Health and wellbeing projects 2023: 35 proposals approved

The first call for projects in the field of health and wellbeing has ended. The SNSF will support practice-oriented research projects with 20 million francs.

Health issues are of great importance to Swiss society. The SNSF is promoting research in this field at universities of applied sciences (UAS) and universities of teacher education (UTE) through a time-limited funding scheme, as set out in its 2021-2024 multi-year programme.

After a one-stage evaluation process, the SNSF selected 35 projects for funding out of the 170 applications it received in the call for projects on health and wellbeing in 2023. They will be allocated a budget of 20 million francs for an average period of four years.

Interdisciplinary and use-inspired applications

With this call for proposals, the SNSF is particularly encouraging use-inspired research. The call was aimed at promoting the scientific and practical profile of universities of applied sciences and universities of teacher education. In this way, it supports the diversity of the Swiss research landscape as a whole. More than three-quarters of the projects submitted were use-inspired (85%).

Researchers were free to choose their research topics and objectives in the field of health and wellbeing, thereby enhancing the interdisciplinary nature of this call. Indeed, the vast majority of project proposals (87%) specified more than one discipline.

Slightly higher success rate for women

In absolute figures, the participation of women in the call for projects on health and wellbeing 2023 was 48%. Women researchers will lead 17 of the 35 funded projects, or 49%. The success rate was 20.7% for women and 20.5% for men.

Some examples of funded projects

Ligament injuries in sportswomen

Ligament injuries to the lower limbs are common and can have serious consequences. Not only do they generate high costs for the healthcare system, but they can also have a negative impact on athletes' careers and sporting activities. Compared with men, women are much more likely to suffer ligament injuries in sport. The aim of Eveline Graf's research project (Zurich University of Applied Sciences, ZHAW) is to understand the relationship between women's hormonal profile, biomechanics during exercise and ligament injuries. The results of the study will make it possible to identify factors that predict injury and to use them to develop specific preventive programmes for female athletes in collaboration with local sports organisations.

Artificial intelligence in emergency medicine

The project by Fred van den Anker (School of Applied Psychology, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland, FHNW) and Anna Lisa Martin-Niedecken (Institute for Design Research, Zurich University of the Arts, ZHdK) aims to identify useful applications of artificial intelligence (AI) in emergency medicine and appropriate levels of AI support from a human-centred design perspective, ensuring human autonomy, trust, user acceptance, human wellbeing as well as high-quality decision making. This research, conducted in collaboration with emergency medicine professionals from Bern University Hospital and the Digital Health Design Living Lab, will provide important insights into human-AI collaboration and human-centred AI design.

Skateparks and wellbeing

As part of an interdisciplinary project, Jérôme Heim (Arc Business School, University of Applied Sciences of Western Switzerland, HES-SO) and Annamaria Colombo (Freiburg School of Social Work, HES-SO) are studying the role of the participative appropriation of urban spaces by young people through the construction of DIY skateparks. The aim of this research project is to study the impact of these initiatives on the wellbeing and health of young people aged 14 to 25 who are involved in the groups that set them up in four Swiss towns.