Vaud and Geneva join forces to create the Trust Valley.

The pandemic has accelerated the digital transition of our economy and society. It has made visible its reliance on critical digital infrastructures and services. In this context, the Cantons of Vaud and Geneva are joining forces in an unprecedented way to create the « TRUST VALLEY », a public-private partnership aimed at promoting excellence in the Lake Geneva region in the field of digital trust and cybersecurity. Their cooperation will focus on three main missions: to promote the region’s skills cluster, to network the players in the field and to encourage the development of innovative projects.

While teleworking has made it possible to avoid a more serious economic crisis and to keep thousands of students in school, the number of cyberattacks reported in Switzerland at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic was up to three times higher than normal (National Centre for Cybersecurity – NCSC). More than ever before, this health crisis has brought digital technology to the center of political and economic attention.

For several months now, the Cantons of Geneva and Vaud have been working to set up the
« TRUST VALLEY », a joint economic promotion initiative, a platform for resilience and innovation entirely dedicated to the field of digital trust and cybersecurity aimed at positioning the Lake Geneva region as an agile, innovative and high-performance force at the service of the digital transformation.

Initiated and supported by the Cantons of Vaud and Geneva, EPFL, HEIG-VD, HES-SO Geneva, IHEID, UNIGE, UNIL, ELCA, GCSP, Kudelski, SGS and SICPA, the « TRUST VALLEY » relies on :

  • more than 500 experts who constitute the largest concentration of talent in the field available in Switzerland
  • collaborations and synergies between the Hautes Ecoles and research institutes, based not only on their international recognition but also on their strong complementarity
  • a pioneering role of the founding members of the Trust Valley, ELCA, Kudelski, SGS and SICPA in the field of digital trust and cyber security
  • a concentration of economic actors with more than 300 companies and organisations active in the region in this field

The genesis of this initiative is also intimately linked to important developments underway in the region: the creation of the Cyberpeace Institute, the Swiss Digital Initiative, the dynamic resulting from the Geneva Digital Talks in Geneva, the launch by SICPA of an innovation campus dedicated to the trust economy, the deployment of the digital strategy aimed at making the Canton of Vaud a « data territory », as well as the implementation, at the level of the Confederation, of the National Strategy for Protection against Cyber risks (SNPC).

The security, confidentiality, integrity, reliability and ethics of data are today the keys to a secure digital world and the foundations of the current 4th industrial revolution, which must be able to rely on the trust of citizens and businesses. Thanks to its tradition of neutrality and its know-how recognised by many international institutions, Switzerland and the Lake Geneva region are ideally positioned to set the milestones for « digital trust » at the international level. Promoting innovation and bringing together know-how and expertise in fields as varied as data protection, blockchain, artificial intelligence, digital investigation and criminology. But also all the means enabling standardization and certification, authentication of persons and objects, data preservation or governance. These are all assets that the region has at its disposal to offer international digital governance on the one hand, and to generate economic added value and attract talent on the other.

Supported by the Cantons of Geneva and Vaud through a mandate given to the EPFL Innovation Park Foundation, the « TRUST VALLEY » will be officially launched in October 2020 at a public event. The platform will be financed by the two founding cantons as well as a variety of partners (notably companies) and calls for projects.

The first activities of the « TRUST VALLEY » have already started in 2019 as part of a pilot project, a startup acceleration programme called « Tech4Trust ». After the success of the first edition, the program will be renewed in 2020.