Swiss food giant Nestlé is creating an accelerator programme, bringing together start-up enterprises, students and its own scientists to develop “innovative products and systems”.

Announced today (10 April), the research and development accelerator will be based in Lausanne, Switzerland, at the same location as its R&D-focused Nestlé Research centre and is expected to be operational by the end of the year.

Nestlé said “internal, external or mixed teams” will have access to its R&D expertise and infrastructure, including shared labs, kitchens, and equipment. 

Chief technology officer Stefan Palzer said: “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.”

Nestlé claims to have the world’s largest private food and nutrition R&D organisation, involving about 4,200 people on 23 sites around the world. Nestlé Research in Lausanne employs around 800 staff. Academic institutions such as the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology in Lausanne and Zurich, and the Swiss Hospitality Management School in Lausanne, form part of the contributing partners. 

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