18 companies joining the KNOVA platform to innovate

© 2024 EPFL

© 2024 EPFL

KNOVA , EPFL’s Open Innovation Platform from the Vice Presidency for Innovation, kicks off this February its fourth year with a record number of partner companies. 

Unique in Europe, KNOVA is a tailored Open Innovation Platform offering a frictionless one-stop-shop for companies to explore and collaborate with EPFL’s rich research ecosystem as well as network with other EPFL Innovation Park based startups and companies.

In 2024 KNOVA welcomes 18 companies to the platform with this year’s cohort made of existing members:Audemars Piguet, Bobst, Chargeurs, LEMO, OM Pharma, RUAG, SipChem, and YB Startup, as well as newcomers: BIC, Bulgari, Bouygues, Comadur, Eaton, KNF, LEM, LVMH, Novartis and SIKA.

"Innovation ecosystems are becoming more and more complex with many actors and stakeholders. It is often hard for companies to have a comprehensive view and activate the right contacts, while keeping the focus on their strategic objectives. KNOVA is a plaftorm designed to offer a tailored exploration to assist them in this endevour, by tapping into the unique ecosystem of EPFL laboratories and startups, alongside with companies and research institutes that are part of our network." Federico Matteini, Head of the KNOVA Platform at the Vice-Presidency for Innovation.

Looking back

Among the 18 participants of the 2024 cohort, RUAG, a Swiss company specializing in aerospace engineering and the defense industry, is continuing its innovation journey with the Platform bringing this year the launch of their product GUARDIAN – a next-generation mobile security platform based on a solution initially developed for the Swiss Military.

“Working with KNOVA we were able to develop the GUARDIAN product in just one and a half years, which is very fast. We embraced the open innovation approach and took full advantage of the bridge to students and labs with tangible results,” said Fabien Künzler, Business Development Manager at RUAG. “We found that KNOVA removed the frictions of innovation and fostered the multiple layers of collaboration that were essential to this project.”

Swiss industrial giant, Kistler, joined KNOVA in 2022 with some specific goals, including visibility on campus to students and to work with EPFL labs developing technology from the ground up that could potentially be integrated into the company’s products. This has been achieved by working with the Swiss Solar Boat project in which students are building a boat with a unique solar design and state-of-the-art technologies.

“We’re thrilled to be working on the next iteration of the Swiss Solar Boat as it develops the use of hydrogen as a range extender,” said Dr Gerrit Schatte, Project Manager of Kistler’s Innovation Lab. “We will be providing a new shape sensing technology that allows the measurement of various quantities via optical methods and this is a great opportunity for us to apply our sensors in the field that is still a lab kind of environment.”

From an engineering perspective, the cutting-edge sensors should provide new insights that go beyond laboratory, bending tests and other data in order to optimize future design. Kistler believes the KNOVA Platform was the door opener to the company’s involvement in the project, removing the entry barriers that would have been there otherwise.

“The goal of all our activities is to build win-win collaborations between EPFL actors and companies. This means identifying collaboration opportunities that can at the same time nurture companies’ innovation pipeline to create the next generation of products or services, while maximizing the impact of the research activities. We look forward to championing new innovation developments in 2024, by building new bridges between the EPFL ecosystem and industry.” concluded Matteini.


KNOVA is the Open Innovation Platform from the Vice Presidency for Innovation at EPFL that supports companies leverage EPFL’s research ecosystem to nurture their innovation, while also providing EPFL startups and researchers the opportunity to make a global impact with their technologies.

If you are an EPFL researcher or a startup looking to find collaboration opportunities with any of our 2024 members or a business and would like to explore the potential of the EPFL ecosystem, please get in touch with us: [email protected]