New SNSF funding programme for independent clinical research

26/Jun/2015

Physicians and drug developers do not always have the same research questions. The new special programme Investigator Initiated Clinical Trials (IICT) will enable independent clinical researchers to answer questions that are important for patients.

​Therapies for rare diseases, drug dose reductions and the comparisons of surgical interventions are not in the focus of the pharmaceutical industry because they lack significant commercial potential. Nevertheless, research on such treatments will greatly benefit the affected patients.

On 12 August 2015, the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) will, for the first time, launch a call for a special programme that aims to support clinical studies initiated by researchers (Investigator Initiated Clinical Trials, IICT). There will be a call in 2015 and another next year, each with a maximum budget of CHF 10 million.

High quality standards

"This pioneering initiative meets a major need for enhancing the profile of clinical research in Switzerland while setting high quality standards at the same time," said Aysim Yilmaz, head of the Biology and Medicine division of the SNSF Administrative Offices. To this end, the funded projects will be closely monitored and supported. A requirement, for example, is for the relevant clinicians to make the anonymised data available to other research projects.

In line with the principles of the SNSF, only clinical studies that do not have a directly commercial purpose will be supported. However, donations from companies are not categorically ruled out as long as they do not influence the research work undertaken in the programme. "It is not the programme's aim to place any limits on research funded by corporations, but rather to provide an impetus for increased funding of independent clinical research," Yilmaz adds.

The SNSF expects to support four to five clinical trials per year. The first batch of proposals needs to be submitted by 15 October 2015, with the corresponding funding decisions to be taken by 17 March 2016.


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