Key Figures to Underline the Impact of Support

Since 25 years, Gebert Rüf Stiftung has been providing risk capital in the form of targeted initial funding and making projects eligible for follow-up financing. In certain cases it will support projects through to the consolidation phase and until they achieve financial independence. Gebert Rüf Stiftung is currently supporting and monitoring over 144 projects – with varying levels of funding and coaching. Since the foundation's inception, 1'267 projects have been approved for support, 1'123 of which are now closed.


Since it was established, Gebert Rüf Stiftung has released a total of CHF 282 million in funding, CHF 259 million of which has been invested in direct project support (as at 31.12.2022). The annual funding volume developed as follows:

Providing fresh impetus

Gebert Rüf Stiftung sees it as its task to take risks and provide financing in order to help innovations get off the ground. By supporting projects with a clear identity, it strives for measurable leverage.It positions its funding in selected funding gaps where innovative and early-stage projects need a boost for the benefit of Switzerland’s economy and society. 

Thanks to its flexible support strategy, Gebert Rüf Stiftung is able to provide education, research and innovation with fresh impetus where government support bodies leave gaps due to an institutional aversion to risks. Under its areas of activity, Gebert Rüf Stiftung regularly launches new themes. Success is ensured if these themes become sustainably embedded in the funding landscape.

Showing impact

After 20 years of funding activity from 1998-2018, it is now time for the foundation to take stock and evaluate the impact of its funding among all its partners in relation to the foundation’s core criteria: Gap function, Effectiveness, Trigger.

The following summary is a synthesis of the evaluation of approximately 70 % of all closed projects, updated by the end of 2022. Projects covering specific areas of activity were evaluated separately and as a whole.


Projects have to ...

  • ... 94 % closed a crucial innovation gap; 75 % of which in terms of innovation, 83 % in terms of stimulus.
  • ... 65 % of which created a new product.
  • … 32 % in the launch of a startup.
  • ... 74 % established a new partnership: with industry (51 %), service providers (36 %) and the public sector (66 %).
  • Leverage effect: The closed projects supported by the foundation with a total of CHF 196 million generated further financing totalling CHF 8'380 million.

Funding based on area of activity

Gebert Rüf Stiftung’s areas of activity address different funding priorities which are periodically redefined. The following selection of closed areas of activity shows the impact of a support strategy based on areas of activity:

Pilot Projects, 1998 – 2018

Since it was founded in 1997, Gebert Rüf Stiftung has addressed the funding gap between basic research and the market. 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» program 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. As with all funding activities, the focus was on 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. Initial and start-up funding was used to realise 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 program in 2017 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. GRS has withdrawn from pilot funding; with the «InnoBooster» program, it addresses new promising gaps with great potential.



From 2009 to 2017, Gebert Rüf Stiftung supported model research and development projects in the field of social innovation under the title «BREF - Brückenschläge mit Erfolg». They helped to increase the potential of the «soft» disciplines of universities of applied sciences as R&D partners. The sum of CHF 1.5 million p.a. was reserved for this purpose.

The BREF funding program, which was implemented in close collaboration with «swissuniversities – chamber of universities of applied sciences», has focused on the topic of «social innovation» since 2009. The annual calls for projects were aimed at members of universities of applied science who develop strong ideas that can also serve as models for new and promising collaborations with partners from business and society. Thanks to their strong practical relevance, universities of applied sciences had the specific potential to help social innovations achieve a breakthrough.