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(l to r) Dr. Broennimann, Dr. Witte, Dr. Verkuil © PARK innovAARE
(l to r) Dr. Broennimann, Dr. Witte, Dr. Verkuil © PARK innovAARE

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Launched in 2018, the Swiss BIC of CERN Technologies is a high-tech incubator focused on accelerator-based technologies. The status, exceptional know-how and extensive experience of our jury members are indicative of our competition’s high quality and its far-reaching impact on the high-tech startup world. 

All four partners of the Swiss BIC of CERN Technologies are represented in the Selection Committee: CERNPARK INNOVAARE, the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI, and the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW). Additionally, three independent experts from the fields of Intellectual Property (IP), finance and industry sit on the committee.

Leading up to the pitch event, the members of the selection committee review the business plan of each finalist individually, in writing. This feedback is sent to the finalists ahead of the event. At the pitch session, the selection committee will listen to the presentation of each team and select the winner behind closed doors. 

Knowing whom the jury is comprised of is of significant importance for both onlookers and competitors. Below is a short introduction of the individuals who will select Switzerland’s next top innovation enterprise. 

Dr. Christian Brönnimann (Board Member of PARK INNOVAARE)

Dr. Brönnimann obtained a Master’s Degree in Physics from the University of Zürich and a PhD in Physics from the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI. 

In 2006, following five years as Head of the SLS Detector Groupat PSI, he founded the company DECTRIS Ltd,which produces the world’s most advanced detector technology. With dual-energy and spectral imaging, DECTRIS is the only X-ray detector supplier that offers researchers high-quality color images with the greatest geometrical accuracy, sensitivity, and spectral fidelity.

The quality of the applications received this year was exceptional, indicating an ongoing dynamic trend in creative output and high level of technological knowledge and mastery in Switzerland and abroad. – Dr. Brönnimann

Dr. Giovanni Anelli (Head of Knowledge Transfer Group at CERN)

Dr. Anelli’s research work led to the implementation of new technologies in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC)at CERN. During the 10 years that he invested in CERN’s Microelectronics Group, he developed new integrated circuits for applications in high-energy physics and particle physics. Throughout his career, he has amassed extensive experience not only in the industry sector, but also in knowledge transfer.

In addition to a PhD in Electrical Engineering from the Polytechnic Institute in Grenoble, France, he also earned an Executive MBA in General Management from HEC Paris. 

“Spin-offs will create impact by developing applications of CERN Technologies and know-how outside of high-energy physics. It is fascinating to discover the diverse ideas for innovative applications that emerge on a yearly basis.” – Dr. Anelli

Prof. Dr. Arie Hans Verkuil (Head of Institute Management at FHNW)

Prof. Dr. Verkuil studied Theology and Business Administration at the Universities of Basel, Zurich and Fribourg and completed his doctoral thesis at the University of Zurich. In addition to leading the Institute of Management, School of Business at one of Switzerland’s leading universities of applied sciences and arts, he is also the Chair of the Swiss Challenge Entrepreneurs’ Programme.

The positive evolution and well-being of society and the economy depend not only on innovation, but on the integration of innovation into every-day life through smart entrepreneurship. Identifying and promoting new technological ideas is essential to help support the birth of new businesses. I am honored to play a role in this. – Prof. Dr. Verkuil

Mr. John Millard (Head of Technology Transferat the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI):

Mr. Millard owns an MBA from London Business School and a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Bradford. In addition to founding his own company, he has filled top management positions in global companies, including ABB and BP Chemicals Ltd.

Since 2018 Mr. Millard has occupied the position of Head of Technology Transfer at PSI and is a jury member for a number of startup competitions, including the Swiss Technology Award, Venture Leaders – Life Sciences, Venture and Genisuisse Central Switzerland. 

The progress being made in research is continuously accelerating. Transferring the knowledge gained into marketable products requires incubators such as the Swiss BIC of CERN Technologies. Scientists need to receive support from research institutions such as the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI, as well as from the worlds of industry and finance, to transform their unique ideas into profitable businesses. That is why I am here. – Mr. Millard

Mr. Michel Hübner (Head of the Swiss Industry Liaison Office to International Research Organisations, Swiss ILO)

Mr. Michel Hübner heads The Swiss Industry Liaison Office, the goal of which is to connect the Swiss industry with international research organizations as well as to provide Swiss companies with the support to achieve commercial supply or service contracts at these organizations.

Mr. Hübner holds a Master of Science in Physics from EPFL as well as in Electronics Engineering from Sup Télécom Paris. In 2006 he completed an MBA entitled “Technology and Innovation” from Université Aix Marseille. 

Switzerland has topped the global rankings in innovation for nine consecutive years. This did not happen coincidentally - it is the result of tireless efforts combined between universities, research centers, government bodies, and the worlds of industry and finance. Competitions such as the Swiss BIC of CERN are also key in identifying and supporting the next big idea and supporting the next high-tech start-up. – Mr. Michel Hübner

Dr. Hubert Witte (Head of Patent Department at F. Hoffmann-LaRoche Ltd)

In addition to his training as a chemist and biochemist at Münster University in Germany, Dr. Witte pursued postgraduate training at the Institute of Cell Biology at the University of Tübingen and later obtained his degree as European Patent Attorney. As the Head of the Roche patent group in Basel, Switzerland, he is responsible for capturing pharmaceutical innovation, counselling business and defending and enforcing patent rights.  

“Identifying novel technological developments and ensuring their legal protection is a non-negotiable aspect of the innovation ecosystem. The uniqueness of the ideas presented at Swiss BIC of CERN Technologies is a testimony to the diligent work accomplished by these scientists and budding entrepreneurs.” – Dr. Witte

Mr. Steffen Wagner (Co-Founder & CEO investiere - Verve Capital Partners AG)

Wagner steered his venture capital firm to a yearly investment volume of over CHF 30 million, making it Switzerland's most active early-stage investor. investiere's digital venture capital platform showcases European software and hardtech startups that undergo a rigorous selection and screening process. Mr. Wagner earned an MBA at Freie Universität Berlin and also sits on the jury of the venture start-up competition.

Without investment, innovation cannot prove its worth to humankind. But innovation must also create market value. Here at the Swiss BIC of CERN, we select the innovations most likely to generate the interest of investors and return on investment after being placed on the market. – Mr. Wagner

On Wednesday 16 October, the five finalists of the 2019 program will pitch their product and business idea to the selection committee and to invited guests (VCs, investors, IP and technology experts). The pitch workshop will be an all-day event held at PARK INNOVAARE, in Villigen, Switzerland.