The BREF funding program, which was implemented in close cooperation with «swissuniversities -– chamber of universities of applied sciences», focused on the topic of «social innovation» since 2009. The six annual calls triggered 269 applications, of which 31 were approved. About three quarters of these projects were in the fields of social work, health/nursing, music and theatre, and economics. Over the entire program period, funding amounted to CHF 9.03 million, with an average of CHF 291,000 in start-up funding for the projects. Thanks to their strong practical relevance, the implemented UAS projects helped a large number of social innovations to achieve a breakthrough. In addition to a variety of effects in research and practice, the BREF projects generated follow-up financing of CHF 4.6 million.
The strategic goal of establishing «social innovations» as a funding theme was achieved in exchange with the federal funding agencies Bridge and Innosuisse. The jointly organised event in October 2019 initiated a discussion between researchers, partners in practice and funding agencies on how funding conditions and structures for social innovation projects should be designed in future.
Applications were open to cross-departmental and interdisciplinary projects that – with the active participation of bridge partners from practice, society and business – addressed specific needs and relevant problems.