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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 2021


21 December 2021

Using surplus to meet needs: Working hand-in-hand to help people in need in Switzerland

Exactly 20 years ago, Schweizer Tafel opened up its first location in Bern. And with its work, Schweizer Tafel plays an important role in promoting a balanced diet and improving people’s health. The SCTO’s donation to Schweizer Tafel supports the logistics needed for the organisation to carry out its impactful work. Find out more in our December newsletter.

We wish you a relaxing Christmas season and all the best for the New Year. And above all, stay healthy!


24 November 2021

Switzerland participates in multinational vaccine trial on the effectiveness of the ‘booster shot’ against the coronavirus

Within the European Vaccination Research Network VACCELERATE, a new multinational vaccine trial on the immune response to a third COVID-19 vaccination, EU-COVAT-1 AGED, is underway. The objective of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of the 3rd dose on study participants aged 75 and over. Recruitment is started in Germany for participants who have received two doses of the same vaccine (including BioNTech/Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca).

Switzerland will participate with two vaccination centres in Bern and Lausanne. Since March 2020, all Clinical Trial Units (CTUs) at our member institutions have been supporting research activities related to the COVID-19 outbreak. The CTU Bern is the national coordinator of the VACCELERATE research network.

VACCELERATE is a 3-year pan-European project, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme. The European Clinical Research Infrastructure Network (ECRIN) is providing its trial management services for the multinational expansion of this trial in the participating countries.

Read more about this topic on ECRIN’s website.

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11 November 2021

Horizon Europe: Guide and web form for submission of funding requests in Switzerland

The State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) will directly fund researchers and innovators in Switzerland whose participation in approved collaborative and individual projects under Horizon Europe is not funded by the European Commission. Funding requests can be submitted to SERI on an ongoing basis via a web form.

For more information, visit the SERI website:
Swiss Transitional Measures for Horizon Europe – Direct Funding
Guide for Swiss participants in collaborative projects 


5 November 2021

Repurposing of authorised medicines: pilot to support not-for-profit organisations and academia

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the Heads of Medicines Agencies (HMA) are launching a pilot project to support the repurposing of medicines. The aim of this initiative is to support not-for-profit organisations and academia to gather or generate sufficient evidence on the use of an established medicine in a new indication with the view to have this new use formally authorised by a regulatory authority. This is a way of making new treatment options available to patients.

Repurposing of medicines for COVID-19 falls outside the scope of this pilot project as there is a separate framework for these products.

Sponsors and investigators conducting multicentre, multinational trials in Switzerland can find more information on EMA’s website: Repurposing of authorised medicines: pilot to support not-for-profit organisations and academia


22 September 2021

Clinical Research Careers: A new website for young clinical researchers

Training to be a clinical researcher can be challenging, especially for young physicians. The new Clinical Research Careers website provides relevant information all in one place and aims to guide young physicians throughout their career in clinical research in Switzerland. The website contains searchable databases of training options, career support, and funding opportunities as well as a catalogue of competencies. It also illustrates possible career paths by highlighting success stories of inspiring clinical researchers.

The website is a joint project of our Education Platform, the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences (SAMS), and the association for university medicine in Switzerland (unimedsuisse). It came out of the Federal Office of Public Health’s Roadmap 2016–2021 for Developing the Next Generation of Clinical Researchers, which aims to facilitate the career progression of young clinical researchers and medical students interested in research and to promote the overarching goal of improving Switzerland’s status as a centre of biomedical research and technology.

Explore Clinical Research Careers

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14 September 2021

Position paper by Swissmedic and swissethics on decentralised clinical trials (DCTs) with medicinal products

Thanks to the use of innovative technologies in clinical trials, study visits no longer necessarily have to be carried out in the hospital, but can also take place decentrally at home. With their patient-centred approach, these so-called decentralised clinical trials (DCTs) bring new opportunities but also pose new challenges for all those involved.

In a position paper, Swissmedic and swissethics summarised the main current challenges of DCTs with medicinal products and show under which conditions such clinical trials could be conducted in Switzerland.

The paper is addressed to researchers and sponsors as well as all those interested in clinical research.

Decentralised clinical trials (DCTs) with medicinal products in Switzerland


13 August 2021

Peter Meier-Abt: a tribute to a tireless spokesman for science

Peter Meier-Abt, President of the SCTO and the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences (SAMS) for many years, passed away in May. In the next Bulletin the SAMS will publish a tribute to this tireless spokesman for science. It was written jointly with the Swiss Personalised Health Network and the SCTO, two institutions that he has significantly shaped.

