focusing on “The Digitalization of Mobility”, featured an interdisciplinary lecture series and a design sprint where participating students addressed challenges provided by SBB, Flughafenregion Zürich FRZ, and Helbling.

One of my key takeaways of the Innovathon for me was that new solutions don’t necessarily need to contain vast amount of complexity. Value lays in solutions which can be easily implemented and still provide value to the customer.”

Helbling presented the challenge of crafting sustainable and future-proof approaches for goods supply chains. Flughafenregion Zürich FRZ was looking for solutions to meet the needs of the younger generation in the context of modern business networks. The challenge SBB presented to the students was around transforming how Swiss youth perceive and use public transportation.

Students from UZH, ETH Zurich and ZHAW participating in this course formed nine interdisciplinary teams. The diverse perspectives

within each team were valuable during the the design sprint.

The program has been co-developed by the UZH Innovation Office and the DSI Community Mobility. For two years in a row, Ginetta has been a partner for the design sprint. They offer an inspiring teamwork space for the participating teams. In addition to engaging challenges and experienced design facilitators, these are key ingredients for a successful design sprint.

Sustainable Digitalization Roundtable

In recent decades, technological innovation, especially in the realms of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), and Virtual Reality (VR), has profoundly impacted the business landscape and broader society. These technologies present unparalleled opportunities to advance environmental sustainability and achieve environmental, social and governance (ESG) objectives. However, digitalization does not per se lead to more sustainable operations and behaviors. At the Sustainable Digitalization Roundtable, organized for the first time by the DSI Community Digitalization on 12th May 2023, researchers met with 15 practitioners from all societal sectors. In moderated group discussions the participants elicited on both the real-world challenges and the potential for solutions to sustainable digitalization. The outcome of this roundtable lays the foundation for the activities of the community, which clearly strives to be in a space that is relevant both for researchers and practitioners.

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Challenge Partners in Open Innovation Programs

Concluding the Wholesome Living Project

What happens when students from diverse disciplines including design, psychology and economy work together to rethink ageing in a digitalized world? The WholesomeLiving Project was initiated in 2022 by Abraham Bernstein (Professor for Information Systems), Harald Gall (Professor for Software Engineering), Mike Martin (Professor for Gerontopsychology and Gerontology) and Maria Olivares (Head of the Innovation Office). It was a pilot for a new project-based learning format inspired by real challenges that were run 12 months in collaboration with the IAD Interaction Design at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) and two partners from industry. The ten students selected to participate in the project were guided through an innovation process and had regular touchpoints with both UZH researchers, coaches and representatives from the partner companies UBS and AXA. As part of this project, the participants developed a prototype of the “Wholesome Living” app, which contains a tracker to record fitness and prevention habits and support users in proactively implementing their individual needs. The prototype was shared with the partners and displayed at the Scientifica in September 2023, a science festival co-organized by the UZH and ETH Zurich.

Engaging with the risk management sector to co-create solutions

The banking sector faces many challenges in terms of risk management. To generate creative ideas for these challenges, students from UZH and ETH Zurich were invited to take part in RiskOn, a two-day hackathon with challenges from four industry partners. The event was initiated by Walter Farkas, Professor of Quantitative Finance, and set up in collaboration with the N9 House of Innovation and the UZH Innovation Office. 20 participants formed teams and engaged in the development of solutions. In conclusion, it was a successful launch of this program with great feedback from the challenge partners.



One of the main challenges that knowledge workers face at work is finding a balance between making progress on their own tasks and collaborating with or supporting their team. The nature of collaborative work is causing interruptions which can reduce focus and productivity, especially when these happen at inopportune moments. The challenge, however, is that in today’s hybrid workplaces, it’s difficult for teams to know who is currently very focused on their work (where an interruption is particularly intrusive) and who is available for an interaction.

FlowTeams is a scientifically proven approach developed by André Meyer and Thomas Fritz of the Human Aspects of Software Engineering Lab. They showed that the FlowTeams software fosters alignment of daily work schedules with the team and mitigates interruptions at inopportune moments, thereby significantly reducing interruptions at times of focus, while at the same time improving teamwork and making it less stressful. Overall, the approach underscores the potential for supporting hybrid knowledge workers in negotiating a better balance between focused work and teamwork.

Flowteams is a science-based method developed by the UZH researchers André Meyer and Thomas Fritz. They recently received a DIZH Founders grant to develop a marketable product and further test it in the field with end users.

