NCCR PlanetS

​​2014 series

Home institutions: University of Berne, University of Geneva

The discovery of the first planet outside our solar system by Swiss astronomers in 1995 sparked a revolution in the field of astronomy. Not only did it help us to understand how planets are formed and evolve, but it also contributed to the development of instruments dedicated to the discovery of further exoplanets. By combining astronomical observations, measurements of solar system bodies using spacecraft, laboratory work and theoretical modelling, the NCCR "PlanetS – Origin, Evolution and Characterisation of Planets" aims to contribute to a better understanding of planets. In addition, the NCCR will coordinate the use of the CHEOPS instrument (CHaracterising ExOPlanets Satellite), whose launch into orbit is scheduled for 2019.

Further information on the NCCR:

  • Contact details

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    NCCR Management

    NCCR Director

    Prof. Willy Benz
    NCCR PlanetS
    Universität Bern
    Physikalisches Institut
    Sidlerstrasse 5
    CH-3012 Bern
    Phone: +41 (0) 31 631 44 03
    willy.benz@space.unibe.chExternal Link Icon


    Prof. Stéphane Udry
    Université de Genève
    Département d‘Astronomie
    51, chemin des Maillettes
    CH-1290 Versoix
    Phone: +41 (0) 22 379 23 24
    stephane.udry@unige.chExternal Link Icon

    Management / Coordination

    PD Dr. Yann Alibert
    NCCR PlanetS
    Universität Bern
    Physikalisches Institut
    Sidlerstrasse 5​
    CH-3012 Bern
    Phone: +41 (0) 31 631 55 47
    yann.alibert@space.unibe.chExternal Link Icon


    Phone: +41 (0) 31 631 32 39
    janine.jungo@space.unibe.chExternal Link Icon

  • Funding

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    NCCRs are financed through grants awarded by the SNSF, but also from other sources. The home institution involved in the NCCR also contributes a substantial amount of money. The available overall budget of the NCCR is further increased by monetary contributions from the project participants and third-party funds, which are generally invested by industrial companies.

    The SNSF is financing the NCCR PlanetS in its second funding period.

    Financing 2014 – 2021 (Swiss francs)

    Funding source



    SNSF grant*



    Funds of Berne University*



    Funds of Geneva University*



    Group funds of the project participants



    External funds



    * contractually agreed funding

  • Evaluation / Review Panel

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    ​For each NCCR, the SNSF appoints a Review Panel composed of renowned experts whose task it is to evaluate scientific quality and the progress made in NCCR projects. The Review Panel of the NCCR PlanetS consists of the following experts:

    Contact person at the SNSF:

    Dr Nathalie Schaller
    NCCR Team
    Swiss National Science Foundation
    Wildhainweg 3
    CH-3001 Bern
    Phone: +41 (0) 31 308 23 48
    nathalie.schaller@snf.chExternal Link Icon

  • Research structures

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    National Centres of Competence in Research leave their mark on the research landscape well beyond the SNSF funding period. They help to define key topics and sustainably change Swiss research structures. Thus NCCRs can lead to the creation of new professorships and courses of study as well as new infrastructures or platforms at the universities involved.

    NCCRs operate as a network in which a large number of scientific partners are active. Working within these networks has borne fruit in the form of new research approaches and excellent scientific contributions.

    Structures created by this NCCR until now:

  • Contributions to society and the economy

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    The National Centres of Competence in Research not only engage in cutting-edge research, they also play an i​​mportant role in transferring knowledge and new technologies to the economy and to society at large. They lead to the formation of start-ups, and the new insights have the potential to awaken the interest of politicians, globally active companies and the public at large.

    Communication and knowledge and technology transfer of the NCCR PlanetS:

  • Promotion of academic careers and equal opportunities

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    The National Centres of Competence in Research consciously promote promising young researchers and are committed to equal opportunities for men and women in research.

    Measures taken by the NCCR PlanetS ​to promote young researchers and gender equality.