CSEM can look back on 2021 as a successful year, both in commercial terms and regarding the expansion of its industrial partnerships. Revenues grew by almost 9 percent. This can be attributed to two main factors: economic recovery and an increase in income from the private sector, which rose by 23 percent. This rise in activity also saw CSEM’s team expand by another 27 full-time members (+5%).
In the past year, we've once again been able to showcase our world-class research and development in numerous projects across different industrial sectors,” enthuses CSEM CEO Alexandre Pauchard. “We have joined forces on R&D projects with 233 industrial customers. This number is a testament to the faith these companies have in CSEM's expertise, and their trust in the organization to strengthen their competitive edge in Switzerland and beyond,” adds Pauchard.
The number of patents filed under CSEM’s name also grew by nine to a total of 205.
World's first "skin factory"
CSEM remained focused on its three priority research areas: precision manufacturing, digital technologies, and sustainable energy. The coherence of these research pillars and the convergence of their technologies create important innovative advantages, benefitting the organization’s customers and society. A world-first was developed together with Zurich-based company CUTISS. The automated machine for skin graft production won third prize in the Impact Expected category of the EARTO Innovation Awards. The "skin factory", as it is known, uses a small biopsy of healthy skin to produce large quantities of patient-specific skin grafts, representing a potential revolution in the treatment of severe burns.
Digital technologies as a lever for growth
One focus of CSEM’s development strategy is the digitalization of products and services. Wearable medical devices are a good example of how digital technology can improve the quality of life for patients. As part of its expansion in this area, CSEM has further strengthened its working partnership with several university hospitals in Switzerland. For example, 2021 saw a project on the prevention of epileptic seizures come to fruition.
Increasing the impact of start-ups
In line with its mission to transfer its knowledge and technologies to industry, CSEM is currently working on more than 400 technology projects that benefit its industrial partners. Approximately 10% of these projects are with start-ups, many of which were formed in collaboration with Swiss universities and the Swiss federal institutes of technology. To help foster the creation of start-ups from within its ranks, CSEM launched a new initiative called ACCELERATE. Its objective is to encourage and support innovative ideas, offering a structured approach that promotes their further development right through to project maturity and the foundation of a successful start-up. For CSEM, this presents a further opportunity to inject cutting-edge technology into the Swiss economy, creating new jobs in the process.
“Though 2021 was still dominated by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, CSEM’s team once again proved beyond doubt that even in challenging circumstances, they can develop innovations that are of great value to society,” explains Claude Nicollier, Chairman of the Board of Directors, CSEM. “We have grown in every aspect – customers, employees, revenues – and we are off to a great start in 2022 as well,” Nicollier concludes.