The full version of the article can be found on the SAMS' website:
In memoriam: Peter Meier-Abt


22 July 2021

White Paper: Seven goals for clinical research

What does publicly funded clinical research need to increase its benefit for patients and society? The Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences' (SAMS) White Paper Clinical Research presents a roadmap with seven goals to strengthen the impact of clinical research in Switzerland. It suggests ways on how to use resources more efficiently and how to align efforts on common priorities.

The SCTO supports a common vision and approach to strengthen patient-centred clinical research in Switzerland and will actively participate in the implementation of the measures.



19 July 2021

Federal funding programme for COVID-19 medicinal products: Call open

The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), in collaboration with Innosuisse, launched the call for proposals for the federal programme to promote research, development and production of COVID- 19 medicinal products on 19 July 2021. Eligible companies, universities and hospitals can submit their projects on the Innosuisse website until 16 August 2021.

Federal funding programme for COVID-19 medicinal products


15 July 2021

Update on Swiss participation in Horizon Europe

The Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) provided an update on the participation of Switzerland in Horizon Europe. This update clarifies that the European Commission determined Switzerland as a non-associated third country for the participation in projects under Horizon Europe.

Furthermore, it is stated that

  • Switzerland can participate in approximately 2/3 of Horizon Europe and notably in most collaborative projects
  • the Swiss project partner will be funded by the SERI
  • participants from non-associated third countries cannot coordinate projects. They can however lead work packages.
  • Swiss participants do not sign Grant Agreements

According to Euresearch, this has retroactive effects on any 2021 call. In their factsheet an overview is provided of what these effects are.


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14 July 2021

Survey on Patient and Public Involvement in Clinical Research

Are you involved in a patient and public involvement (PPI) project or are you aware of such an initiative? Together with our partner organisations, we identify and characterise local and national PPI initiatives in the academic environment. The results of the survey will be presented as a mapping of all identified PPI initiatives/projects and provide a solid basis of the status quo in Switzerland.

Survey Patient and Public Involvement in Clinical Research


13 July 2021

Guide for researchers to address patient and public involvement in clinical trials

Following the SCTO’s recent publication of a fact sheet on patient and public involvement (PPI), a practical guide for researchers is now available. It aims to help researchers who are planning a clinical research project and seeking potential funding find appropriate ways to ensure effective and meaningful PPI in their clinical trials.

The guide is an orientation aid and is not intended to provide comprehensive instructions on how to implement PPI. Both the guide and the fact sheet on patient and public involvement (PPI) were prepared in close collaboration with the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).

Guide for researchers to address PPI in clinical trials


2 July 2021

Launch of European Covid-19 trials coordination module website

A new website centralises information for academics and industry on access to the three large Pan-European adaptive platform trials currently underway: DisCoVeRy, EU-SolidAct & REMAP-CAP.

The website was launched by the coordination module of the EU-funded projects RECOVER and EU-RESPONSE that allows them to evaluate potential therapeutics for COVID-19, while avoiding duplications and maximising the use of resources.




25 June 2021

4-Year Report 2017–2020: The fruits of our work

Click through our tree of achievements in our interactive 4-Year Report to see how we continue to build on a solid foundation and how we work together as a decentralised network to shape the future of clinical research in Switzerland.

SCTO 2017–2020: The fruits of our work


12 June 2021

The SCTO Platforms have their own website:
Tools & Resources: Our new website for academic clinical research professionals

With our new, user-friendly website, our platforms’ practical tools and resources are even more accessible for your day-to-day work. The website will be continually updated and expanded with additional tools, so it’s worth visiting regularly!



12 May 2021

Medical devices: Lost in translation?
Online SCTO Symposium on 8 June 2021

Together with Bern University Hospital, the University of Bern, and sitem-insel AG (Swiss Institute for Translational and Entrepreneurial Medicine), the SCTO is holding its 10th symposium on 8 June 2021. Our online event is dedicated to the topic of medical devices: from clinical development to registration and market access.

Additional breakout session: Submissions to ethics committees: New processes and synchronisation

The breakout sessions during the lunch break will give participants the chance to learn more about topics specific to Switzerland.

You may register online 2 June. The programme is available on our page Symposium 2021.


11 May 2021

Fact sheet on patient and public involvement (PPI)

The SCTO has published a fact sheet on on patient and public involvement (PPI). It was prepared in close collaboration with the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and is currently available in English.

