Paul Scherrer Institute launches Founder Fellowship


With the new Founder Fellowship, the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI gives young researchers the chance to become entrepreneurs. Today the official ceremony awarding this grant took place: The first three prize winners were announced. UBS supports this initiative.


Because the road from a promising research result to an innovative and commercially viable product is long and rocky, many good ideas die in an early dry stretch. That is why the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI)  has brought a new funding instrument into being with the Founder Fellowship, an 18-month grant that supports young researchers and engineers of PSI on the entrepreneurial career path, financially as well as with coaching and counselling. The Founder Fellowship is endowed with 150,000 Swiss francs per person, which the winner can use for salary, material, or other costs.

“We want to promote entrepreneurship and an entrepreneurial culture at PSI”, explains John Millard of the Technology Transfer office. <q>With the Founder Fellowship, we can embolden talented researchers at PSI to pursue their promising business ideas and found a spin-off.</q> With the initiative PSI joins universities such as ETH Zurich, EPFL, University of Zurich and University of Lausanne which have similar programs.

In January, PSI called on its researchers to apply for a Founder Fellowship. During the summer an external expert panel selected, out of the business ideas submitted for the first round of the Founder Fellowship, three winners who were given their Fellowship certificates at a ceremony today. The three winners of a PSI Founder Fellowship and their projects:

  • Philipp Spycher (Picture above) wants to develop drugs that are more stable and, thus, have fewer side-effects.
  • Jean-Baptiste Mosset wants to commercialise a neutron detector to spot plutonium and uranium.
  • Oles Sendetskyi wants to use polarity reversal in nanomagnets to develop a sustainable power source for small devices.

In the new year another round of competition for the Founder Fellowship will be announced. <q>“Our goal is to firmly establish the Founder Fellowship as a funding instrument for budding entrepreneurs at PSI</q>”, explains John Millard.

Photo: Paul Scherrer Institute/Mahir Dzambegovic