Micronarc: «small is… powerful»!
Developing a true culture of innovation throughout Western Switzerland is one of the surest ways of strengthening long-term competitiveness in our region. With this in mind, the local authorities of Bern, Fribourg, Geneva, Jura, Neuchâtel, Valais and Vaud in Western Switzerland have joined forces to create four clusters, which are intended to stimulate innovation in the leading industrial sectors: Alp ICT, Bioalps, CleantechAlps and Micronarc.The Micronarc platform is designed to promote the scientific, technical and economic potential of Western Switzerland in the field of micro- and nanotechnologies, both inside and outside the country. The idea, too, is to stimulate technology transfer between research institutes and the industry and encourage optimum interaction between those involved in the sector.In a globalised world, where there is unremitting rivalry at each and every level, we must become more aggressive in all the leading fields, if we wish to remain competitive. Not only is our region situated on the geographical, technological and economic crossroads of the European market, but it also home to an exceptionally close-knit network of research and training institutes whose reputation for excellence has been recognised well beyond the country’s borders for many years now. At the heart of this network are the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) and the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), while in the canton of Fribourg is the Adolphe Merkle Institute (AMI), which is dedicated to nanoscience. These, and other research organisations are allowing Western Switzerland to position itself as an innovative region. Although Switzerland is not a member of the European Union, many bilateral agreements have been reached with our neighbours, underpinning collaborations and enabling the sector to move forward. Outside Europe, a number of agreements have been concluded with countries including the United States of America and Japan – and, here too, Western Switzerland has been able to position itself favourably. In addition, numerous local initiatives are in place, as is highlighted by the Assembly of European Regions ranking the Canton of Fribourg as a benchmark region in the field of nanotechnology in 2009. As this all illustrates, we are part of an exceptional cluster, both in terms of the strategic position of our region, and the impressive number and geographical proximity of the internationally significant institutes that it hosts. In this context, Micronarc has a crucial part to play in positioning Western Switzerland as a leading region in a very promising and critical field.