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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.

Archive 2018


21 December 2018

Boosting Switzerland as a centre of biomedical research and technology

The federal government has adopted a master plan to boost this country’s strength in biomedical research and technology, long-term. As part of these efforts, in 2013 the Federal Council approved a master plan designed to boost Switzerland as a centre of biomedical research and technology.

At the end of 2018 the Federal Council did an interim appraisal of the master plan in the form of a review: Overall, five years after approval of the master plan, implementation of the 23 measures is well on track. The SCTO and its CTU Network  play a significant role in the support of important research infrastructures and in securing young talent in clinical research.

The interim appraisal of the Federal Council is available in German and French.


14 December 2018

Ireland joins ECRIN as a Member Country

Ireland has officially joined ECRIN, the European Clinical Research Infrastructure Network, as a Member Country. This brings ECRIN’s number of Member countries to nine: Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Portugal and Spain.

Since 2015, Switzerland has been an Observer country, together with Slovakia. This also gives clinical researchers in Switzerland access to services and consulting that facilitate, among other things, the conduct of multinational, academic clinical trials.

Read more about the Ireland’s accession at More information about ECRIN and its services is available in our fact sheet under Publications.

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22 October 2018

Welcoming the Ticino to the table: our new member, the EOC

We’re delighted to say “Benvenuti!” to the Ente Ospedaliero Cantonale (EOC) Ticino, our newest full member and current associate member.

The EOC submitted a hefty dossier to the SCTO Steering Board, as is protocol to apply for full membership. In taking this step, the EOC will be joining our eight other full members, six (university) hospitals, the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences, and the Collège des Doyens. 

Such a step represents greater integration in the world of Swiss clinical research, the inclusion of the Swiss-Italian region, its people, and its language. The full membership will come to fruition when the EOC – already a setting for clinical research – launches as the teaching hospital of a medical school based at the Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI).

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Awards for developing statistical solutions in clinical research

As a first ever for Switzerland, a competition was run for statisticians in the CTU Network environment in 2018. The statisticians populating this network were challenged to show their prowess – competing for a grant to develop code or programs that will ultimately help improve clinical research and bring fresh solutions to persisting difficulties.

Learn more under SCTO Platforms.


10 September 2018

New team member

We are delighted to welcome Vanessa Arn as our new team member. A skilled professional with a commercial diploma, Vanessa has spent many years in the fields of research and public health and is fully familiar with the environment of the SCTO.

Read more about her tasks at the SCTO under Executive Office.

Research promotion

20 August 2018

IICT call: Support for investigator initiated clinical trials

The IICT programme of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) is targeted at researchers who wish to conduct an independent investigator initiated clinical trial. Support will be given to studies on topics that are not in the industry focus and still under-researched. The SNSF has earmarked a total of 10 million Swiss francs for the 2018 call. This should be sufficient to fund at least four studies.

Researchers wishing to participate in the 2018 call need to submit a letter of intent to the SNSF by 3 September 2018. The submission deadline for the call is 1 November 2018. More information about the participation requirements can be found at

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19 July 2018

First of its kind: a framework to optimise value in patient-oriented clinical research

In news from our network, the University Hospital Basel has announced the publication of the INQUIRE framework, a first of its kind set to optimise patient-oriented clinical research, internationally. This framework initiated by the University of Basel and University Hospital Basel, brings together the best of thinking from 7 stakeholder groups across 16 countries who took part in a rigorous Delphi process to distil their combined expertise into distinct steps.

It outlines how to apply 6 quality dimensions (building blocks) to each stage of the lifecycle of a study. This accessible step-by-step INQUIRE framework can make futile, wasteful research become obsolete.

The full article,"Academic response to improving value and reducing waste: A comprehensive framework for INcreasing QUality In patient- oriented academic clinical REsearch (INQUIRE)", is available through open access from PLOS Medicine.

Find out more at the Department of Clinical Research, University of Basel.

You can also download the framework summarised as a user-friendly graphic guide.   

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28 June 2018

The SCTO Platforms – 8 centres of excellence to boost Swiss clinical research

In line with our goal of supporting the successful development of new therapies and improving existing treatments, the SCTO has established eight platforms. These platforms are to serve as centres of excellence and focus on eight key fields: auditing, data management, education, project management, monitoring, regulatory affairs, safety, and statistics and methodology

Each centre of excellence consists of a team with expertise, skills, and knowledge related to one key aspect of clinical research. Their members aim to not only provide leadership and to share resources, but also to inspire one another, revitalise their fields, and keep apace with trends and best practices.

To find out more about the platforms, their concrete projects and who is involved with them, browse our Fact Sheet under SCTO Platforms.

