Skip to content

Innovation program

DIZH’s innovation program is one of the initiative’s core components. Our partner universities are running various types of innovative digitalization projects with the private and public sector. This is intended to bring research findings closer in line with practical real-world applications and also allows researchers to consider the needs and experiences of their partners in industry and government. Here the following characteristics of innovation play an important role: being open to taking risks, incorporating a variety of disciplines, creating value and working together.

Funding from the innovation program will be distributed in a transparent and competitive process. As part of our calls for proposals, a jury consisting of members from partner institutions will select the best project applications and fund them according to the available budget. Various calls will be launched every year.

Open calls

The Founder Call supports students and employees of DIZH universities in founding start-ups or spin-offs in the field of digital transformation.

In June, the call for proposals for the 1st Outreach Call will be published. In the summer, the 3rd project call will be advertised here.

Here you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions about the funding.

Note on future calls for proposals

Structure Call 

Application submission 2024 and 2026

Project Call

Application submission annually until 2026, each fall

Founder Call

Application submission for the first Founder Call in september 2023, others in 2025 and 2028

Rapid Action Call 

Application submission annually until 2028

Outreach Call

Application submission for first Outreach call in october 2023, additional 2025 and 2028.

The schedule presented here is preliminary and will be adjusted as needed. We invite you to subscribe to our newsletter to be informed about ongoing calls. 

Funded projects

In the innovation program, 45 projects have been funded in 5 calls so far. An overview of the projects and structures can be found here.

Calls for proposals can largely be categorized into the following groups:

  • a. Proposals for ecosystem creation: for creating long-term innovation structures (Structure Call)
  • b. Project proposals: for a variety of parties to tackle a specific issue
  • c. Founder proposals: for founding spin-offs, start-ups and non-profit organizations; open to employees and students at partner universities
  • d. Rapid action proposals: for putting ideas into practice when time is of the essence
  • e. Outreach proposals: for expanding and boosting the visibility of DIZH issues and projects

You can find more detailed information in the program concept and rules (German only).

DIZH’s innovation program has a CHF 80 million budget for the 2020–2029 period, to which the initiative and the partner universities are each contributing half.

Resolution of the Parliament of the Canton of Zurich to provide funding to the Digitalization Initiative of the Zurich Higher Education Institutions (DIZH) from 2020–2029 (German only)

The innovation panel is responsible for drafting concepts and decision-making criteria for the innovation program. The panel consists of a core team of innovation experts from DIZH partner universities. If needed, the panel can call on additional experts inside or outside the university community.

In their activities as reviewers or approvers, both members of the Innovation panel and the Management Board may have potential conflicts of interest.

The submission and recusal rules in the DIZH Innovation Programme (PDF, german) regulate both the submission of applications and the recusal from reviewing and approving project proposals.


Office Innovation program DIZH

Dr. Helge Johannssen:

    • Gabriele Biller, Manuel Bamert:

For inquiries regarding matching funds and other questions regarding financing and the call, please contact:

Program concept and rules

The concept document describes the operations and implementation of DIZH’s innovation program. It provides information on the goals of the program and how they contribute to the overarching goals of DIZH.

The rules for DIZH’s innovation program over the 2020–2029 period establish the organizational structure of the program and how it is run.