NCCR MSE – Molecular Systems Engineering

2014 series

​Home institutions: University of Basel, ETH Zurich

The NCCR “MSE – Molecular Systems Engineering” combines the life sciences, chemistry, physics and engineering sciences in order to transfer the synthesis processes of biological cells to synthetic systems. Such molecular systems are the equivalent of tiny factories in which new compounds and substances are made. These can be used in energy supply and the chemical industry as well as in medical diagnosis or treatment.

The NCCR intends to break through the barriers of the traditional focus on individual molecular modules and develop new engineering principles that reveal how individual molecular modules can be combined to form working molecular production lines. The research findings could be used to meet future economic and technical challenges.

Further information on the NCCR:

  • Contact details

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    NCCR Management

    NCCR Director

    Prof. Thomas R. Ward
    Departement Chemie
    Universität Basel
    Spitalstrasse 51
    CH-4056 Basel
    Phone: +41 (0) 61 207 10 04
    head-nccr-mse@unibas.chExternal Link Icon


    Prof. Daniel Müller
    Departement für Biosysteme (D-BSSE) ETH Zürich
    Mattenstrasse 26
    CH-4058 Basel
    Phone: +41 (0) 61 387 33 07
    daniel.mueller@bsse.ethz.chExternal Link Icon

    Management / Coordination

    Aleksander Benjak
    NCCR Molecular Systems Engineering
    University of Basel
    BPR 1095
    Mattenstrasse 24a
    P.O. Box 3350
    4002 Basel
    Phone: +41 (0) 61 267 19 90
    aleksander.benjak@unibas.chExternal Link Icon

  • Funding

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    NCCRs are financed through grants awarded by the SNSF, but also from other sources. The home institutions involved in the NCCR also contribute 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 Molecular Systems Engineering in its second funding period.

    Financing 2014 – 2021 (Swiss francs)

    Funding source




    SNSF grant*



    Funds of Basel University*



    Funds of ETH Zurich*



    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 Molecular Systems Engineering consists of the following experts:

    Contact person at the SNSF:

    Dr. Damian Dalcher
    NCCR Team
    Swiss National Science Foundation
    Wildhainweg 3
    3001 Berne
    Phone: +41 (0) 31 308 24 28
    damian.dalcher@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.

  • 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 important 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 transfer of the NCCR Molecular Systems Engineering:

  • 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 Molecular Systems Engineering to promote young researchers and gender equality.