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«The most important thing is the utilisation of the knowledge gained»

Within the DDPS, the topic of innovation is gaining more and more momentum. But who does what and which role do the various stakeholders play? Dr. Thomas Rothacher, Head of armasuisse Science and Technology, discusses this topic and the opportunities for innovation in an interview.

Lucas Ballerstedt, Innovation and Processes specialist area, Science and Technology competence sector

Portrait photo of Dr. Thomas Rothacher, Head of armasuisse Science and Technology
Dr. Thomas Rothacher, Head of armasuisse Science and Technology

armasuisse Science and Technology (S+T) is using innovative methods – the DDPS innovation environments – to find solutions for current and future challenges. Here, solutions are developed and tested and findings subsequently utilised. However, armasuisse S+T is not doing this alone, but always in close cooperation with the consumer, within the DDPS as well as, if necessary, with industry and academia.

The topic of innovation, in other words, the ability of a company to develop innovative solutions, has been gaining in significance for some time now. This also applies to the Confederation. In particular, the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER) and the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS) are responsible for the topic of innovation in the Confederation. The Swiss Innovation Agency Innosuisse is positioned in the EAER as an administrative agency, for example. It is Innosuisse’s task to promote scientifically-based innovation in the interest of business and society. Various departments within the DDPS are dealing with the topic of innovations today.

Innovation Board V, consisting of representatives from armasuisse, the Army Command, RUAG and ETH Zurich has thus been created, for example. RUAG has founded the Swiss Innovation Forces (SIF), which is currently in the process of building up its staff. The SIF is the innovation unit of the DDPS. Its mission is to increase the innovation strength and speed of the Swiss Armed Forces through start-up approaches. In addition, the RUAG Innovation Organisation (RIO) which is responsible for innovation promotion within RUAG, has been set up. And last but not least, the Competence Domain armasuisse S+T Technology is operating the DDPS innovation environments. The aim here is to develop a solution in partnership with the consumers jointly from start to finish, in order to minimise the risks of bad investments for subsequent procurements.

A number of departments are thus dealing daily with innovations. You can find out in the following interview how the Head of armasuisse S+T, Dr. Thomas Rothacher, feels about the topic of innovation and what opportunities he sees in this context: