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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 2022


18 November 2022

Reports on the activities of the ethics committees and human research 2021

Kofam (Coordination Office for Human Research) published the statistical report «Human Research in Switzerland 2021» and the summary report «Activities of the Research Ethics Committees 2021».

These reports describe biomedical research in Switzerland governed by the Human Research Act for the year 2021. The information comes from BASEC (Business Administration System for Ethics Committees), which is managed by the umbrella organization of research ethics committees (swissethics), and from the individual activity reports of the cantonal research ethics committees (EKOS, EKNZ, KEK-BE, KEK-ZH, CCER, CER-VD and CE-TI).

Human Research in Switzerland 2021

Activities of the Research Ethics Committees 2021



17 November 2022

Core competencies in clinical research

The journal Swiss Medical Weekly recently published an article written by the SCTO’s Education Platform describing the work it did on developing the Clinical Research Core Competencies (CRCC) Framework. The article aims to make researchers, research teams, and those responsible for training aware that a framework for such competencies exists. The CRCC Framework is recognised by all Swiss universities and Clinical Trial Units (CTUs) in the SCTO Network.

Swiss Medical Weekly article

Clinical Research Core Competencies Framework on the Clinical Research Careers website


21 October 2022

Report on the evaluation of the SCTO’s CTU Network and platforms

The Swiss Clinical Trial Organisation (SCTO) is a research infrastructure committed to promoting high-quality, patient-oriented clinical research in Switzerland. The SCTO is an independent, non-profit organisation funded by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), and it has been mandated to advance academic clinical research in Switzerland by serving as a nationwide collaboration platform and international networking partner.

The SERI commissioned an independent evaluation of the SCTO’s Clinical Trial Unit (CTU) Network and platforms for the time period of 2017–2020. The evaluation focused on the following three key areas:

  1. the significance of the CTUs’ services for clinical researchers
  2. the role of the CTU Network with regard to challenges in clinical research
  3. an evaluation of the SCTO Platforms’ role.

The recently released evaluation report (available in German) summarises the results of the evaluation, presents initial conclusions, and identifies action points.

Overall, a large majority of respondents were satisfied with both the services provided by the various local CTUs and their professional expertise; most respondents rated cooperation with the CTUs as efficient. In terms of barriers for using the CTUs, respondents often mentioned costs as a limiting factor.

All respondents credited the SCTO umbrella organisation with serving a supportive role for collaboration and communication within the CTU Network. In addition, the SCTO’s external role as a point of contact for third parties received a positive rating. All respondents rated the role of the SCTO Platforms very positively and agreed with the platforms’ topic-based focus. Products created by the platforms were viewed as having high quality, and the platforms’ work was perceived as being both effective and efficient.

The SCTO’s Steering Board is pleased about the overall positive result of the evaluation. The Board will carefully analyse the action points identified in order to start putting appropriate measures in place that will improve and further develop the organisation.

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4 October 2022

Future Managing Director of the SCTO

We are very pleased to announce that Victoria Sarraf-Mikaelian will assume the role of Managing Director of the SCTO as of 1 January 2023. She will succeed Annette Magnin, who is leaving the SCTO at the end of November 2022.

Victoria has many years of professional experience in the public and private sectors. As a pharmacist with a master’s in business administration, she holds both a scientific and an economic degree. Currently, she is Head of Analysis & Strategies in Biomedicine at the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).

Victoria will add value to the SCTO with her knowledge of political issues and processes in the field of health, of the federal government's strategy for supporting research, innovation, and industry, and of networks and umbrella organisations in the biomedical field. Moreover, she is experienced in managing and coordinating cross-functional teams and projects and has wide-ranging expertise in the entire pharmaceutical research and development chain.

Victoria’s excellent background equips her well to support the SCTO with upcoming challenges and help it further develop as an organisation. We are very much looking forward to working with Victoria!

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8 September 2022

SCTO video explains patient and public involvement in clinical research

What does it look like to actively involve patients and representatives of the public in clinical research? Who can be involved in PPI?
In our short video, we explain PPI using specific examples and the support of Sarah, a PPI contributor.



8 September 2022

SCTO’s policy on fair remuneration for PPI in research projects and initiatives

Our remuneration policy provides guidance on the remuneration of patients or representatives of the public when they are involved in clinical research projects within our network. The policy also describes the conditions for reimbursing accommodation and travel expenses incurred.

This policy can also be used outside of our network as a model for PPI remuneration. It is available in four languages on our website:
English: SCTO Remuneration Policy for Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Activities
Deutsch: Patienten- und Öffentlichkeitsbeteiligung: Vergütungsrichtlinie der SCTO
Français: Activités d’implication des patient•e•s et du public: directives de rémunération de la SCTO
Italiano: Coinvolgimento di pazienti e pubblico: direttiva sulla remunerazione della SCTO

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30 June 2022

Did we walk the talk? Our highlights in 2021

Our digital SCTO Annual Report 2021 offers you an overview of our main achievements in 2021. We cordially invite you to dive deeper into the highlights of our Clinical Trial Unit (CTU) Network, our platforms, and our Executive Office.

