The new Nestlé R&D Accelerator, based in Lausanne, aims to boost innovation and speed-to-market, with the support of  leading local academic institutions.

The accelerator brings together Nestlé scientists, students and start-ups to advance science and technology with the objective to accelerate the development of innovative products and systems. It will be operational by the end of 2019 and is part of Nestlé's global R&D network located at the company's fundamental research entity Nestlé Research, which employs around 800 people in Lausanne.

This unique innovation ecosystem includes several units of Nestlé's R&D organization, leading academic institutions such as the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) 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. 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", says Stefan Palzer, CTO of Nestlé.

A considerable business potential

"The business potential of such a project is enormous. Nestlé's initiative embodies what we consider a key factor for innovation: connecting the talents of our academic institutions and the entrepreneurial, disruptive spirit of start-ups around the expertise of a research center dedicated to the growth of a big company", said Philippe Leuba, State Councilor of the canton of Vaud.

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 CHF 1.7 billion invested in the country.