Frequently asked questions.

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What is an Innovation Booster?

With the Innovation Booster instrument, Innosuisse aims to promote science-based and sustainable radical innovation (read the Innovation Booster Mission Statement and Guiding Principles by Innosuisse). The funding instrument creates opportunities to explore common problems in a collaborative, open innovation environment.

What is Open Innovation?
What is Radical Innovation?
What is a Circular Building Industry?

We use the circular economy concepts provided by the Ellen McArthur Foundation. A circular economy is an alternative model in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life. Circular construction therefore aims to close building material loops by reusing, sharing, leasing, repairing, refurbishing, upcycling or recycling rather than continuing the traditional take-make-consume-dispose process. It is about considering how to maximise the lifespan and reusability of entire buildings or materials at the very start of the design process.

What languages are used in the CBI Booster?

We are able to accomodate the languages English, German, Swiss German and French in our written and oral form of communication and event formats. We are also able to accomodate Italian in our written and spoken form of personal communication.

Who is involved in the CBI Booster?

The CBI Booster is comprised of a leading house, core team members and a large consortium. The Sustainability in Business Lab (sus.lab) at the ETH Zurich is responsible for steering the activities of the Booster as the leading house. Together with the core team members CircularHub, Empa NEST, Switzerland Innovation Park Central, dss+, HSLU, Swiss Recycling and sia, we hold collaborative events, support the awarded teams and share knowledge.

Who is part of the jury?

For every call, we select a new, independent jury consisting of 5 to 6 people from the public, the industry and academia with the effort of keeping an equal gender balance.

What happens if there is a conflict of interest between a jury member and a project team?

We are aware that people may be involved in multiple activities and with potentially competing interests. In the case of a conflict of interest, the jury member is exempt from evaluating the respective application without the application suffering the absence of this evaluation. You may also consider submitting the application to the next call to avoid conflicting interests.

When is the new jury cohort announced?

The new jury cohort is always announced in the weeks following the call deadline and before the pitching event via our LinkedIn page.

Application process
What is a project idea?

During the CBI Booster program you will focus on testing the desirability,
viability, and/or feasibility of your idea. An idea can be a new product, process, service or business model that:

  • Strengthens circular economy within the Swiss building industry.
  • Has a positive impact on planet, prosperity and people ​
  • Involves other stakeholders across the value chain​
Who can apply for funding?

All types of organisation are encouraged to apply to the CBI Booster – Swiss start-up, SME, or large company, a non-for profit, or a research team. However, to apply you will need one implementation partner and one research partner. Applications with multiple collaboration parties are encouraged.

How much time is needed to submit an application?

The CBI Booster application is easy and does not consist of an elaborate funding application. The application process is done using an online service called Jointcreate. After opening an account, the main task is to describe your idea by answering predefined questions. The total answers will not exceed the equivalent of two A4 pages. Depending on the stage of development of your idea, the whole process should take you no longer than 3-4 hours.

How do I apply to receive a CBI Booster funding?

We use the open innovation platform Jointcreate to manage the application process. Please follow this link to submit your idea. There you will also find further instructions on the online application process.

When is the application process open?

We have a call twice a year for applying with your project idea to receive funding. Calls open twice per year in January (closes early April) and May (closes early September).

I have confidential information in my application that I do not want to share with the public. What shall I do?

Jointcreate offers the possibility to set your application on “private”, so that it is not accessible to the public. Your application will only be viewed by the organisations involved in the CBI Booster and the members of the jury. Our core team members and jury members are not allowed to disclose confidential information outside of the purpose of awarding and supporting project teams.

Can I submit multiple project ideas?

Yes, you are free to submit more than one project idea.

Can I apply to multiple calls?

Yes, you are free to submit your project idea(s) to more than one call.

My project idea got rejected. Can I apply again?

Yes, you can. We actively encourage you to take on the feedback you received from the jury and submit an adapted form of your project idea to our next call.

What are the minimum requirements?

To be eligible for the CBI Booster, the minimum requirements are:

  • The idea focuses on strengthening the circular economy within the Swiss building industry
  • The proposal focuses on testing the desirability, viability, and/or feasibility of your idea/solution
  • The innovation team (people and organizations that will work on the idea during the Booster program) consists of minimum 1 implementation partner and 1 research partner
  • The implementation partner is based in Switzerland
  • All questions of the application form need to be answered
  • The applicant needs to show in their application that they can attract 10% of the funded amount (2’000 CHF) in third party funding.
Can I apply to the CBI Booster if my company is not located in Switzerland?

The main beneficiary (leading organization) of the funds needs to be based in Switzerland. If you are involved as a collaboration partner, it is not necessary for you to be based in Switzerland.

