Project

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Financing investments in clean technologies

Applicant Noailly Joelle
Number 172395
Funding scheme NRP 73 Sustainable Economy
Research institution Centre International Environmental Studies Institut de hautes études internationales et du développement IHEID
Institution of higher education Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies - IHEID
Main discipline Economics
Start/End 01.01.2018 - 31.12.2021
Approved amount 714'719.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Economics
Science of management

Keywords (7)

Finance; Financing; Clean; Innovation; Investment; Start-up; Environmental Policy

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Angesichts der Unterzeichnung der Ziele für nachhaltige Entwicklung (SDG) und der Klimavereinbarungen von Paris, ist es wichtig, die Finanzierungsmechanismen von "Cleantech" (oder sauberen Technologien) in Bereichen wie elektrische Mobilität, Energieeffizienz oder der Nutzung neuer Materialien besser zu verstehen. Daher zielt dieses Projekt darauf ab, die Bedingungen und Mechanismen für die Finanzierung von Cleantech genau zu untersuchen.
Lay summary

Hintergrund
In der Schweiz hat der Swiss Cleantech Masterplan 2010 zum Ziel, die Innovationsfähigkeiten der Schweizer Unternehmen im Cleantech-Bereich zu stärken.

Ziel
Zuerst werden wir den Einfluss politischer Unsicherheit auf Investitionen untersuchen. Die Cleantech-Technologien sind zum grossen Teil von der Kontinuität und Stabilität staatlicher Politik abhängig. Politische Unsicherheit kann Investitionen bremsen, da sie die Innovationserträge zu ungewiss erscheinen lässt. Anschliessend werden wir untersuchen, wie neue Finanzierungsmodelle (z. B. Crowdfunding und Risikokapital) dazu beitragen können, neue Investoren im Cleantech-Bereich anzuziehen.

Bedeutung
Das Projekt integriert wissenschaftliche Erkenntnisse, die der Umweltökonomie und dem Innovationsmanagement entlehnt wurden, um obenstehende Fragen zu beantworten. Das Projekt bindet auch Akteure aus der Wirtschaft, dem Finanzwesen und der Politik ein und trägt so zum Verständnis bei, wie die Schweiz ein positives Umfeld für die Entwicklung von Know-how im Cleantech-Bereich schaffen und so eine nachhaltige Wirtschaft fördern kann.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 27.02.2018

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
A l’heure de la signature des objectifs de développement durable (ODD) et des accords de Paris sur le climat, il est important de mieux comprendre les mécanismes de financement des ‘cleantech’ (ou technologies propres) dans des domaines comme la mobilité électrique, l’efficience énergétique ou l’utilisation de nouveaux matériaux. Ainsi, ce projet vise à examiner les conditions et mécanismes du financement des cleantech de manière approfondie.
Lay summary

Contexte
En Suisse, le Swiss Cleantech Masterplan de 2010 s’est donné l’objectif de renforcer les capacités d’innovation des entreprises suisses dans le domaine des cleantech.

Objectifs
Dans un premier temps, nous analyserons le rôle de l’incertitude politique sur les investissements. Les technologies cleantech dépendent pour beaucoup de la continuité et stabilité des politiques publiques. Les incertitudes politiques peuvent freiner les investissements, car elles rendent les rendements de l’innovation trop incertains.

Dans un deuxième temps, nous examinerons comment des nouveaux modèles de financement (e. g. le crowdfunding et capital-risque) peuvent contribuer à attirer des nouveaux investisseurs dans le domaine des cleantech.

Importance
Le projet intègre des connaissances scientifiques empruntées à l’économie de l’environnement et au management de l’innovation pour répondre à ces questions. En impliquant également des acteurs du tissu économique, financier et politique, le projet contribue à comprendre comment la Suisse peut créer un contexte favorable au développement de son expertise dans le domaine des cleantech et promouvoir ainsi l’économie durable.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 27.02.2018

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
With the signing of the Sustainable Development Goals and the and the Paris Agreement, it is important to ensure we have a better understanding of the means of financing clean tech (or clean technologies) in areas such as electric mobility, energy efficiency and the use of new materials. This project therefore aims to take an in-depth look at the conditions and mechanisms for financing clean tech.
Lay summary

Background
In Switzerland, the 2010 Swiss Cleantech Masterplan set itself the goal of strengthening the innovative capacities of Swiss companies in the clean tech sector.

Aims
Initially, we will analyse the influence of political uncertainty on investments. Clean technologies are heavily dependent on the continuity and stability of public policies. Political uncertainty can curb investment as it casts too great a doubt on the returns on innovation. We will then examine how new financing models (e.g. crowd funding and venture capital) can help attract new investors to the clean tech sector.

