BRIDGE Discovery: From data recovery to novel anti-infective compounds

For the sixth time, the SNSF and Innosuisse are jointly funding outstanding projects that show high economic and societal potential.

69 project proposals were evaluated in the BRIDGE Discovery call 2022. Experts in applied research and research implementation assessed them in a two-stage selection process. Of the consortiums that applied, 24 received an invitation to present their project and take part in an interview. Based on the evaluation, the SNSF and Innosuisse are now funding 16 outstanding projects with an overall budget of 17.9 million francs. This corresponds to a success rate of 23%.

Wide range of disciplines and consortiums

For the second time running, the BRIDGE Discovery call was open to all types of innovation. In addition to technology projects, applicants submitted 7 projects with strong links to social innovation, humanities or social sciences; as in 2021, this corresponds to about 10% of all submissions. Of these projects, one was approved. Moreover, 65% of the projects were jointly submitted by 2 or 3 co-applicants from different research institutes. The diverse composition of consortiums underlines the importance of inter- and transdisciplinary collaboration for BRIDGE Discovery.

Recovering data from degraded magnetic tapes

Among the funded projects is that of Sebastian Gliga (Paul Scherrer Institute), which proposes a cutting-edge technique to meet a major societal and cultural need. A significant fraction of 20th century audio-visual heritage is stored on magnetic tapes and is therefore subject to deterioration over time. The project aims at preventing the permanent loss of this cultural heritage: using synchrotron X-rays, fragile and/or damaged magnetic tapes are read out in a contactless, non-destructive way, which allows the recovery of analogue and digital information.

Best practices for high-quality medical expertise

The project by Szilvia Altwicker-Hamori (Zurich University of Applied Sciences ZHAW) and Tilmann Altwicker (University of Zurich) focuses on polydisciplinary medical expert reports (PMERs), which are used for the assessment of health impairment before a person can claim benefits provided under the disability insurance scheme in Switzerland. The consortium’s objective is to provide a transdisciplinary framework for the analysis, evaluation and safeguarding of the quality of PMERs. These frameworks could be implemented in a judicial or medical context to achieve higher procedural efficiency and save costs by reducing the likelihood of inconclusive, rejected and unused PMERs.

Identification of novel anti‐infective compounds

Jean‐Luc Wolfender (University of Geneva), Sylvain Schnée (Agroscope) and Thilo Köhler (University of Geneva) are examining a large collection of biodiverse microorganisms that have great potential as antibiotic producers. With the help of a novel biochemical platform, the researchers aim to identify new lead compounds with anti‐infective properties for further drug development in collaboration with a pharmaceutical company.

2023 call open

The call for BRIDGE Discovery 2023 was launched in January for researchers from all disciplines. Researchers can submit a letter of intent until 27 February 2023, and a project proposal by 2 May 2023. The letter of intent is a precondition for submitting a proposal.