Idiap’s new strategy of national interest for the Swiss government

Thanks to a significant multi-million budget increase during the 2021-2024 period, Idiap’s new strategy will create over 60 highly skilled jobs, and interdisciplinary research groups dedicated to technology transfer towards businesses. This program is possible thanks to the support of the Canton of Valais and the Municipality of Martigny.

“An unconditional support for Idiap’s the budget increase.” These are the words of the Swiss Council for Research and Innovation following its evaluation of Idiap’s research program submitted at the end of 2019 for the next period 2021-2024.  Today, with the signature of the agreement with the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), the Institute will play a key role to strengthen the social and economic impact of artificial intelligence-based technologies.

A multi-level support

The budget increase is linked to a mandatory and proportional increase of the supports from the Canton of Valais and the Municipality of Martigny. Loyal to Idiap since the beginning of the Institute, both partners also committed themselves to increase their contributions. Beyond this public funding, Idiap’s statuses mention that at least half of its total budget must come from research competitive funds (European, Innosuisse, Swiss National Science Foundation, etc.) and from industrial projects. Idiap’s budget will raise from 12 to about 20 million Swiss francs over the next four years. These resources will be used to hire specialists needed to facilitate and strengthen technology transfer towards economy and society.

These strategy implies that Idiap is willing to strengthen its impacts in eight specific domains related to artificial intelligence: signal processing, imaging & computer vision, robotics & autonomous systems, machine learning, speech & language, human-computer interaction, privacy & security, and data science & informatics. “To maximize our impact on social and economic challenges, we want to stress the development of novel technologies thanks to cross research groups,” Professor Hervé Bourlard, Idiap’s director, explains.

Highly skilled jobs for and increased impact

To develop new technologies, the Institute will pursue its growth and will hire about sixty people, most of whom will be directly working on artificial intelligence research and development. “For the Canton of Valais, Idiap represents the success of a research policy based on chains of value and on the creation of education, research and innovation-based ecosystems. Institutions such as Idiap—renowned at national and international levels—significantly contribute to the digital transformation and development of our Canton,” Christophe Darbellay, Head of Canton of Valais’ Economy and Education Department, explains. The economic influence of Idiap is also felt at the local as explained by Anne-Laure Couchepin, President of the Municipality of Martigny: “Idiap’s excellency allows us to a leading municipality in the field of innovation linked challenges and will certainly foster other business to follow the lead. It’s a great added-value for the municipality.”

More information

-    Idiap’s 2021-2024 research program
-    Annual report 2020