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UZH Entrepreneur fellowships

The UZH Entrepreneur fellowships aim to support early career researchers to bring novel, research-based products, services, and processes to the market. The program provides funding, coaching, training and access to lab and co-working space. Projects are supported in two thematic tracks: Bio & MedTech and Digital Innovation. In 2023 eight researchers were awarded the Entrepreneur fellowship.

Bio & MedTech

EvoFlow: An automated, phage-assisted continuous protein evolution system

André Marques Condeço Ferreira

Digital Innovation

Bird’s Eye: Intelligent bird feeders

Bio & MedTech

Hemalytix: A clinical decision support system for the interpretation of blood laboratory results

Hui Zhang

Bio & MedTech

Pan-amyloid bi-functional molecule as therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases

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Lukas Schmidheini Christian Dorfer

Bodgan Mateescu

Bio & MedTech

NeXendia: Toward multiplexed cell-free RNA biomarker technology biofluids

Bio & MedTech

PRIMA Probe-induced heteroduplex mobility assay

Benjamin Ineichen

Digital Innovation

SyntMed: Evidence-based solutions in health care

Thomas Look

Bio & MedTech

A virus free platform for the rapid generation of multifunctional CAR immune cells

Startups Founded

Since the launch of the UZH Entrepreneur fellowships in 2017, 38 researchers have been supported and 27 have already successfully completed their fellowships. So far, 16 of them have founded companies based on their projects. In 2023 three new startups were founded.

Follow-up Funding

While the Entrepreneur fellowship provides an invaluable kick-off for the translation of ideas from research to market. Most translational projects and startups will need many iterations of investments until they can be profitable. Until today, the supported Entrepreneur fellows have received more than 36 million Swiss francs in follow-up funding.

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Misako Yamazaki

Building an Innovation Community

Building a robust community within an innovation ecosystem is crucial for fostering creativity, collaboration, and sustainable growth. By fostering a sense of community, innovators, entrepreneurs and industry representatives can more easily connect, share resources, and collaborate on projects. Collaboration accelerates the pace of innovation by pooling together knowledge, skills, and resources, ultimately leading to more impactful and scalable solutions.

In 2023, several efforts within the UZH Innovation Hub served the purpose of building an innovation community:

• The Spark Nights facilitate first interactions between researchers working on translational medicine projects with investors and experienced persons from industry. These events do not only serve the purpose of giving feedback to the projects but also to create trust with these important stakeholders early on.

• The UZH Incubator Lab meetings promote peer-learning and create a supportive community for the users of the UZH Incubator Lab in Schlieren. Innovation can be a challenging journey, filled with uncertainties and setbacks. A supportive community can help to provide encouragement, mentorship, and resources for individuals to navigate through obstacles and persevere in their pursuit of innovation.

• The Innovator Mornings were launched to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and best practices among early-stage innovation projects active in different fields. These events serve as a safe platform to share learnings from successes and failures. At the same time, insights from the individual team’s effort of developing products for real market needs, can inspire and inform others in their work. This event series was intentionally designed to bring together a diverse group of innovators addressing very different markets and ranging from very early stage to incorporated startups. When people with such diverse perspectives come together, they can challenge assumptions to generate new ideas and uncover opportunities that might not have been apparent otherwise.

The full potential of the activities within the UZH Innovation Hub can only be leveraged if we think beyond the university. There are several strong players in the academic innovation ecosystem in Zurich. In 2023, actors from the University of Zurich worked together with their peers at ETH Zurich, Wyss Zurich and the University Hospital Zurich to enable community building beyond the university with the Sciencepreneur Meetup event, targeting academic startup founders in the Life Sciences.

These activities are just some of many that contribute to a flourishing ecosystem that will not only benefit its members but also contributes to driving change, job creation, and societal impact in Zurich and beyond.

Spark Nights are organized on a quarterly basis by the Therapy Development Accelerator.

The UZH Incubator Lab meetings are organized on a quarterly basis by the Institute for Regenerative Medicine. The Innovator Mornings were launched in 2023 and will be organized three times per year by the UZH Innovation Office The Sciencepreneur Meetup was organized for the first time in 2023 by key innovation supporters in the Zurich academic innovation ecosystem.

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Funding for Science-based Innovation

For researchers motivated to translate their research results into innovative products and services, there are different funding schemes available at the university, regional and national level. At UZH, the Entrepreneur fellowships were launched in 2017 to accelerate the commercialization of UZH research. The program provides funding and resources to translate UZH research with commercial potential by demonstrating proof-of-concept and establishing market viability. The UZH Innovation Grants is a new program that aims to make projects fit for translation by validating the market potential. In 2023, twelve projects were supported by either an Innovation Grant or an Entrepreneur fellowship.

