Excellence of research


Due to its high level standards in research and its many disciplines, the UNIGE is ranked among the best three generalist French-speaker universities and among the 150 best universities in 20’000 worldwide universities. Research projects cover more than one hundred topics, from exact sciences, natural and medical sciences to social sciences and humanities. Every year this leads to fruitful results such as 3'300 publications.

As a result of its history and its strategic choices, the UNIGE made possible a diversity of research areas to emerge in which the institution excels. Therefore, the UNIGE research strengths are life sciences (genetics, molecular and chemical biology, bioinformatics), physics and chemistry, astrophysics and also some specific fields in social sciences and humanities.

At a national level, the UNIGE is one of the Swiss leaders for hosting National Centres of Competence in Research (NCCR). Main instrument of the Swiss National Science Foundation, these NCCRs foster scientific networks at an international level of excellence from fundamental research to application. Each NCCR is under the directorship of a research institution (Leading house) which allows research groups based at the home institution to network with other teams working throughout Switzerland. Since 2001, 8 NCCRs have been hosted by the UNIGE as leading or co-leading house: "Frontiers in Genetics", "MaNEP", "Affective Sciences", "Chemical Biology", "LIVES – Overcoming vulnerability", "The synaptic bases of mental disease", "SwissMAP - The Mathematics of Physics" and "PlanetS".

Open to the world the UNIGE leads research projects in collaboration with almost 100 countries. At a European level the UNIGE actively participates in many European research programmes, particularly to the 7th Framework Programme of Research and Development with 19 projects coordinated by the UNIGE and more than 250 participations to projects in all scientific disciplines. The UNIGE is also involved in more than 50 networks and research projects COST and is one of the first swiss institution of higher education regarding the number of participations to the SCOPES program.

This scientific excellence and global outreach are related to our talented researchers. We have no less than 3950 researchers (including 595 professors) of 113 nationalities who work in 8 different faculties. Their scientific performance is also expressed by the number and the amount of subsidies obtained on a very competitive basis from the Swiss National Science Foundation and the European Commission. The UNIGE is one of the best swiss institution of higher education for the allocation of these funding.

UNIGE researchers are granted numerous prizes and distinctions each year. These last few years, 31 researchers from UNIGE were granted a European Research Council Grant, which is a prestigious grant given to top researchers. Recently three professors from UNIGE received very high distinctions. Professor Stanislav Smirnov was granted the Fields Medal which is considered as the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in mathematics, Professor Michel Mayor obtained the Vicktor Ambartsumian International Prize, one of the most important distinctions in the field of astrophysics, and Professor  Antoine Bailly received the Vautrin Lud International Geography Prize, the highest award that can be gained in the field of geography. These performances show the ability of UNIGE to attract talented researchers.

Due to the high level of the research, many Swiss and international companies are keen to collaborate with UNIGE researchers (see Technology Transfer Office).