National Research Programmes NRP

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Overview

The National Research Programmes (NRPs) are the federal government’s research funding tools to support research projects that develop knowledge useful in guiding decisions and practices – and thereby help solving current social and economic challenges. At the request of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER), the Federal Council periodically decides on the thematic focus and budget allocation of new NRPs. Each NRP runs for a period of two to five years. Since the instrument was first introduced, 80 NRPs have been launched, covering a wide range of themes.

Information about the latest selection round 2022/2023

On behalf of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER) and in preparation for the launch of two to four new NRPs, the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) collected thematic proposals for new NRPs. Of the 78 outlines submitted over four-fifths come from higher education institutions. The remaining outlines came from federal agencies, specialised committees, organisations and individuals.

1. First phase completed in the summer of 2022

SERI examined all of the NRP outlines that it had received partly on the basis of the federal government's research policy criteria for NRPs and partly on consultations with the federal offices represented in the interdepartmental coordination committee responsible for federal policy research. In keeping with the EAER Ordinance of 9 December 2013 to the Research and Innovation Promotion Ordinance (O-RIPA-EAER, SR 420.111), this allowed SERI identified the following six preliminary NRP thematic proposals:

  • Digital democracy: challenges and opportunities
  • Gender medicine
  • Value-added design and construction (Mehrwert Baukultur)
  • Sustainable resource management for Swiss ecosystem services
  • Switzerland’s path to net zero emissions: potential and challenges
  • New plant breeding methods: potential and challenges

2. Second phase to continue until early summer of 2023

SERI has submitted these six preliminary NRP thematic proposals to the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) for a feasibility assessment in July 2022. As part of the feasibility assessment, the SNSF evaluated these preliminary thematic proposals by November 2022 in terms of the potential solutions to specific problems that are likely to come out of the proposed research, the research potential in Switzerland and whether an NRP is a suitable instrument to support the proposed research.

The SNSF’s feasibility assessment was positive for the following four out of the six NRP thematic proposals examined:

  • Gender medicine
  • Value-added design and construction (Mehrwert Baukultur)
  • Sustainable resource management for Swiss ecosystem services
  • New plant breeding methods: potential and challenges

At the end of November 2022, SERI commissioned the SNSF to draw up programme concepts for these four thematic proposals by spring 2023.

Taking into account SERI's own clarifications, the SNSF’s feasibility assessment and the resulting NRP concepts, the EAER will then submit definitive thematic proposals to the Federal Council, which will select up to four proposals as new NRPs.

The Federal Council’s decision on the number of NRPs to launch, their content and corresponding funding is expected in early summer of 2023.

3. Start of the NRPs

Once the Federal Council has made its decision, SERI will instruct the SNSF to implement the approved NRPs. The SNSF will prepare a call for project proposals for each approved NRP in accordance with the Federal Council's decision. The SNSF's calls for project proposals for the NRPs approved during the 2022/2023 NRP selection round will be launched in the autumn of 2023.

Process of selecting themes for new NRPs

After State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) has opened a new selection round, interested parties can submit outlines for new NRP themes. A bottom-up process is used to select the most promising NRP themes.

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Current National Research Programmes

Concluded National Research Programmes

Contact

SERI, Claudine Dolt
Scientific Advisor
National Research
T +41 58 462 78 38

Secretariat NRP
T +41 58 466 77 90

https://www.sbfi.admin.ch/content/sbfi/en/home/research-and-innovation/research-and-innovation-in-switzerland/promotion-instruments/national-research-programmes-nrp.html