2010 series

Home institutions: University of Geneva, EPFL, University of Lausanne

The National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) "SYNAPSY – Synaptic Bases of Mental Diseases" aims to discover the neurobiological mechanisms of mental and cognitive disorders, since one of the major challenges in psychiatry is to achieve a better understanding of how these illnesses originate.

It is hoped that this research will lead to the development of improved diagnostic tools and therapeutic approaches. The NCCR "SYNAPSY" focuses on the interface between preclinical research and clinical development, combining neuroscience with psychiatry. This research focus will help train a new generation of psychiatrists with both high clinical expertise and a sound knowledge of the basic neurobiological aspects of mental functions and dysfunctions.

Further information on the NCCR:

  • Contact details

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    NCCR Management

    NCCR Director

    Prof. Camilla Bellone
    Director, NCCR SYNAPS
    University of Geneva
    Department of Basic Neurosciences
    Centre Médical Universitaire (CMU)
    Rue Michel-Servet
    CH-1211 Genève
    Phone: +41 (0) 22 379 54 33
    camilla.bellone@unige.chExternal Link Icon


    Prof. Carmen Sandi
    Co-Director, NCCR SYNAPSY
    SV 2810 (Bâtiment SV)
    Station 19
    CH-1015 Lausanne
    Phone: +41 (0) 21 693 95 34
    carmen.sandi@epfl.chExternal Link Icon


    Prof. Philippe Conus
    Co-Director, NCCR SYNAPSY
    Faculté de biologie et médecine Service de psychiatrie générale 
    Site de Cery Route du Mont 
    CH-1008 Prilly
    Phone: +41 (0) 21 643 64 02
    philippe.conus@chuv.chExternal Link Icon

    Management / Coordination

    Dr. Anouchka Pickenhagen Junod
    NCCR Synapsy
    Campus Biotech
    Ch. des Mines 9
    CH-1202 Genève
    Phone: +41 (0) 22 379 11 21
    anouchka.junod@unige.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 SYNAPSY in its third funding period.

    Financing 2010 – 2021 (Swiss francs)

    Funding source




    SNSF grant*




    Funds of EPFL*




    Funds of Geneva University*




    Funds of Lausanne 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 SYNAPSY consists of the following experts:

    Contact person at the SNSF:

    Dr Nathalie Schaller
    NCCR Team
    Swiss National Science Foundation
    Wildhainweg 3
    CH-3001 Berne
    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 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 SYNAPSY:

  • 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 SYNAPSY to promote young researchers and gender equality.