Recto Verso, Valais in mouvement
Valais is well known for its unique natural landscape. But people are generally less aware that it also sets standards as an economic territory. The canton is home to leading training and research institutes; it nurtures expertise and champions reputable companies; and it knows how to make the best use of its natural resources. These video clips introduce you to some of the innovative ideas and fabulous projects that make Valais a region determined to face the future with confidence.
Valais and the sun – a true love affair. Our valley is blessed with 300 days of sunshine every year, providing inspiration to the innovators of Valais. So it’s no surprise that the canton continues to produce innovations in the field of solar energy. Unique buildings, the world’s highest solar installation, and Switzerland’s first floating solar park are just a few examples of the inventive talent of Valais’s companies. Their innovations are helping to forge a more sustainable future through cleaner energy.
Dealing with avalanches
Valais, with its breathtaking alpine scenery, is one of the snowiest regions in Switzerland. Its expertise in dealing with avalanche risk – which goes back generations, and today is supported by cutting-edge technology – has now been recognised by UNESCO as part of humanity’s intangible cultural heritage and is exported beyond the canton’s boundaries. Drones, cartography, a pioneering study centre, a mobile application, and avalanche barriers equipped with solar panels are among the tools developed by many companies and start-ups in Valais. These innovative initiatives are helping to boost mountain security.
Institutes of higher education
The growing number of students at institutes of higher education in Valais over the past 15 years reflects major investment and extensive development of the sector. The diversity and quality of training and education on offer in Valais attract students in a wide variety of fields from energy, the environment, IT, life sciences and health to economics, management, tourism, culture, social sciences and teacher training. Specialised courses in the fields of study offered in Valais respond to the needs of an ever more demanding labour market. Thanks to the availability in the region of corresponding jobs representing high added value, Valais offers attractive career prospects to new graduates.
Pharmaceuticals, the chemical industry and biotechnology in Valais
Medicine, research, pyrotechnics, pharmaceutical products, packaging technology… A wide variety of cutting-edge companies in the fields of pharmaceuticals, chemistry and biotechnology are based in Valais. They are renowned for their skills and the high quality of their products, often exported worldwide. This sector of Valais industry represents a genuine centre of expertise focused on innovation and generating a great deal of added value for the canton – regarded as number two in the sector in Switzerland.
Innovation in the mountain areas
For long, Valais develops its alpine economy thanks to the tourism and construction activities. To strengthen these key fields of the local industry, Valais has reoriented its thinking towards the future and renewed its economic model. A wide range of unique development in the mountain are emerging, specifically in the spirit of sustainability, soft mobility, and intense experiences. Each project participates to the modernisation and innovation of the alpine arc in Valais.
A Valais focused on innovation
Securing access to computers thanks to cutting-edge face and voice recognition software; developing an active ingredient derived from alpine plants that limits the oxidation of natural cosmetic products; making optimal use of solar energy thanks to new battery chargers… Valais possesses ideal facilities for research, development and the application of innovative projects. 11 chairs in basic research, 10 institutions of applied research, 6 technological sites for the development of projects and 1 tool for economic development: Valais, accelerator of innovation!
Winemaking in Valais
Valais is not just Switzerland’s largest winemaking region with 5,000 hectares, but it is also home to Europe’s highest vineyard, which reaches an altitude of 1,500 metres, as well as hundred-year-old terraced vineyards with over 3,000 kilometres of dry stone walls. Valais is unique in terms of its geography and hours of sunshine and over 50 different grape varieties grow here. They include famous native varieties (Amigne, Arvine, Cornalin and Humagne) which produce fine wines that frequently win national and international awards.
At the heart of Valais industry
SMEs, SMIs, start-ups and international groups – Valais industry is active in leading sectors and is a real economic engine for the canton. Whether in the energy, pharmaceutical or microtechnology sectors, Valais possesses outstanding industrial expertise in many areas and is involved in the production of lots of everyday items that you would never have imagined. The future is also very bright, resulting in the arrival of new researchers and the creation of new jobs.
With its rugged mountains and diverse valleys, Valais remains perfectly accessible and easy to travel to. By road, thanks to the impressive high mountain passes and tunnels, the largest cities in Switzerland and the neighbouring countries are easy to reach. By rail, it only takes a few hours to get to Zurich and Geneva, or even Milan and Paris. Valais also has an airport based in Sion, which brings several countries, capitals and major cities around Europe closer than ever before.
Hydroelectricity is, quite simply, the most ecological and flexible method of producing energy. It is also the most important source of renewable energy in Switzerland. As for Valais, with its unique topography, 26 dams and 56% of all Swiss glaciers situated in its territory, it is home to the largest reserves of water in Europe – ideal conditions for hydropower. This unique potential is being fully developed, notably through the construction of a magnificent feat of engineering: the Nant de Dranse hydropower plant.