On a regional level, the Innovation program of the Digitalization Initiative of the Zurich Higher Education Institutions (DIZH) support innovation and translation of research results in the domain of digitalization. In 2023, UZH researchers were involved in 12 projects supported within the Project call and each six within the Founder Call and the Outreach Call respectively.

Innosuisse is the Swiss Innovation Agency. Its role is to promote science-based innovation in the interest of the economy and society in Switzerland. Their main program promotes innovation by academia-industry collaboration. In 2023, eleven projects at UZH received the Innovation project funding from Innosuisse in the total amount of 6.8 Mio CHF. While this number is still low compared to the total yearly Innosuisse funding volume of more than 200 Mio CHF, it does represent an increase of 70 % compared to 2022. More than three-quarters of the funded projects are in the Life Sciences domain, showing a potential for growth in other areas such as ICT, psychology, chemistry, plant sciences, business, and social innovation.

To bring the Innosuisse funding opportunities closer to UZH researchers, two events were organized last year by the Innovation Office in collaboration with the Digital Society Initiative and the Therapy Development Accelerator respectively.

DIZH Innovation Program

UZH Innovation Grants

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24 8 5 11 12 4 Number of Projects Granted 6800 517 517 1100 180 50 Funding Allocated (kCHF) 2140
UZH Entrepreneurship Fellows
Innosuisse Innovation
Innosuisse Innovation Project


Bringing high-skill refugees and jobs together through diverse hackathon teams

Hackathons are a popular way to solve problems, learn, and network. They are typical in the information technology sector, though increasingly used in other areas as well. In a recently approved Innosuisse project, Prof. Debra Hevenstone from the Berner Fachhochschule and Prof. Marek Pycia from UZH will design and study ways to improve diverse team formation in hackathons, while also testing whether hackathons might be a tool to help high-skill refugees find jobs matching their qualifications.

High-skill refugees generally find jobs well below their qualifications for multiple reasons including labor market integration programs that target lower-skill jobs and social networks that connect them to lower-skill jobs. In the new project, a consortium of industry, social sector, and academic partners will test whether high-skill refugees can use hackathons to demonstrate their skills and connect with potential employers. This approach builds on the fact that hackathons are already used as recruiting events and as tools to improve gender diversity in tech.

At the same time, larger hackathons face the challenge of how to form diverse teams – a critical building block given the evidence that diverse teams are more effective. While there are already team formation algorithms and tools, these ignore participant characteristics and preferences. Which is likely leading to participant dissatisfaction and less productive teams.

Team formation algorithms that consider characteristics and preferences have the potential to yield stable and diverse teams. Such algorithms could be used not only at hackathons, but also in education and the corporate sector – essentially any context in which diverse and satisfied teams are important.

The project targets two social impacts. First, the project will aid high-skill refugees find appropriate jobs, leading to benefits both for participants, taxpayers, and industries suffering labor shortages workers. Second, the development of the new team formation algorithm has the potential to improve productivity and inclusiveness in hackathons, education, and working life.

The academic partners for this Innosuisse project include: Prof. Dr. Debra Hevenstone at the Bern University of Applied Sciences who focus her research on unemployment insurance design and the financing of social services.

Prof. Dr. Marek Pycia at the University of Zurich is a world-renowned expert on Market Design.

Implementation partners include:, Datalets, Capacity, the State Secretariate of Migration, and Powercoders.

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Entrepreneurship Education

Clever ideas and breakthrough research results are only one ingredient for innovation. New products and services are a result of arduous work by motivated and talented people. At the University of Zurich, students and researchers can visit courses to develop their entrepreneurial skills. It is a strategic priority of the university to strengthen its offer for entrepreneurial education since building an entrepreneurial mindset among the students also means preparing them for a career in the future of work.

In 2023, six different hands-on entrepreneurship courses and a Minor in BioMed Entrepreneurship were attended by more than 200 participants. Some of the courses are offered by university entities, such as the Institute for Regenerative Medicine (IREM). Others are offered in partnership with external partners, such as the Innosuisse Business Concept Course run by Startup Campus. Moreover,

several courses have been initiated in a joint effort with the Innovation Office, for example, the Digital Ventures Seminar, which is offered together with the Chair for Entrepreneurship or the UZH Innovathon, a collaboration with the Digital Society Initiative. The courses convey know-how around business idea validation, market studies, intellectual property (IP) protection and competences such as team building, ideation, prototyping and pitching.