SCTO Annual Report 2021


21 June 2022

Artificial intelligence and machine learning in clinical research:
Presentations from the SCTO Symposium 2022 are online

How can the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) benefit clinical research? What are the challenges and risks of these new approaches? We invited leading international experts to come to Lugano on 15 June to shed some light on these current issues. In addition, key Swiss stakeholders in clinical research discussed how they address these new technological advances and how they are preparing for the future.

Attended by over 150 people, this year’s SCTO Symposium was organised in close cooperation with Ente Ospedaliero Cantonale (EOC). You can find a selection of the videos and PDFs of the presentations on the SCTO Symposium 2022 section of our website.

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Research promotion

25 May 2022

Swiss Personalized Health Network launched call for Demonstrator projects

The Swiss Personalized Health Network (SPHN) has launched a call for Demonstrator projects. These projects aim to demonstrate the added value of SPHN data resources and infrastructure elements for data-driven personalized health research, clinical and public health research, and clinical use. Submission deadline for applications is 31 August 2022.

The application also includes a lay summary that explains the project proposal to the public and describes how the Demonstrator project will be of benefit to patients.

For more information, please visit
You can find useful information on the topic of patient and public involvement in academic clinical research in our dedicated section on this website.

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11 May 2022

A culture of collaboration: Symposium in honor of Peter Meier-Abt

The University of Basel, together with the Research Ethics Committee of the Canton of Zurich, the University of Zurich and swissethics, invites you to an international scientific symposium on 19 July 2022 in honour of Prof. Peter Meier-Abt. The first president of the SCTO passed away in May 2021. The event aims to bring together the numerous actors who can contribute to the value and advancement of science and medicine.




3 May 2022

SCTO Symposium on 15 June in Lugano: Artificial intelligence in clinical research

The remarkable advances in the fields of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) over the past few years have attracted considerable attention – and fuelled fears. This year’s SCTO Symposium takes a closer look at this topic from various perspectives. We have worked closely with Ente Ospedaliero Cantonale (EOC) in Lugano to put together a programme for you that is rich in variety. Join us on 15 June in Lugano!

More detailed information about our programme and the registration is available at: SCTO Symposium 2022.


13 April 2022

Federal Council would like Switzerland to join six European research infrastructures

On 13 April, the Federal Council submitted a dispatch report to Parliament on Switzerland's access to six European research infrastructure networks. Joining these networks would enable Swiss researchers to participate in them actively and on an equal footing.

In order to simplify the process for Switzerland to join these networks in the future, the Federal Council has also proposed an amendment to the Federal Act on the Promotion of Research and Innovation (RIPA). This would give the Federal Council powers to make the decision on joining European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) research infrastructures, as is the case with other international research infrastructures with different legal forms.

Federal Council’s press release
Provisional message on Switzerland joining ERIC research infrastructures (available in French, German, and Italian)

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11 March 2022

PPI in a Nutshell: Online course for IICT applicants

The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) has opened its eighth 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 2022 programme, the SCTO is offering an online course twice entitled PPI in a Nutshell on 12 April and 6 May. 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. This online course is free of charge and will be held in English.

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9 February 2022

SCTO Forum 2022: EU CTIS launch and ICH GCP renovation – how will they affect Switzerland?

During the SCTO’s annual forum on 26 January 2022, we discussed the new EU requirements, their relevance for Switzerland, and what needs to be considered from an academic perspective when submitting applications for clinical trials in Europe.

In addition, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) – one of the founding members of the ICH – provided participants with an overview of the vision and objectives of the ongoing, comprehensive renovation of the ICH Good Clinical Practice (GCP) Guideline. During the ensuing discussion session, we considered how this renovation could affect our daily work in clinical research.

You can download videos of the presentations made at the SCTO’s digital forum on 26 January 2022 and related PDFs.

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3 February 2022

United against the initiative to ban human and animal experiments

On 13 February, Swiss voters will decide whether research on animals and humans should be forbidden in Switzerland. Both the academic clinical research community and patient organisations are advocating for a clear no vote on this radical initiative. In our newsletter of 3 February 2022 we have collected the most important happenings from the past few weeks that are connected to this topic as well as related reading and listening recommendations.

SCTO newsletter of 3 February 2022

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25 January 2022

7th call for proposals for PHRT-supported projects

In their seventh call, Personalized Health and Related Technologies (PHRT) invites applicants to collaborate with hospitals and clinics and submit project proposals for:

  1. Interdisciplinary doctoral, so-called iDoc Projects
  2. Interdisciplinary Postdoc, so-called iPostdoc Projects
  3. Technology Translation Projects (TT Projects),
  4. PH/PM Research Projects, and
  5. Imaging Projects being part of the PHRT Imaging Hub.

The submission deadline for all proposal types is 17 April 2022.

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

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20 January 2022

Ready, steady, go! The SCTO has set its sails

We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.

The SCTO and its Clinical Trial Unit Network are supported by the federal government as a research infrastructure of national importance. We base our strategic course on two mandates: our service level agreements with the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation and with the Swiss National Science Foundation. These agreements outline our main areas of activity for the upcoming four years, which we and our Steering Board use as a basis for setting our priorities for the current funding period and for defining our objectives.

Join us on our journey and learn more about where we are headed in the current funding period:

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