50 million francs for Sinergia projects

The SNSF finances interdisciplinary research with its Sinergia programme. 23 new projects involving 79 researchers will receive a grant. The success rate for this call was 40%.

The ability to find new sources of food has played a major role in the evolution of vertebrates. A project conducted at the Universities of Basel, Zurich and Heidelberg is now studying the necessary adaptations of the digestive systems of cichlids and mammals. The researchers are using methods from molecular ecology, developmental biology, evolutionary genomics and comparative physiology. "This is exactly what the SNSF wants to achieve with the Sinergia programme," says Rita Franceschini, president of the Sinergia evaluation panel. "Various academic disciplines coordinate their approach to research questions and, in a best-case scenario, achieve a scientific breakthrough thanks to the synergies they produce."

Governing through design

A project conducted at the FHNW Academy of Art and Design, the University of Basel and Concordia University in Montreal is exemplary of interdisciplinarity. It analyses how design - in its broadest sense - influenced and changed political thinking and governance in the second half of the 20th century. The project also looks at current strategies aimed at solving social, political and ecological problems by means of design. It thereby opens up a new field for interdisciplinary design research, involving researchers from the fields of design studies, urban studies, architectural history, media studies, cultural anthropology, political science and science & technology studies.

Applications from 84 disciplines

All in all, the SNSF is funding 23 projects from this Sinergia call. They will receive 2.2 million francs on average, the majority for a four-year period.

Of the 79 grantees, 79% work at a Swiss university or at ETHZ/EPFL, 5% at a university of applied sciences, 5% at other research institutions or non-university hospitals, and 11% at universities abroad. The full list of projects can be found on the Sinergia webpage.

The SNSF received 58 applications for Sinergia grants, the success rate for this semester was 40%. The applications span 84 disciplines, with 45% from biology and medicine, approximately a third from mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering and approximately a quarter from the humanities and social sciences.