Education of the Next Generation of Systems Biologists

The education of the next generation of systems biologists is one of the basic goals of and provides the bedrock for a future-oriented development of interdisciplinary research in Switzerland. Basic conditions must therefore be created that facilitate the process of overcoming barriers between different disciplines (see chart), as well as between institutions within Switzerland. This aim is to be achieved at two levels:

Educational programs at universities

First, the partner institutions of support, organize and finance the teaching, and therefore carry the base load of the education. They offer, for example, bachelor's and master's degree programs in the field of systems biology and computational biology (ETHZ, EPFL, UZH, UniBas, UniBE and UniFR), as well as a specialization in bioinformatics within preexisting master’s degree programs (UniL and UniGE in cooperation with SIB). Moreover, numerous graduate programs have been launched which incorporate, as compulsory parts, relevant courses and training in the field of systems biology.

Supporting measures by

Second, supports and promotes education by creating necessary conditions for interdisciplinary research with the funding of projects (e.g. RTD, TPdF and IPhD projects).

In addition, complementary measures are on offer, particularly for doctoral and post-doctoral students. These include educational events such as the annual PhD retreats and summer schools, which themselves are characterized by an interdisciplinary network. Special supporting events and poster prizes for students and young scientists at conferences complement these measures.

Composition of scientists working in Swiss Systems Biology

Owing to increased networking between biology and other disciplines, such as chemistry, physics, medicine, computer science, mathematics or engineering, the proportion of systems biologists is growing.


Department program of SNF