Since its founding in 1997, Gebert Rüf Stiftung has addressed the long-familiar funding gap between the Swiss National Science Foundation and today's Innosuisse (formerly: CTI), known as the «valey of death», where the funding chain breaks down for many innovative projects, no more basic research funding is available and venture capital is not yet accessible. By pursuing a support strategy based on areas of activity, Gebert Rüf Stiftung achieves a more sustainable impact than would be possible if the same resources were channelled into the kind of diversely scattered support typical of grant-making foundations.
The «Pilot projects» programme created by GRS in 1998 was a support vehicle with no topic restrictions for particularly original, innovative and surprising projects of a proven pilot nature with Swiss-wide significance. Initial funding was used to realize multiple small-scale beacon projects offering groundbreaking qualities, major potential and a conduit for developing thematic areas of activity.
The launch of the BRIDGE funding programme jointly managed by the SNSF and Innosuisse marked the closure of this gap after 20 years. GRS has thus met its objective: the bridge has been built. This allows GRS to turn its attention away from promoting pilot projects and instead to channel resources into the «InnoBooster» programme to address a new and promising gap area with huge potential. GRS remains faithful to its role as initial funder: Wissenschaft.Bewegen (making science effective) is now also a key feature of the foundation's visual identity.