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The SCTO is an independent organisation and is based on a joint initiative of the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences.

As of 2017, the SCTO is a research infrastructure of national importance funded by the State Secretariat of Education, Research and Innovation and the Swiss National Science Foundation.



16 March 2023

SCTO Symposium: Clinical research in the age of digital health

This year’s SCTO Symposium is dedicated to the topic of clinical research in the age of digital health and will take place in St Gallen on Wednesday, 7 June.
Digital health is one of the fastest growing segments in the healthcare sector, and it opens up exciting new possibilities for clinical research. Health apps, electronic patient records, and surgical robots are already part of our lives, yet these new technological opportunities also come with challenges and potential risks.
At our symposium, we will look at real-life examples of digital health applications in clinical research projects and will discuss legal and ethical aspects that have to be taken into consideration.
The event is being organised by the Swiss Clinical Trial Organisation (SCTO) and the Clinical Trial Unit (CTU) St.Gallen. It will take place in English.

Programme and registration: SCTO Symposium


6 March 2023

PPI templates that facilitate collaboration between researchers and PPI contributors

In order to facilitate collaboration between researchers and PPI contributors, the SCTO worked together with its multistakeholder PPI working group to create the following two new templates.

This template helps researchers as they look for potential PPI contributors for an initiative or a research project. It contains suggestions for descriptions of PPI activities, and it includes examples of the knowledge, experience, and skills that researchers would like PPI contributors to have before participating in a specific initiative or research project. In addition, information about a particular initiative or research project can be added to the template.

Before PPI contributors engage in PPI activities, it is important to clarify the scope and duration of their engagement, their expected time commitment, and their compensation. Our template provides examples of and suggestions for aspects of a PPI partnership that should be clarified. The template can also be used to set out the basic terms and conditions of a PPI partnership, such as the overall objective of PPI contributions, confidentiality expectations for all parties, and the disclosure of potential conflicts of interests.

The SCTO worked together with its multistakeholder PPI working group to create both templates. Additional PPI resources, such as guidance for researchers and our PPI remuneration policy, can be found here: PPI resources.

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27 February 2023

Online course for grant applicants called IICT 2023 Application: How to Successfully Address the PPI Requirement

The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) has opened its ninth call for its Investigator Initiated Clinical Trials (IICT) programme. This programme supports clinical trials on underresearched topics that meet medical as well as social needs. In both their letter of intent (LOI) and their application, grant applicants must address how they actively involve or plan to involve patients and the public (PPI) in their research projects.

For researchers who are interested in applying to the IICT 2023 programme, the SCTO is offering an PPI online course on 21 March. In this course, we will discuss why PPI is particularly useful when planning and developing clinical trials. We will also provide practical tips and examples for an effective and meaningful approach to PPI including helpful tips on how to successfully address the PPI requirement. This online course is free of charge and will be held in English.

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16 February 2023

SCTO Symposium 2023: Save the date

The SCTO Symposium 2023 will take place in St Gallen on 7 June 2023. Together with the CTU St.Gallen, the SCTO is holding this year’s symposium on the topic of clinical research in the age of digital health.

The event will take place in English. Make sure to mark your calendar for June 7 – registration opens soon!


16 February 2023

SCTO Forum 2023: Slides from presentations available online

On 25 January, the annual SCTO Forum took place in Bern. This year’s topic was patient recruitment in clinical trials. Planning efficient patient recruitment, managing the recruitment process itself, and avoiding early withdrawal are critical success factors for every clinical trial. How can we reimagine patient recruitment and embed the patient’s perspective into a clinical trial right from the start of the planning process? At the SCTO Forum, participants and speakers exchanged ideas on these and other interesting topics.
PDFs of the slides from presentations are available on our website: SCTO Forum 2023.


9 February 2023

Starting soon: EUPATI CH’s first patient training in Switzerland!

Patient and public involvement (PPI) means that patients and members of the public contribute their personal experience with a disease to a research project by actively shaping the project’s objectives and design and by evaluating it.

In order to prepare people who are interested in participating in clinical studies as a PPI contributor, Switzerland’s national platform of the European Patients’ Academy on Therapeutic Innovation (EUPATI CH) and the Department of Clinical Research (DKF) at the University of Basel are offering a training course (in German) to become a EUPATI CH patient expert.

More information is available (in German) at EUPATI CH.

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19 January 2023

Collaboration between Switzerland and the EU: Switzerland is excluded from ESFRI yet will become a full member of ECRIN

In a press release published at the beginning of the year, the Round Table on Swiss Representation in International Organisations and Research Infrastructures (RoTIORI) from the Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT) announced that Switzerland has been excluded from participating in the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI). This is because Switzerland is no longer associated with Horizon Europe, the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation. Switzerland's exclusion applies to its ESFRI delegation and all of its experts who had been participating in ESFRI working groups, including the Health and Food Strategy Working Group.

Every four years, the ESFRI publishes its Strategy Report on Research Infrastructures Roadmap. Since 2006, the European Clinical Research Infrastructure Network (ECRIN) has been an integral part of the ESFRI’s roadmap. Switzerland has been involved with ECRIN as an observer country since 2015, with the Swiss Clinical Trial Organisation (SCTO) serving as its representative. Moreover, Switzerland is involved in an additional 24 ESFRI roadmap infrastructures, and several highly developed research infrastructures, such as the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, are based in Switzerland. Switzerland’s heavy involvement in European infrastructures should be reflected in political cooperation as well, which is why the SCTO supports RoTIORI’s call for swift, pragmatic solutions.

Given this situation, the SCTO is all the more encouraged that shortly before the end of last year, the National Council and the Council of States unanimously approved Switzerland becoming a full member of ECRIN. As a full member, Switzerland contributes to ECRIN's core funding and has full access to ECRIN’s services at no additional cost. In addition, Switzerland is now represented in ECRIN's Assembly of Members, so it can actively participate in decision-making. For the SCTO, one thing is clear: researchers achieve better results when they combine forces and work together. As a clinical research infrastructure, the SCTO has created a network that brings together national and international research communities from various disciplines and institutions.

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2022​​​​​​​, 2021