17 Swiss COST projects to strengthen collaboration with Europe

The disease susceptibility of ibex, wind forces on green facades and collaborative science for a sustainable fishery: these are the themes of three of the COST projects funded by the SNSF.

The COST programme promotes research collaboration across Europe. It fosters networks that include scientists from at least seven different countries. The research itself is funded at national level while COST provides funding for conferences, meetings, workshops, courses and publications. (see box below).

In the 2020 COST call, the SNSF evaluated 34 projects submitted by researchers based in Switzerland. 17 of these projects were awarded funding, which corresponds to a success rate of 50%. They will receive up to 320,000 francs each.

"International collaboration, as facilitated by COST, is crucial for progress in science. By coordinating research efforts we can overcome major challenges," says Delphine Marchon, who is responsible for COST at the SNSF. "That's why we want to see these exciting projects succeed over the next few years."

From ibex to wind forces

The projects come from a wide range of disciplines, from mechano-biology to urban planning to model-based analysis of bioareosols.

Here are three examples: Christine Grossen and Alice Brambilla (University of Zurich) are studying the disease susceptibility of ibex. In an interdisciplinary project they are developing tools to gather data on genetic diversity in ibex. The results should be transferable to other wildlife populations.

What are the effects of wind forces on green facades? Andreas Luible (Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts) wants to know the answer to this question. It could help developers optimise the design of green facades by factoring in specific wind loads.

In a participatory research project, Bruno Strasser (University of Geneva) is focussing on a sustainable fishery on Lake Geneva. Fishing enthusiasts are invited to share their knowledge about fish stocks and their practical experiences. The project wants to identify new opportunities for collaborative research.

The funded projects will be completed in the next four years.

Ideas that go beyond borders

COST Actions help to address scientific, technical and social challenges in Europe. On average, researchers from 28 countries participate in each Action. All academic and technical fields of expertise are eligible.

Swiss-based researchers can participate in COST Actions. The SNSF offers COST grants to support their research. This funding option is also open to young researchers who are looking to expand their international network at an early stage in their career.