The Digital Entrepreneurship Bootcamp, launched in 2019, has shown to be a powerful enabler for students interested in developing ideas into products. Based on the rich experience and feedback gathered over the last years, the Bootcamp will relaunch in 2024 with a revised curriculum, welcoming students with business ideas in any domain.

Input by

Entrepreneurs and Market experts

Entrepreneurship Courses @UZH

BioEntrepreneurship & Innovation (BEI) Program

Digital Ventures Seminar

Digital Entrepreneurship Bootcamp


Innosuisse Business Concept Course

Innovators Camp

Minor in BioMed Entrepreneurship

UZH Innovathon

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Minor in BioMed Entrepreneurship

The Minor in BioMed Entrepreneurship is the first Minor in Entrepreneurship at the University of Zurich. On one hand, the medical and pharmaceutical industry is calling for young scientists who combine business, science, and technology knowledge. On the other hand, the university has a responsibility to educate young talents for diverse careers. The Minor in BioMed Entrepreneurship is a joint program of the Faculty of Science and the Institute for Regenerative Medicine (Faculty of Medicine) and welcomes students from both the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Business, Economics and Informatics. Since it was launched in 2021, it has attracted interest among students from various profiles at the Faculty of Sciences. The Minor consists of five modules. In the first four modules, students develop know-how by working in teams on a startup case. This is followed up by a 10-weeks minimum internship in a startup.

In the Minor, students explore entrepreneurship in the field of BioTech, MedTech and Digital Health. By the end of the program, the students have gained know-how and skills that are necessary to be successful innovators and leaders in the Life Science industry.

• Learning how scientific ideas can be translated into marketable products.

• Learning how startups can commercialize university research results.

• Learning how to design and present translational projects and business-oriented questions.

• Gaining in-depth entrepreneurial knowledge.

• Developing new competences in marketing, regulations, and financing of BioTech, MedTech and Digital Health projects.

• Developing new skills in networking, negotiation, communication, pitching, and leadership.

• Working on a BioTech, MedTech, or Digital Health team project.

The BioMed Entrepreneurship program is an amazing opportunity to gain first-hand exposure to the world of business. One of the greatest takeaways was the valuable network we built and the enriching internship experience, both of which will undoubtedly prove to be instrumental in my future endeavours in the BioTech/MedTech industry.”

I highly appreciate the new study program of the University of Zurich in BioMed Entrepreneurship. It will close the business-related knowledge gap in Life Sciences and prepare students in entrepreneurship and for industry positions.”

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Yoel Perez Haas Physics Master Student at UZH

UZH Startups

Innovative product ideas and the resulting company foundations are an important factor in Zurich’s economic development that strengthen its capacity for innovation. For this reason, UZH supports the establishment of spin-off and startup companies. Spin-off companies are startups that use intellectual property from the UZH in their products or processes. They make up a key instrument when it comes to translating university research into business practice. Working at a spin-off or startup company represents an alternative career path for university graduates.

UZH Spin-off Milestones

UZH spin-offs show a very high survival rate. More than 95 % of the companies are still operating five years after incorporation. In 2023, the University set up license agreements with eight new spin-off companies. On this page you can see some of the milestones achieved by UZH spin-offs in the last year.

UZH Startup Label

The UZH Startup Label is an opportunity for dedicated entrepreneurs to gain visibility for their venture. It is awarded to companies built by UZH researchers, graduates, university members who achieved the first founding round, and have a complete team and a business model to scale. The label confirms the link to UZH as a widely recognized university. In addition to increased credibility, the companies that are awarded the UZH Startup Label become part of the UZH startup community and receive visibility on the UZH Innovation Hub communication channels. In 2023, eight companies were awarded the label.

askEarth & Prometheus

askEarth & Prometheus are selected for the ESA-BIC Accelerator. askEarth AG, a UZH, EPFL and ETH Zurich spin-off is making information in satellite images available for decision makers. Prometheus Life Technologies works on the large-scale production of high-quality human tissue in microgravity.


Inivation partners with ETH Zurich to develop ultra-fast low-power eye tracking for augmented and virtual reality.


SUIND secures seed funding in a round led by Sunicon Ventures, a leading early-stage India-focused venture capital firm. The UZH spin-off uses AI and robotics for crop protection.

The UZH spin-off InCephalo AG received a competitive Eurostars grant (€2.3M) with the University of Basel and VitroScan to accelerate a novel brain cancer drug candidate.

