More than the sum of their parts: 23 new Sinergia projects approved

The SNSF will fund 23 new Sinergia projects with a total amount of 53.4 million Swiss francs. Two to four research groups will participate in each of these interdisciplinary projects.

​​​​​73 Sinergia applications were submitted to the Swiss National Science Foundation by 1 December 2017. All in all, they cover 92 disciplines: 26% are in the humanities and social sciences, 34% in mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering, and 40% in biology and medicine.

​​The projects were selected in a process based on the principle of competition. In a first step, the project proposals are reviewed by external experts. In a second step, the proposals are assessed by members of the Sinergia evaluation commission and subsequently compared and discussed at the commission’s plenary meeting. Finally, the assessments are forwarded to the National Research Council for endorsement.

​​With its Sinergia grants, the SNSF promotes interdisciplinary collaboration between two to four research groups whose projects are expected to deliver groundbreaking insights ("breakthrough research"). "When evaluating the proposals, one of our priorities is to combine subprojects in a way that creates a coherent overall project. This leads to synergies and adds value for the different disciplines and research fields involved," says Rita Franceschini, president of the Sinergia evaluation commission and of the Research Council's specialised committee for interdisciplinarity.

​​With 23 approved projects, the success rate this semester lies at 32%. The projects will receive grants worth 53.4 million francs in total, or 2.3 million francs on average. Sinergia projects generally have a duration of four years.

The applicants requested a total amount of 164 million francs from the SNSF. The SNSF cut the funds for the approved proposals by 3.5% on average. 80% of the grant recipients work at a Swiss university or ETH, 7% at another research institution or at a hospital that is not affiliated with a university, and 13% at a university abroad.