Didier Queloz steps back from joining the Foundation Council

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The new SNSF Foundation Council has decided that its members may not apply for a management position at an NCCR. For this reason, Didier Queloz, professor at ETH Zurich, is stepping back from joining the Council.

At the end of 2023, Didier Queloz, Nobel Laureate and professor at ETH Zurich and the University of Cambridge, was elected as a member of the new SNSF Foundation Council, which took up its work in January 2024. During the election process in the second half of 2023, it was still unclear – due to the ongoing organisational reform of the SNSF – whether future members of the Foundation Council would be able to apply for funding and, if so, for which funding schemes. As a result, the information given to those who stepped up to serve on the Council was not always clear, which the SNSF very much regrets.

The new Foundation Council has now decided that the exercise of management functions in a National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) is not compatible with membership of the Foundation Council. The Foundation Council is the SNSF's primary strategic management and supervisory body. Although it is not involved in the evaluation of researchers’ applications or in the allocation of funding for NCCRs, it is determined to avoid any perception of a conflict of interests.

In these circumstances, Didier Queloz has decided by agreement with the SNSF not to accept his election and to relinquish his seat on the Foundation Council. He is therefore free to stand as a candidate for leadership of an NCCR. The NCCRs promote long-term research projects on topics of strategic importance for Switzerland. In November 2023, the SNSF launched a call for a new series of NCCRs.

The SNSF regrets Didier Queloz's decision, understandable as it is, and wishes him every success in his research.