Importance
To answer these questions, the project is drawing on scientific knowledge from the fields of environmental economics and innovation management. By also involving stakeholders from the economic, financial and political spheres, it will also contribute towards an understanding of how Switzerland can create a context conducive to the development of expertise in the clean tech sector and thus promote a sustainable economy.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 27.02.2018

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Project partner

Publications

Publication
Apprentissage et classification automatiques pour améliorer la pertinence d’un corpus d’articles
GobeillJulien, van den HeuvelMatthias, NowzohourLaura, NoaillyJoelle, de RassenfosseGaétan, RuchPatrick (2018), Apprentissage et classification automatiques pour améliorer la pertinence d’un corpus d’articles, Revue électronique suisse de science de l'information, Genève.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Green Growth Knowledge Platform Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
CleanTech Capital Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
OECD France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Swiss GE Cleantech cluster Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Carbon Delta Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Emerald Technology Ventures Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
CleantechAlps Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Venturekick Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Jadeberg Partners Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
PhD meeting NRP73 Individual talk Financing cleantech 06.10.2018 Lucern, Switzerland Nowzohour Laura; van den Heuvel Matthias;
Kick-off meeting NRP73 Poster Poster on Financing investments in clean technologies 22.01.2018 Nutwill, Switzerland Nowzohour Laura; van den Heuvel Matthias; de Rassenfosse Gaétan; Noailly Joelle;
Kick-off meeting NRP73 Individual talk Financing investments in clean technologies 22.01.2018 Nutwill, Switzerland Noailly Joelle;


Knowledge transfer events



Self-organised

Title Date Place
Partners Meeting 16.10.2018 Geneva, Switzerland

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Project website Western Switzerland International 2018

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
182212 Economic Value of Patents: Insights from Product Data 01.11.2018 Project funding (Div. I-III)
183088 Digital technologies and the future of innovation 01.12.2018 Digital Lives

Abstract

Experts estimate that the world needs to invest $12.1 trillion globally in clean technologies, , i.e. technologies designed to reduce impact on the environment, over the next 25 years in order to limit global temperature rise below 2°C. In Switzerland, the 2010 federal Swiss Cleantech Masterplan aims to effectively strengthen the innovation capacities of Swiss cleantech firms and research institutions and to set Switzerland as one of the world’s leading location for the production of cleantech products. Meeting this objective necessarily requires directing sizeable investment efforts towards the cleantech sector.The overarching objective of this project is to investigate how society can steer financing towards cleantech investments. Greater understanding about the financing of cleantech is critical not only in light of the massive amount of investment needed but also because cleantech differs from other technologies on two important aspects. First, clean technologies are largely dependent on public support as they suffer from a double externality: an environmental externality, which relates to the fact that firms do not bear the full costs of pollution, and a knowledge externality, which stems from the public good nature of knowledge. As a result, policy uncertainty, i.e. frequent changes in environmental and climate regulations, is particularly harmful to cleantech investments. Second, cleantech investors differ from traditional investors in other technologies: they are of more dispersed, diverse and small-scale nature than traditional investors and may be driven by different (e.g., altruistic) motives. Much of the dynamism in the sector appears to be driven by new types of investors, rather than the traditional ones (e.g. incumbent energy firms). The research project is structured around two main goals. The first goal is to understand how uncertainty about the policy environment impacts cleantech investment. The research plan will address this first objective by building novel indicators of climate and environmental policy uncertainty and conducting economic analysis of how these indicators affect cleantech investments. To the extent that we find that uncertainty is particularly harmful to cleantech development (as we suspect), the findings will have implications for “Module 2: Opportunities and Risks” of the NRP73 by examining how a stable environmental policy regime can help Switzerland attract investors, expand its expertise and develop new export markets in the area of clean technologies. Indeed, Switzerland is generally perceived as a country with outstanding strengths in science, technology and innovation but also a highly stable regulatory framework.The second goal is to understand how new tools and financing models (e.g., crowdfunding) can help attracting new investors into cleantech. This part of the project will present studies evaluating potential remedies to alleviate the financial constraints faced by young cleantech firms. In Switzerland, venture capital investments in cleantech represent less than 4% of the total volume, against 72% for life sciences technologies alone. By investigating how financing instruments can help to channel investments towards cleantech companies, the results of the project will have implications for “Module 3: Measures and Instruments” of the NRP73.The research project involves a significant number of implementation partners - policy organisations, companies active in the cleantech sector and financial institutions - which will significantly contribute to the translation of the generated scientific knowledge into valuable know-how for the praxis and its dissemination. The results of the project will provide a rich understanding of the success factors of cleantech investments, which will lead to practical recommendations on how to shape better policies to move Switzerland towards a more “sustainable economy”. The project will also provide a platform to initiate pragmatic and informed discussions among policymakers and financial institutions on the potential of new funding instruments (e.g., crowdfunding as one fintech opportunity). Such discussions will strengthen the cleantech sector and ultimately help attracting a critical mass of investors with a diversity of profiles.
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