The National Centres of Competence in Research NCCRs



The National Centres of Competence in Research (NCCRs) are anestablished federal funding instrument for top-level research in Switzerland. NCCRs are long-term research projects on themes of strategic importance to Switzerland as a location for research and innovation. They also contribute to a better structuring of the Swiss research landscape. The Confederation currently supports 14 ongoing NCCRs (Series 4 and 5). A call for proposals for NCCR Series 6, due to start in 2026, was launched at the end of November 2023.

NCCRs are research projects of national importance based at one or more home institutions with a focus on basic research. A further important aspect is national coordination and the creation of networks of research partners from higher education institutions and the private sector. Funding is awarded to the highest quality research projects, with a focus on interdisciplinary and innovative approaches. NCCRs are also expected to promote young researchers, encourage equal opportunities and engage in knowledge transfer.

NCCRs run for a maximum of 12 years and receive between CHF 4 and 5 million in funding annually from the federal government. In addition, there are contributions from the higher education institutions involved, competitive third-party funding and contributions from the private sector.

Facts and Figures

Since their launch in 2001, the NCCRs have become an important federal government funding instrument for basic research. The federal government has launched a total of 42 NCCRs over the course of five series.

No of NCCR series launched 5
No of NCCRs launched (Series 1-5) 42
No of ongoing NCCRs (as of 2020) 14
Federal government investment (2001–2019) CHF 1,223 million

Investment by higher education institutions and research groups (2001–2019)

CHF 1,820 million
External funding (2001–2019) CHF 273 million
No of scientific publications (2001–2019) 34,000
Newly created or re-oriented academic chairs (2001–2019) 197
No of doctorates obtained (2001–2019) 1,780
No of cooperation arrangements with businesses (2001–2019) 1,134
No of patents (2001–2019) 453
  Source: SNSF

Ongoing NCCRs

Series 5 (Commencement 2020)

  • NCCR AntiResist:
    New Approaches to Combat Antibiotic-Resistant bacteria

    Home institution: University of Basel
    Field: Medicine and Life Sciences
  • NCCR Evolving Language:
    The Origins and Future of Language

    Home institutions: University of Zurich, University of Geneva
    Field: Social Sciences and Humanities
  • NCCR Microbiomes:
    Microbial Communities in Health and Environment

    Home institutions: University of Lausanne, ETH Zurich
    Field: Medicine and Life Sciences
    Spin Qubits in Silicon

    Home institution: University of Basel
    Field: Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Engineering
  • NCCR Suchcat:
    Sustainable Chemical Processes Through Catalysis

    Home institutions: ETH Zurich, EPF Lausanne
    Field: Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Engineering

Series 4 (Commencement 2014, Completion 2026)

Completed NCCRs

Series 3 (Commencement 2010, Completion 2022)

Series 2 (Commencement 2005, Completion 2017)

Series 1 (Commencement 2001, Completion 2013)

Launch of new National Centres of Competence in Research

The process of launching a new series of NCCRs begins with a public call for proposals by the Swiss National Science Foundation SNSF. Proposals for a new NCCR can be submitted by all researchers active in Switzerland. The scientific merit of the submitted pre-proposals and subsequent full proposals is evaluated by the SNSF and an international panel of experts. The proposals recommended by the SNSF for implementation are then evaluated by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation SERI on the basis of its current research and higher education policy priorities. The decision to launch new NCCRs is ultimately taken by the head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research EAER.

The SNSF published the call for proposals for NCCR Series 6 on behalf of the Swiss Confederation on November 28 2023. The new call is thematically open and is aimed at all disciplines. The federal government (SERI/EAER) will make the final selection, assessing the recommended NCCR proposals based on its priorities in research and higher education policy. The EAER decision on the launch and funding of projects is expected in early 2026.


SERI, Loïc Fave
Scientific Advisor
National Research Unit
+41 58 463 59 85