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.