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Swiss Initiative in Systems Biology launches new projects

In the second call for proposals, projects focus on either the development of new technologies or on the interface between biomedical research and genomics. The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) approved six RTD-projects today. They will engage a total of 47 research groups from both Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH Zurich und EPF Lausanne), as well as from the Universities of Basel, Lausanne, Geneva and Zurich. The Friedrich-Miescher Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation is also represented as the only privately financed institution. Eight groups belong simultaneously to one of the above-mentioned universities and to the Swiss Institute for Bioinformatics.

Each of the six approved RTD-Projects is coordinated by a researcher from a partner institution. Scientists from the University of Basel lead three RTD-projects. The Department for Biosystems Science and Engineering (ETH Zurich), the University of Lausanne and the Friedrich-Miescher Institute each lead one newly approved RTD.

The international review panel of the SNSF was responsible for the evaluation process of the 19 projects submitted. The decision was made based on the scientific quality of the projects, and their alignment towards Systems Biology.

The budget for the six RTD-projects is 27.5 Million Swiss Francs in total. Institutions involved in each project are required to invest matching funds at least equal to those provided by Hence, total investment for these six RTDs projects will be at least 55 Million Francs. The projects will be financed for the next four years, and research activities will start later this year.

With the present decision, the major financing quotas of for the period of 2008-2011 have been allocated. In 2008, eight RTD projects have been approved with a total budget of 45 Million Francs. These projects have advanced into their research phase and have already produced some highly interesting and valuable publications. The Federal Government had allocated a 100 Million Francs budget for investment in Systems Biology research from 2008-2011.

Members of the research initiative include the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology ETH Zurich and EPFL Lausanne, the Universities of Basel, Bern, Fribourg, Geneva, Lausanne and Zurich, as well as the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) in Villigen, the Friedrich-Miescher Institute (FMI) in Basel, and the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB).

Systems Biology aims to explain biological regulation at a cellular, tissue, organ, or whole organism level in order to understand living systems as a whole. To do this effectively, biological data needs to be collected, interpreted, and analyzed at a level above its individual role in specific cellular mechanisms, compartments, or components. The development of computer simulations of entire biological systems based on mathematical models is equally important. This allows biology and medicine to become a predictive quantitative science, which in the long term will simplify processes such as the discovery of novel and more personalized medications.


Contact: Natalia Emery Trindade

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