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metaLead Therapeutics

metaLead Therapeutics AG is incorporated and wins 2nd place in the venture competition track “health and nutrition”.


Synthara, a semiconductor AI company wins the ZKB Pioneer prize 2023.

Dentexion GmbH

The spin-off Dentexion GmbH was incorporated and won the Venture Kick stage one. They provide an AI assistant for dentist, minimizing the variability associated with diagnosing patients by automatically extracting objective measures from 3D images.


Delta Labs

Delta Labs, a startup born out of UZH, offers comprehensive services for businesses integrating AI at any adoption level. The team provides AI literacy workshops, strategic AI use case mapping, and bespoke AI solutions to ensure smooth integration into business operations. Their prime innovation, “Delta One”, uses large language models for enhanced, audience-specific business communications that are both consistent and cost-effective. Delta Labs aims to evolve “Delta One” by adding specialized knowledge bases for more accurate, brand-coherent responses, improving both internal and customer support. Founded by Anne Scherer and Cindy Candrian, with backgrounds in quantitative marketing and a study on humans’ relationship with AI respectively, Delta Labs promotes a human-centric tech philosophy, emphasizing technology’s role in augmenting human abilities.

SEITO Biologics

Seito Biologics AG is one of the eight new UZH Spin-offs in 2023. The company develops a new treatment for autoimmunty, a disorder affecting an estimated 4% of the world population. There exist more than 80 different types of autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes mellitus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and systemic lupus erythematosus. These diseases are chronic and lack a cure.

Effector immune cells play an important role in fighting dangerous microbes and cancer. However, in autoimmune diseases effector immune cells can attack healthy tissues because they are insufficiently controlled by regulatory T (Treg) cells. Seito Biologics technology relies on a clinical candidate of a novel Treg cell engager (TREX) with the capability to boost Treg cells and restore their function in autoimmune diseases. This technology was developed at the Department of Immunology, led by Prof. Onur Boyman, with Dr. Ufuk Karakus as one of the main contributors. They started to work on the translation to the clinic in 2019 with the support of a UZH Entrepreneur fellowship.

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Students, researchers, aspiring entrepreneurs and innovation supporters are invited to numerous events every year to learn about entrepreneurship, get inspired and connect to foster exchange and collaboration. It is the role of the UZH Innovation Hub to initiate, co-organize and make such events visible to a broad audience. Through this work, it promotes an event portfolio that covers a wide domain range with an emphasize on creating opportunities for interdisciplinary exchange and impactful interactions.

To reach the target group at UZH directly with the offers, to strengthen the perception of the Innovation Hub, and to further expand the community, the presence in social media is a key factor. In 2023, UZH Innovation Hub’s social media channels continued to increase its reach, with over 7’300 followers on LinkedIn at the end of 2023, corresponding to an increase of 50% since 2021.

Female Founders Event

At the third Female Founders Event organized together with Startup Campus, four founders from different fields shared their insights and learnings in fireside chats. They talked about their journey and shared insights from both ups and downs. This intimate format provided the attendees with ample opportunity to ask their questions.

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Healthy Longevity Innovation Days

The 3rd Healthy Longevity Innovation Days focused on building the knowledge about innovation and entrepreneurship in the local researcher community. In a panel discussion, Eva Maria Håkanson spoke with the two UZH entrepreneurs Dr. Burcu Demiray and Marcus Grüschow, to convey to the audience the realities of entrepreneurship and the dynamics required for this challenging path.


RiskOn was launched in 2023 together with the Department of Banking and Finance and the N9 House of Innovation to bring together experienced risk professionals with experts and talents from the University of Zurich to co-create innovative solutions in risk management. The participants engaged in a 48-hour hackathon, and concept presentations, topped off with an award ceremony.

Innovator Mornings

The event series Innovator Mornings, as part of the UZH Entrepreneur fellowships and UZH Innovation Grants programs, was launched in 2023 to foster peer-to-peer learning and exchange in the UZH innovation community.


At the Scientifica, a science festival organized by ETH Zurich and UZH, the Innovation exhibition booth showcased how to bridge scientific research and practical application illustrated by the startups Textshuttle, askEarth, SUIND and Arcton.

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Donors and Sponsors

The innovation and entrepreneurship activities at UZH depend largely on the commitment from foundations and corporations that support the mission of the UZH Innovation Hub. We are grateful to have been able to work with motivated partners in 2023. Without their engagement, several activities and new initiatives of the UZH Innovation Hub would not have been possible.

We thank all partners and look forward to future collaboration!

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Space for your ideas

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UZH Innovation Hub

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