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Sublime 2nd DACH Symposium for clinical trials

Just like the first event, the 2nd three-nation congress on clinical trials was a roaring success: Over 550 participants joined the DACH Symposium on 11 and 12 June 2018 in Zurich.

Reserve the days in your calendar of 15 and 16 June 2020 to join the 3rd DACH Symposium in Salzburg.

For further information, visit DACH. Only participants have access to the presentations online.


19 June 2018

Overview of our activities: SCTO Short Report 2017

The SCTO reports regularly on its activities and publishes a brief review of the year 2017.

The report is available under Publications.

Research promotion

5 June 2018

Don’t miss: Funding programme "Young Talents in Clinical Research"

With the "Young Talents in Clinical Research" program, the SAMS and the Gottfried and Julia Bangerter-Rhyner Foundation aim at encouraging young medical doctors to venture into clinical research.

For the period 2017 – 2020, CHF 1 million per year is made available by the Bangerter Foundation to support young physicians working in Switzerland with “protected time for research” and “project grants”.

The next submission deadline is 30 June 2018. The participation requirements can be found at

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25 May 2018

Impact of clinical trial units on the value of clinical research in Switzerland

The Swiss Medical Weekly recently published "The impact of clinical trial units on the value of clinical research in Switzerland".

This study draws upon expertise and reflection from the SCTO and the CTU Basel, as it is authored by Dr Belinda von Niederhäusern, formerly with the CTU Basel, SCTO managing director Annette Magnin and new president of SCTO Prof. Christiane Pauli-Magnus.

“A decade ago, Swiss stakeholders established constructive initiatives to improve the quality of clinical research, including a national Clinical Trial Unit (CTU) Network, predominantly rooted in university hospitals. At the 10th anniversary of this network (2007–2017), we reflect on the CTUs’ trajectory and review whether – and how – they have been successful in improving the value of clinical research conducted in Switzerland.”

Access the full article under

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25 May 2018

Template for reporting serious adverse events

The Swiss Ethics Committees on research involving humans (swissethics) have released a more comprehensive form for the reporting of serious adverse events (SAEs) for medicinal products in clinical trials.

The template follows relevant international guidelines.
To download the template, visit

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21 May 2018

A new public-private partnership launches to improve clinical trial infrastructure and facilitate new medicines for children in Europe

Members of the conect4children (c4c) initiative have launched a large collaborative paediatric network to facilitate the development of new drugs and other therapies for the entire paediatric population in Europe.

The conect4children (collaborative network for European clinical trials for children) consortium aims to enhance the competitiveness of Europe for developing medicines for children by using existing expertise, patient access, and developing common processes to be applied to disease natural history studies, registries, studies of new therapies, and comparisons of existing therapies. 

This consortium is a novel collaboration between academic and private sectors that includes 33 academic and 10 industry partners from 20 European countries, more than 50 third parties and around 500 affiliated partners. The Swiss Research Network of Clinical Pediatric Hubs (SwissPedNet) serves as the Swiss contact. The six-year project is a pioneering opportunity to build capacity for the management of multinational paediatric clinical trials across Europe while ensuring the voices of children, young people, and their families are heard.

Read the full press release under

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3 May 2018

New President of the SCTO

At its 9th General Assembly on 23 April 2018, the Steering Board of the Swiss Clinical Trial Organisation (SCTO) elected Prof. Christiane Pauli-Magnus, formerly serving as vice-president, as the new president of the SCTO.

She is Co-Head of the Department of Clinical Research and Head of the Clinical Trial Unit at the University Hospital Basel. Prof. Pauli-Magnus accepted her appointment as president with immediate effect.

We wish to express warm thanks to Prof. Gregor Zünd, President of the University Hospital Zurich Executive Board, for his dedicated, successful service as president of the SCTO.

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18 April 2018

Therapeutic Products Act and the Human Research Act: call for public input

Subsequent to several incidents and scandals relating to medical devices, the EU has revised its current medical device legislation.

The EU Commission has proposed two new, more stringent Ordinances to replace the previous Directives: one for medical devices and the other for in vitro diagnostics. The proposed revisions should ultimately improve quality and safety of medical devices and harmonise their implementation in the EU, thereby enhancing their safety for patients.

Due to a Mutual Recognition Assessment between Switzerland and the EU market, Switzerland must follow suite, proposing adaptations to its legal framework so that Swiss-based patients can also benefit from better patient safety and greater transparency regarding medical devices. Accordingly, the Therapeutic Products Act (TPA) and the Human Research Act (HRA) must also both be adjusted. The Federal Council is calling for public input on these two acts. The deadline for submissions is 11 June 2018.

