Sinergia: 44 million francs for interdisciplinary research

Integration of refugees, microbiological risk assessment and better exploration and development of geothermal energy: the SNSF is funding 17 new projects in its Sinergia programme.

In December 2021, the SNSF received 62 Sinergia applications. The 17 best-rated projects have now been selected for funding, corresponding to a success rate of 27 per cent. 57 researchers from 48 disciplines are involved in the selected projects. The total funding amount is 43.8 million francs, or 2.5 million on average.

Integration of refugees

Despite the urgent need for psychological care, refugees and asylum seekers often do not receive adequate treatment, also in Switzerland. This is the subject of the Sinergia project proposed by researchers from the University Hospital Zurich, ETH Zurich and the University of New South Wales in Australia. The aim is to contribute to a better understanding of the psychological problems and obstacles to integration faced by refugees and asylum seekers. In addition, the researchers will seek to identify cost-efficient measures that can be used to overcome these challenges. Methods from psychology, policy analysis, economics and information technology will be used in the project.

Microbiological risk assessment

Food safety, experimental microbiology, mathematics and economics are combined in a project conducted by four researchers from the University of Zurich, ETH Zurich, the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland and the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna. To promote sustainable and resilient food systems, they will develop innovative approaches to food safety. This will include applying dynamic risk assessment methods derived from financial mathematics to microbiological risk assessment – with the aid of artificial intelligence.

Better exploration and development of geothermal energy

Another project is developing more accurate and cost-effective methods for recording the subsurface velocity structure of the Earth's upper crust. This will provide a better understanding of various geological processes and lead to more effective use of geothermal energy. The project will be conducted by three researchers from the University of Geneva, the University of Applied Sciences of Western Switzerland and the Italian National Research Council (CNR) in Florence. The three will use methods from geology, geophysics and computer science to achieve their research objectives.

The SNSF’s Sinergia programme supports joint projects in which two to four researchers carry out interdisciplinary research that can lead to groundbreaking findings.