24 million Swiss francs for new research projects
SystemsX.ch and Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) experts have approved eleven new research projects in the field of systems biology. More than half of these interdisciplinary projects address questions relating to cancer and infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria.
31 project proposals involving 146 research groups in Swiss universities and research institutions were submitted within the scope of the 8th SystemsX.ch call for proposals. Approximately one quarter of the group leaders work in a medical faculty. The increased participation of physicians is a result of efforts made by SystemsX.ch to specifically promote applied systems biology research in the medical field.
Breakthrough hoped for in the area of personalized medicine
The eleven newly authorized projects are expected to contribute to breakthroughs in the field of personalized medicine. “I believe there is a large potential in the application of systems biology research to patients’ tissue samples”, says Professor Lucas Pelkmans, chairman of the SystemsX.ch Scientific Executive Board. In particular, this includes developments which may revolutionize cancer diagnostics.
Two project categories
The now-approved project proposals can be divided into two categories. Firstly, there are nine so-called RTD Projects which will be supported for four years. These will be conducted by cross-institutional consortia comprising four to six research groups. The project leaders are established in the following SystemsX.ch partner institutions: ETH Zurich, ETH Lausanne and University of Basel (2 each), Universities of Geneva, Lausanne and Zurich (1 each).
Secondly, two Transfer Projects were approved. These are collaborations between academic research groups working in Zurich (UZH, ETHZ) and large companies located in Basel (Roche, Novartis). Transfer Projects are granted financial support for two years.
For the eleven projects approved in the context of the 8th call for proposals, SystemsX.ch has granted a total sum of 24.6 million Swiss francs. The institutions involved will also contribute to the projects’ infrastructure. The first research projects are scheduled to begin as early as January 2014.