Call for rapid action proposals
With the call for “Rapid action proposals” of the Innovation Program, the Digitalization Initiative of the Zurich Higher Education Institutions (DIZH) supports projects that respond to immediate challenges with measures that can be implemented quickly. The first call for Rapid action proposals has the motto “The Last Mile” and supports projects for which concepts and implementation plans for digital management for societal challenges already exist and which have to travel “the last mile” to a functioning tool, service, or a social impact.
The first call for Rapid action proposals addresses in particular junior researchers or younger professionals from DIZH universities who want to contribute to the digital innovation capacity of the Canton of Zurich. The focus is on projects with solid preliminary work: Concepts have been defined and presented in publications, implementation plans are available, a proof-of-concept has been delivered or prototypes have been created – but the “final kick” to turn in reality is missing and, for example, has been used in teaching, utilized by civil society organizations, made an impact in the cultural scene or validated for market acceptance. It must be demonstrated that rapid completion is important for project success. Projects for the Rapid action proposal “The Last Mile” must start the latest three months after the award and may last a maximum of 12 months after the start of the project. According to the general conditions, each application in the DIZH Innovation Program must show at least an equal amount of own contribution by the universities as matching funds; advance contributions by the applicants may also be shown as counterpart funding (see section 5.4 in Konzept).
Cooperation between DIZH universities and/or practice partners (non-academic institutions, for example, organizations, companies and institutions from culture, business and civil society) is not mandatory, but is considered advantageous in the evaluation of applications. The project must produce a result relevant for practice that can achieve a public impact within a defined framework.
Call for proposals for ecosystem creation
The most extensive funds of the innovation program are used for calls for proposals for ecosystem creation. DIZH supports long-term innovation structures over a period for up to 5 years to create organizational forms that outlast DIZH. Calls for proposals for ecosystem creation are intended to sustainably connect DIZH partner universities both with each other and with the relevant social actors in terms of structure and content, thereby enabling innovations that are difficult to realize through conventional funding instruments.
A core objective of structural calls is the networking of DIZH partner universities with each other as well as with societal actors (practice partners). Accordingly, at least two applicants from different DIZH universities form the input team. The inclusion of at least one practice partner must be indicated in the application. DIZH ecosystems should enable innovations in broadly defined fields of activity such as education, design, health, or mobility and should lead to networking and cooperation between the relevant actors from research, development, and practice to enable high-quality innovations. The structures financed by the DIZH Innovation Program should have an impact or create value in the social, cultural, and economic region of Zurich. DIZH ecosystems are intended to form virtual and/or physical spaces of encounter, experimentation, and representation to create impact over time. The structures may use a wide variety of formats to enable networking and collaboration for the purpose of innovation. Examples of formats that are not exhaustive include FabLabs, hackathon series, hubs, makeathons, open spaces, platforms, living labs, interdisciplinary workshops, or thematic networks. The objectives can also be very different.
The requested DIZH funds for a DIZH ecosystem creation are up to 2 million CHF over the entire term (without own contribution, which must be generated again in the same amount). The application should show the expenses for the individual phases and milestones for the establishment and maintenance of the DIZH structure. Eligible applicants for this call are employed members of all DIZH universities during the planned project period. The institutional unit of higher degree (for example faculty, department, prorectorate) of the applicant confirms the support of the application, the provision of the necessary resources and the willingness to carry the structure together with the partner universities in compliance with the respective financial regulations. Students of DIZH universities can be team members but are not eligible to apply in this call itself.