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World class in Systems Biology is the aim
Date:12/5/2007

After decoding the genomes of various plants, animals and microorganisms, Systems Biology is regarded as the next major step that will drive biological research. Current technologies allow biologists to spell all the letters in the genetic material, however, they offer very little in the way of deciphering this complex code. Pharma- and biotechnology companies hope that Systems Biology will give them new tools for use in drug discovery and development.

Systems Biology is expensive, and requires the development and maintenance of elaborate technological platforms. Such platforms could not be financed by a single university or research instition individually. In addition good Systems Biology relies on the successful interaction of scientists from multiple disciplines including Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Computer Science, and Engineering.

After careful consideration of all of these issues, Swiss universities and research institutes decided to pool their knowledge and resources in a single research consortium called SystemsX.ch. The Universities of Basle, Berne, Lausanne, Fribourg, Geneva, and Zurich, the Paul Scherrer Institute, Friedrich Miescher Institute, and the Swiss Institute for Bioinformatics teamed up with the two Federal Institutes of Technology in Zurich and Lausanne to support this research initiative. At a press conference in Berne, the State Secretary for Education and Research Charles Kleiber stated that A cooperation of this magnitude among the universities is of unparalleled character, and on many levels embodies the way projects should be tackled and coordinated among Swiss institutes in the future.

Financing research with federal, university, and industry funds

In its 2007 fall session, the Swiss parliament allocated 200 million Swiss Francs (CHF) for research in the area of Systems Biology from 2008-2011 (subject to yearly budget decisions). CHF 100 million will flow into Systems Bi
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Contact: Thomas Mueller
thomas.mueller@systemsx.ch
41-796-140-677
SystemsX
Source:Eurekalert

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