National Research Programmes NRP



The National Research Programmes are the federal government’s research funding tool intended to support research projects that develop knowledge useful to guiding decisions and practices – and thereby contribute to solving pressing problems. NRPs usually run for around five years. Seventy-six NRPs have been launched since the instrument was introduced.

Topics for National Research Programmes are selected in a bottom-up process. This means that interested parties can submit ideas for new research programmes to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI). After the proposals have been reviewed, the Federal Council, at the request of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER), decides periodically on the topics as well as the financing of new NRPs and commissions the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) with their implementation. The projects submitted to the SNSF go through the regular review procedure according to SNSF standards.

Information on the current 2017/2018 assessment round on the theme of digitalisation

On 5 July 2017, in the context of its report entitled ‘The challenges of digitalisation for education and society in Switzerland (german) – Action Plan on Digitalisation’, the Federal Council gave SERI the task of considering a new NRP series on the theme of ‘Digital transformation in the economy and society’.

Based on this Federal Council decision, in July 2017 SERI invited all interested parties to submit proposals for new NRPs in the field of ‘digital transformation’. A total of 92 proposals were submitted on time by mid-September 2017.

SERI reviewed all of the submitted proposals taking into account the relevant federal government research policy criteria for NRPs and the selection of possible thematic areas. This work was carried out by a group of experts comprising representatives from federal offices, professional organisations and higher education institutions. The result was the following three programme proposals, each of which was drawn up from a number of submitted outlines:

  • Impact of digital transformation on education
    The aim of this programme is to analyse the effects and mechanisms of digitalisation on education - from early childhood education through all levels of the education system, including non-formal education. The programme aims to generate knowledge about the challenges and opportunities associated with digital change in education and to develop the foundation needed for challenges and opportunities to be addressed in an optimal fashion. (Hauptreferenz 1: Skizze Nr. 49)
  • Digital trust and ethics
    The aim of this programme is to analyse opportunities and risks. On the one hand, in terms of the security (stability/resilience) of digital infrastructures and services. And on the other by analysing measures taken on the part of various users and user groups to instil and maintain confidence in these infrastructures/services. Research findings will be used to develop scientifically supported solutions and/or recommended action steps for each topic area. (Hauptreferenzen 1: Skizzen Nr. 91, 18 und 41)
  • Digital economy and working life
    In Switzerland today, business leaders and politicians are faced with the task of identifying at an early stage the relevant impact of digital transformation on the economy and working life. At the same time, there is a need for government intervention in the private sector to create the conditions needed for Swiss companies to remain competitive. This, in turn, will enable those companies to create and maintain appealing, future-oriented jobs. The aim of the programme is to examine the impact of digital transformation on the economy and on working life and to use fresh insights to identify potential opportunities and risks. (Hauptreferenz 1: Skizze Nr. 63)

1 In drawing up the three programme proposals, additional elements from submitted outlines were also used corresponding to the aims of the respective programme proposal.

The SNSF conducted a feasibility study on the abovementioned programme proposals between November 2017 and March 2018.

The SNSF feasibility study confirmed that all three topics demonstrated a high degree of relevance. It also recommended that the topics be combined into a single National Research Programme with a corresponding organisational structure.

Next steps

SERI has now asked the SNSF to prepare a programme concept. The Federal Council is expected to decide on the launch the new NRP at the request of the EAER at the end of 2018 and hand the SNSF the task of running the programme.

Current National Research Programmes

Concluded National Research Programmes

NRP  number National Research Programmes NRP
NRP 65 New Urban Quality
NRP 63 Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine
NRP 62 Smart Materials
NRP 61 Sustainable water management
NRP 60 Gender Equality
NRP 59 Benefits and Risks of the Deliberate Release of Genetically Modified Plants
NRP 58 Religions, the State and Society
NRP 57 "Non-Ionising Radiation - Health and Environment"
NRP 56 Language diversity and competences in Switzerland
NRP 54 Sustainable Development of the Built Environment
NRP 53 Musculoskeletal Health - Chronic Pain
NRP 52 Childhood, Youth and Intergenerational Relationships in a Changing Society
NRP 51 Social Integration and Social Exclusion
NRP 50 Endocrine Disruptors: Relevance to Humans, Animals and Ecosystems
NRP 49 Antibiotic resistance
NRP 48 Landscapes and Habitats of the Alps
NRP 47 Supramolecular Functional Materials
NRP 46 Implants and Transplants
NRP 45 Future Problems of the Welfare State
NRP 44 Energy: Socio-economic Research in the Consumer Domain
NRP 43 Formation and Employment
NRP 42+ Relations between Switzerland and South Africa
NRP 42 Foreign Policy
NRP 41 Transport and Environment: Interactions Switzerland - Europe
NRP 40+ Right-wing Extremism -Causes and Counter-measures
NRP 40 Violence in Daily Life and Organized Crime
NRP 39 Migration and Intercultural Relations
NRP 38+ Pathogenesis of novel forms of infectious diseases
NRP 38 Diseases of the Nervous System
NRP 37 Somatic Gene Therapy
NRP 36 Nanosciences
NRP 35 Social and Legal Status of Women - Ways to Equality
NRP 34 Complementary Medicine
NRP 33 Effectiveness of our Education Systems
NRP 32 Ageing
NRP 31 Climatic Changes and Natural Hazards
NRP 30 High Temperature Supraconductivity
NRP 29 Changes of Life Style and Social Security
NRP 28 Switzerland in a Changing World: Challenge for Foreign Trade and Development Politics
NRP 27 Efficiency of Governmental Actions
NRP 26 Man, Health and Environment
NRP 25 City and Traffic
NRP 24 Chemistry and Physics on Surfaces
NRP 23 Artificial Intelligence and Robotics
NRP 22 Use of Land in Switzerland
NRP 21 Cultural Diversity and National Identity
NRP 20 Geological Deep Structure of Switzerland
NRP 19 Materials for Tomorrow's Needs
NRP 18 Biomedical Engineering
NRP 17 Alternative Methods to Experiments on Animals
NRP 16 Methods for Conservation of Objects of Cultural Value
NRP 15 World of Work: Humanisation and Technological Development
NRP 14 Circulation and Pollution of Air and Forest Damage in Switzerland
NRP 13 Research in Micro- and Opto-electronics
NRP 12 Wood as Renewable Raw Material and Energy Source
NRP 11 Safety Policy
NRP 10 Education and Acting in Society and Professional Life
NRP 09 Mechanisms and Development of Swiss Economy and their Social Consequences
NRP 08 Economy and Effectiveness of Swiss Health Care
NRP 07 Problems of Raw and Other Materials
NRP 06 Decision Processes in Swiss Democracy
NRP 05+ Man and Biosphere (MAB)
NRP 05 Regional Problems in Switzerland
NRP 04 Research and Development in the Domain of Energy
NRP 03 Problems of Social Integration in Switzerland
NRP 02 Fundamental Problems of Swiss Hydrologic Cycle
NRP 01 Cardio-vascular Diseases

Further information


SERI, Claudine Dolt

Scientific Advisor
National Research
T +41 58 462 78 38

Secretariat NRP

T +41 58 466 77 90

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