Relevant documentation is available from the Federal Office of Public Health website in French, German, and Italian, plus an overview in English. Please consult our tables in French and German, summarising proposed changes to the TPA and HRA.

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Research promotion

4 April 2018

Open Call for Advanced Research Projects

The CORBEL partners launch an Open Call for Advanced Research Projects and offer all academic and industrial scientists in Europe the unique chance to accelerate their research.

CORBEL is an initiative of thirteen new biological and medical research infrastructures (BMS RIs) and has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020. Supported by the Open Call project managers, successful applicants will be offered open access to cutting-edge technologies and services available at more than 20 service providers from 10 European research infrastructures.

For more information about the call and the application process view the flyer below or visit

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Research promotion

9 March 2018

Evaluation of second IICT call: intensive preparations required

Funding for "Investigator initiated clinical trials" (IICT) continues to be in high demand. But preparing applications requires intense preparations.

With the special IICT programme, the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) is promoting clinical studies in under-researched areas that do not attract industry interest. Projects of the first call in 2015 will be completed in 2019.

The SNSF has now published the evaluation results of the 2016 call, listing the successful projects as well as the main reasons why the other proposals were rejected. Read the evaluation at

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16 February 2018

Access to participant data from clinical trials: principles and recommendations

A multi-stakeholder task force developed a consensus document on providing access to individual participant data from clinical trials. The task force used a broad interdisciplinary approach after examining major issues associated with sharing of individual clinical trial data.

The adoption of the recommendations in this document would help to promote and support data sharing and reuse among researchers, adequately inform trial participants and protect their rights, and provide effective and efficient systems for preparing, storing and accessing data. The recommendations now need to be implemented and tested in practice. Further work needs to be done to integrate these proposals with those from other geographical areas and other academic domains.

This consensus-building process involved a wide range of experts like researchers, patient representatives, methodologists, information technology experts, and representatives from funders, infrastructures and standards development organisations. The project was coordinated by the European Clinical Research Infrastructure Network (ECRIN), thus, the focus was on non-commercial trials and the perspective mainly European.

Read the full article at

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2 February 2018

Successful 8th Forum "Clinical Research"

In its 8th Forum “Clinical Research” on 31 January 2018, the SCTO followed the topical thread of its last Symposium: "Creating greater value and efficiency in clinical research". Close to 90 participants attended the successful event in Bern.

A summary report of the Forum 2018 will follow shortly. The presentations can be accessed as of now under Forum 2018.

The SCTO regularly organises events in order to shed light on current issues and challenges in clinical research from a Swiss perspective and to find common solutions.

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22 January 2018

International Council for Harmonisation adopts Guideline 17 on planning and design of multi-region trials

With the increasing globalisation of medicines development, the International Council for Harmonisation (ICH) adopted a major Guideline on the planning and design of multi-regional clinical trials at its meeting in mid-November 2017.

The ICH E17 Guideline will facilitate the acceptability of multi-regional clinical trials as part of global regulatory submissions in ICH and non-ICH regions. This is expected to have a direct public health benefit, in particular by encouraging more predictability and planning security around the approval of trials and the use of clinical trial data from a greater variety of countries and regions in the authorisation process.

In Switzerland, the ICH Guidelines are deemed to be the documents representing the current state of science and technology once they have been approved by consensus within the ICH organisation. Swissmedic will apply the ICH E17 Guideline accordingly when it is published on the ICH website.

For more information, view the press release.

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Event calendar

16 January 2018

DACH Symposium on clinical trials: 11-12 June 2018 in Zurich

Together with the coordination centres for clinical studies in Germany and Austria, we warmly invite you to the second tri-national congress on clinical trials.

Since the overwhelming response to the first such congress –  more than 550 participants attending the DACH Symposium of March 2016 held in Freiburg (D) – participants of this year’s event can again expect a richly diverse programme. As a special highlight, a live randomisation is planned at the close of the first day, intending to demonstrate in an amusing and expressive way how “flexible” study results can be.

The congress is aimed at all who are active in the field of clinical research, including professional groups working at trial sites as well as those in regular contact with trial site staff. Patients are welcome, too. Use this unique platform to exchange experiences within your field of expertise with hundreds of colleagues!

The 2nd DACH Symposium takes place on 11 and 12 June 2018 at the University of Zurich. The presentations and discussions at the three-nation congress are mainly held in German.

To learn more about the themes of the presentations and workshops that follow, which exhibitors are presenting their services and products onsite, and how to register, visit

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For older news and press releases please see our news archives 2017201620152014 and 2013.