‘Creating an innovation powerhouse’: Nestlé establishes Swiss R&D accelerator

By Katy Askew

- Last updated on GMT

©GettyImages/krisanapong detraphiphat
©GettyImages/krisanapong detraphiphat
Nestlé has created a new R&D accelerator to bring together Nestlé scientists, students and start-ups with the ambition of accelerating the development of innovative products and systems.

Internal, external or mixed teams will be eligible to use dedicated hot desks over a defined period of time. These teams will be provided with access to Nestlé’s research expertise and infrastructure, including shared labs, kitchens, bench-scale and pilot scale equipment.

The first teams have been selected and the accelerator will be operational by the end of 2019, Nestlé revealed today (10 April)/

The accelerator is based at Nestlé Research, the company’s fundamental research entity, in Lausanne, Switzerland, and the facility is part of Nestlé's global R&D network. Nestlé Research employs around 800 people.

By linking the accelerator to Nestlé Research, the company said it is placing the function “at the heart of a unique innovation ecosystem”​ with a “high density​” of expertise in food and nutrition. This ecosystem includes several units of Nestlé's R&D organization, leading academic institutions such as the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) and Zurich (ETHZ) and the Swiss Hospitality Management School in Lausanne (EHL) as well as a wide range of innovation partners, suppliers and start-ups.

"We have taken a number of steps to accelerate innovation, including our enhanced prototyping capabilities and the funding of fast-track projects. With the Nestlé R&D Accelerator and its proximity to our R&D and business teams, we will bring open innovation to a new level,”​ Stefan Palzer, CTO of Nestlé, explained.

“Combining our internal expertise and the deep knowledge of our academic and industrial partners with the external entrepreneurial creativity is a unique approach and will create an innovation power-house. It will accelerate the translation of innovative ideas and concepts into tangible prototypes and products."

Nestlé has the world's largest private food and nutrition R&D organization, involving about 4,200 people on 23 sites around the world. Switzerland remains of central importance for Nestlé, with around 60% of its global R&D budget of CHF1.7 billion invested in the country.

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