The National Centres of Competence in Research NCCR



The National Centres of Competence in Research (NCCRs) are a research promotion tool of the Swiss government. The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) is responsible for conducting NCCRs on behalf of the Swiss government. By promoting the NCCRs, Switzerland wants to ensure that these competence centres and their networks are consolidated, with the goal of strengthening research in strategically important areas for Switzerland. In doing this, research institutions will be encouraged to focus and combine their strengths, and partnerships between the academic and extra-academic fields will be promoted.

NCCRs are institutionally supported research projects of nation-wide importance. These projects are of high quality with a particular emphasis on interdisciplinary and innovative approaches within the disciplines. NCCRs should also engage in the transfer of knowledge, the promotion of up-and-coming talent and encourage the promotion of equal opportunities in research. Each NCCR consists of a centre of competence ('leading house'/or a 'main leading house' with one or two 'co-leading houses') and a network of partners from the university or extra-university spheres. It also has a clearly defined and thematically limited area of research with appropriate staff and material support from the institution hosting the leading house. Federal support for an NCCR generally lasts around 10 years.

With the completion of the 1st and 2nd NCCR series (to end of 2017), 16 NCCRs are now receiving funding.

News: Call for the 5th series of NCCRs

In October 2017 the SNSF launched a call for a 5th NCCR series. Outline proposals for NCCRs must be submitted to the SNSF by 1 February (for more information). Research activities by the new NCCRs are due to begin in early 2020.

In the call the Confederation is expecting to receive proposals for basic research projects into digitalisation and its potential in a range of areas of application.

In the selection procedure, the SNSF, supported by a panel of international experts, will first assess the proposals for new NCCRs for quality, interdisciplinarity and originality. In summer 2019 the SNSF will then submit to the EAER/SERI a shortlist of proposals it considers excellent, with the recommendation for funding.

Based on SERI’s recommendations, the EAER will decide which new NCCRs are to be launched in autumn 2019.

Information on the 16 current NCCRs in the third and fourth series

Series 2014 (4th series)

  • NCCR PlanetS
    NCCR head: Prof. Willy Benz, University of Berne (Dep.: Prof. Stéphane Udry, University of Geneva)

    Main Leading House: University of Berne
    Co-Leading House: University of Geneva

  • NCCR Molecular Systems Engineering
    NCCR head: Prof. Wolfgang Meier, University of Basel (Dep.: Prof. Daniel Müller, ETH Zurich)
    Main Leading House: University of Basel
    Co-Leading House: ETH Zurich

  • NCCR SwissMAP - The Mathematics of Physics
    NCCR head: Prof. Stanislav Smirnov, University of Geneva (Dep.: Prof. Giovanni Felder, ETH Zurich)
    Main Leading House: University of Geneva
    Co-Leading House: ETH Zurich

Series 2010 (3rd series)


Quantum Science & Technology
ETH Zurich, Klaus Ensslin; Co-Leading House: University of Basel, Richard Warburton

NCCR Robotics

Intelligent Robots for Improving the Quality of Life
EPFL, Dario Floreano

NCCR TransCure

From Transport Physiology to Identification of Therapeutic Targets
University of Berne, Matthias A. Hediger


Synaptic Bases of Mental Diseases
EPFL, Pierre Magistretti; Co-Leading Houses:University of Geneva, Dominique Muller, University of Lausanne


Molecular Ultrafast Science and Technology
ETH Zurich, Ursula Keller; Co-Leading House: University of Berne,
Thomas Feurer

NCCR Chemical Biology

Visualisation and Control of Biological Processes Using Chemistry
University of Geneva, Howard Riezmann; Co-Leading House: EPFL
Kai Johnsson


Overcoming Vulnerability: Life Course Perspectives
University of Lausanne, Dario Spini; Co-Leading House: University of Geneva, Michel Oris

NCCR Kidney.CH

Kidney Control of Homeostasis
University of Zurich, François Verrey

Completed NCCRs

2nd series (completed end of 2017)

NCCR Affective Sciences

Emotions in Individual Behaviour and Social Processes
University of Geneva, Klaus Scherer

NCCR Iconic Critism

The Power and Importance of Images
University of Basel, Gottfried Boehm

NCCR Democracy

Challenges to Democracy in the 21st Century
University of Zurich, Hanspeter Kriesi

NCCR Mediality

Historical Perspectives
University of Zurich, Christian Kiening

NCCR Trade Regulation

International Trade Regulation: From Fragmentation to Coherence
University of Berne, Thomas Cottier

1st series (completed as of end of 2013)

NCCR sesam

Swiss etiological study of adjustment and mental health
University of Basel, Jürgen Margraf


Computer Aided and Image Guided Medical Interventions
ETH Zürich, Gàbor Székely


Financial Valuation and Risk Management
University of Zurich, Michel Habib

NCCR Genetics

Frontiers in Genetics - Genes, Chromosomes and Development
University of Geneva, Denis Duboule


Interactive Multimodal Information Management
IDIAP Research Institute, Martigny, Hervé Bourlard

NCCR Climate

Climate Variability, Predictability and Climate Risks
University of Bern, Thomas Stocker


Materials with Novel Electronic Properties - Basic Science and Applications
University of Geneva, Øystein Fischer


Mobile Information and Communication Systems
EPFL, Karl Aberer

NCCR Molecular Oncology

From Basic Research to Therapeutic Approaches
EPFL, Michel Aguet

NCCR Nanoscale Science

Impact on Live Sciences, Sustainability, Information and Communication Technologies
University of Basel,Christian Schönenberger

NCCR Neuro

Neural Plasticity and Repair
University of Zurich, Martin E. Schwab

NCCR North - South

Research Partnerships for Mitigating Syndromes of Global Change
University of Bern, Hans Hurni, Urs Wiesmann

NCCR Plant Survival

Plant Survival in Natural and Agricultural Ecosystems
University of Neuchâtel, Ted Turlings

NCCR Quantum Photonics

Quantum Photonics
EPFL, Benoît Deveaud-Plédran

NCCR Structural Biology

Molecular Life Sciences: Three Dimensional Structure, Folding and Interactions
University of Zurich, Markus Gerhard Grütter

Further information


SERI, Nicole Schaad

Head of unit
National Research
T +41 58 463 59 85

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