I have an idea, but have not yet defined a concrete project. Can I still apply?

You do not need to present an elaborate business plan in your application. However, we encourage you to attend the Design Thinking Workshop and the Roundtables to further define your project idea together with our experts (visit our Event page).

I have an idea, but no collaborating partners. Can I still apply?

Since collaboration is an essential decision criterion, we encourage you to search for further collaborating partners. Our events (roundtables, design thinking workshops and UnConference) are a great way to connect with like-minded people and form project teams. You can also contact the leading house for help with your search.

What is a Roundtable?

A roundtable is our knowledge exchange format. We present the CBI Booster and bring together like-minded people with experts from the circular building industry to discuss specific challenges that the industry faces on its way to a circular building industry. The format actively encourages open discussion around the topics through ideation sprints. The roundtables conclude with the teams presenting their developed solutions for the posed challenge.

What is the UnConference?

The Circular Building Industry UnConference is our yearly highlight of the CBI Booster with an audience of around 150-200 people from the built environment. UnConference means, that the participants shape the conference together with us. During the conference, we present our newly funded project ideas through innovation pitches and posters, hold penal discussions, invite national and international experts to inform about best practices, new legislation, state of the art technology and recent research outputs, conduct active workshops and spare enough time for networking and discussions. The event concludes with an open end, drinks and food, and music.

What is the Pitch and Enrich Workshop?

The Pitch&Enrich Workshop is a pitching and design thinking workshop. It offers the opportunity to learn more about the core principles for design thinking, work on and refine your project idea, and get support from peers and experts in further developing your project idea to ultimately hand it into the CBI Booster program. It is a also a great opportunity to engage with like-minded people and find further collaborating parties.

What events are happening during the year?

The CBI Booster has a specific timeline of events twice each year. After a call is open, there will be roundtables, a design thinking workshop, the pitching event and the UnConference (have a look at our 2023 program).

How can I participate at CBI Booster events?

We always announce upcoming events on LinkedIn and on Jointcreate. There you will also find further details and the links to sign up to the events.

How can I be involved in CBI Booster events?

There are multiple possibilities for involvement in the CBI Booster events. If you are a company, you can 1) define calls around a specific challenge you face, 2) support interesting project ideas with your expertise and/or financial contributions, 3) present your solutions at the UnConference, 4) apply for the CBI Booster program with a team, 5) and many more.

If you are an individual, you can 1) participate in our events, 2) apply for the CBI Booster program, 3) be a jury member, 4) speak as an expert at a roundtable and/or the UnConference, 5) and many more.

CBI Booster Program
What happens after the teams are awarded?

The kick-off event will take place approximately one week after the awarded teams are announced. From the online kick-off session onwards you will have 6 months to work on your project. After 3 months, there will be an online check-in session with the leading house and a final online event. During the check-ins the teams will present their progress/final outcome during short pitches.

What are the obligations after being selected for the CBI Booster program?

You are obliged to be present during the kick-off, the check-in and final event. Further, you will be present at the UnConference in November presenting your poster to the circular building industry stakeholders (have a look at our 2023 program).

When does the CBI Booster program start?

The program officially starts with the online kick-off session approximately 10 days after the awarded teams are announced.

How long is the CBI Booster program?

The CBI Booster program last about 6 months after the kick-off event. In some cases it might be possible to adapt the length of the program.

What does the reporting consist of during the program?

We keep your reporting effort very limited as you should be able to really focus on the development of your idea. We will need a signed confirmation of your expenses split into three categories (external support, materials, working hours). A project report is delivered in the form of a short project pitch in the middle and at the end of the CBI Booster program. You are obliged to keep a record of your bills in case of an external audit.

I am interested in engaging with the CBI Booster - what possibilites are there?

There are multiple possibilities to engage with the CBI Booster. If you are a company, you can 1) define calls around a specific challenge you face, 2) support interesting project ideas with your expertise and/or financial contributions, 3) present your solutions at the UnConference, 4) apply for the CBI Booster program with a team, 5) and many more.

If you are an individual, you can 1) participate in our events, 2) apply for the CBI Booster program, 3) be a jury member, 4) speak as an expert at a roundtable and/or the UnConference, 5) and many more.

What can the funding be used for?

The funding can be used for working hours, materials and external support.

How much money is awarded?

In general, 20’000 CHF is awarded. Depending on available 3rd party funding, the grant may be larger.

Will you help in searching for further funds after the CBI Booster funding period?

We constantly update the newly awarded teams and alumni teams regarding (new) funding schemes and further acceleration programs. We also continously update our insights into larger funding schemes and can provide a link to Innosuisse experts for more infos on Innosuisse programs.

When will I receive the grant?

The awarded money is disbursed approximately 1 month after the winning teams are announced.

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