Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator

The epidemiologist, Board member of GESDA, will be starting his second four-year term

[SNF Press release] Matthias Egger, an internationally renowned epidemiologist, became a member of the Research Council in 2010 and was elected as its President for the first time in 2017. He has now been reelected by the Executive Committee of the SNSF Foundation Council for the 2021-2024 term of office. “Matthias Egger is both an outstanding researcher and a very experienced research funder. His active and collaborative leadership style has played an important part in the SNSF’s development over the past few years,” says Jürg Stahl, President of the Foundation Council. “Our multi-year program 2021-2024 also bears his hallmarks. Now he will be able to implement the program over its entire lifespan.” Goals include creating more diversity in research and making its results even more useful to the economy, the political realm and society as a whole.

Fair selection of the best research ideas

For Matthias Egger, professor of epidemiology and public health at the university and, between April and July 2020, lead of the scientific task force advising the Swiss government on the COVID-19 pandemic, the main focus of his work in the Research Council is evaluation quality. “We are continually improving our selection processes based on scientific knowledge. Our aim is to make them even more fair and transparent so that we can guarantee a level playing field for all researchers who apply to us for funding.”

Other priority areas are gender equality in research, open access to research data and publications, and scientific integrity. The COVID-19 pandemic will also continue to be an important topic. The SNSF expedited the special call on coronavirus research and the National Research Program COVID-19; 64 SNSF-funded projects are currently in progress. “And of course the future of scientific collaboration with Europe will be on our minds. This question is of vital importance for research in Switzerland,” says Matthias Egger.

More than 3000 new projects each year

In 2019, the National Research Council evaluated 6900 grant applications, approving 3400 of them. Every year, this 100-strong honorary body decides how to allocate the approximately 1 billion francs available to the SNSF. The Council is supported by further honorary expert bodies and by the Administrative Offices of the SNSF.

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