SNSF and SDC launch new research programme for sustainable development

© r4d | Enrico Celio

The SOR4D programme supports transdisciplinary research in collaboration with developing countries. It will run from 2022 to 2026.

Achieving the sustainable development goals set out in the 2030 Agenda requires new ways of thinking, innovative social practices and adapted technologies. As part of the UN's "decade of action", the SNSF and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) of the government have renewed their partnership for a further ten years in 2021. Central to this alliance is the launch of a new research programme: the Solution-oriented Research for Development Programme (SOR4D). Focusing on transdisciplinary research and the needs of development actors, it will aim at generating solutions, innovations and improved knowledge to foster sustainable development and reduce poverty in the least developed and low- and middle-income countries.

Transdisciplinary and solution-oriented

The SOR4D programme builds on its predecessor, the r4d programme, which was run by the SNSF and the SDC from 2012 to 2023. In addition to promoting cooperation between researchers in Switzerland and in developing countries, the new programme enables the research community to work hand in hand with practitioners on the ground. It advocates a solution-oriented approach. "We can draw on a long and rich experience in scientific cooperation with partners in the South," says Christian Frutiger, Assistant Director General and Head of Global Cooperation at the SDC. "I am delighted that the SNSF and the SDC are able to contribute to the emergence of a new generation of researchers who are working even harder to meet concrete needs and find appropriate solutions."

Thematically open

An international and transdisciplinary evaluation panel will examine the applications in a competitive process. Projects are thematically open, but must contribute directly to the objectives of sustainable development. There is a strong focus on solutions, pilot testing and implementing at local, regional or global levels. "With this new research programme, the SDC and the SNSF are responding to a need expressed by the scientific and development community. Namely, for more opportunities to conduct transdisciplinary research and to adapt and improve existing knowledge and technologies to specific local and regional contexts," says Matthias Egger, President of the SNSF National Research Council.

The SOR4D programme has a budget of around 19 million francs and will run from 2022 to 2026. The call for projects will be launched in the first quarter of 2022.