Fact sheet on patient and public involvement (PPI)


21 April 2021

Re-election of SCTO President and new Steering Board members

At its General Assembly on 13 April 2021, the Steering Board of the SCTO unanimously re-elected Prof. Christiane Pauli-Magnus as President of the SCTO. Prof. Pauli-Magnus is Co-Head of the Department of Clinical Research and Head of the Clinical Trial Unit at the University Hospital Basel.

Furthermore, two new Steering Board members were elected for the funding period 2021– 2024: Prof. Mauro Oddo was elected new representative of the Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV), replacing Prof. Manuel Pascual, and Prof. Thomas Geiser was elected representative of the University Hospital (Inselspital) Bern, replacing Prof. Matthias Gugger.

We wish to express our warm thanks to Prof. Pauli-Magnus for her continued and active commitment and we also sincerely thank Prof. Manuel Pascual and Prof. Matthias Gugger for their longstanding and dedicated support of the SCTO projects.


31 March 2021

Medical devices: Lost in translation?
Online SCTO Symposium on 8 June 2021

On 8 June 2021, the SCTO is organising its 10th Symposium together with Bern University Hospital, the University of Bern, and sitem-insel AG (Swiss Institute for Translational and Entrepreneurial Medicine). Our online event is dedicated to the topic of medical devices: from clinical development to certification and market access.

You may register online 25 May. The latest draft of the programme is available on our page Symposium 2021.



24 February 2021

Investigator Initiated Clinical Trials (IICT) 2021

For the seventh time, the ​Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) is launching a call for clinical studies on topics that are outside the industry focus.

Applicants must submit a letter of intent (LOI) via mySNF by 25 May 2021. The platform will be open to researchers as of 1 April 2021.

Participation requirements Investigator Initiated Clinical Trials (IICT)


18 February 2021

5th call for proposals for PHRT-supported projects

In their fifth call, Personalized Health and Related Technologies (PHRT) will support doctoral student (iDoc Projects) and postdoc (TPdF Projects) projects bridging the two areas science/engineering and medicine. In addition, Technology Translation Projects (TTP) aim to bring technologies developed in the institutions of the ETH Domain into direct clinical utility.

The submission deadline for the proposals of this fifth call is 15 May 2021.

For more information about the call and about Personalized Health and Related Technologies, visit the PHRT’s website.


11 February 2021

Communicating clinical research results: Moving from vicious to virtuous circles

SCTO Forum goes digital! The diverse and compact presentations from the digital SCTO Forum 2021 on 27 January 2021 are now available online.

Learn how national experts, such as Swiss National Councillor Yvonne Feri and researcher Silvia Stringhini, illuminate the forum’s topic from different angles. In addition, you can listen to the keynote presentation of Annabelle South, Policy & Research Impact Coordinator at the British Medical Research Council, to receive an overview of current evidence for how knowledge transfer can be achieved, including practical examples and recommendations.

The podcasts are available in English or German.

Podcasts SCTO Forum 2021 on Vimeo
Programme SCTO Forum 2021 on our website


22 January 2021

Department of Clinical Research of the University of Basel receives ECRIN Data Centre Certification

On 21 January 2021, the European Clinical Research Infrastructure Network (ECRIN) announced the ECRIN Data Centre Certification of two European data centres: the Department of Clinical Research of the University of Basel (DKF) and the Zentrum für Klinische Studien Köln.

As member of the SCTO’s Clinical Trial Unit Network, the DKF is the first institution in Switzerland to achieve official status as an ECRIN data centre for its data management and IT standards. Furthermore, the certification marks the first certification of a Data Centre in an ECRIN observer country.

The goal of ECRIN’s Data Centre Certification is to enhance high-quality data management services in non-commercial clinical trials and to contribute to the harmonisation of European practice in data management.

Read more:

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8 January 2021

Federal government confirms 2021–2024 funding for the SCTO and the CTU Network

In its press release of 21 December 2020, the Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER) announced the government’s funding contributions to research institutions of national importance for the years 2021–2024.

The government’s funding includes contributions to the SCTO’s projects, including the Clinical Trial Unit (CTU) Network and the Swiss Research Network of Clinical Pediatric Hubs (SwissPedNet). In 2007, the CTUs of the university hospitals of Basel, Bellinzona, Bern, Geneva, Lausanne, and Zurich and the cantonal hospital of St. Gallen formed a network, which has become a well-established and nationally coordinated clinical research infrastructure.

In the period of 2021–2024, the government will support 31 research institutions with a total of approximately CHF 460 million. The funded institutions span a range of disciplines and complement the research activities at the universities and in the ETH Domain.


Further information on our website:

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For older news please see our news archives 2020201920182017201620152014 and 2013.