National Centres of Competence in Research

The National Centres of Competence in Research (NCCRs) are an innovative funding instrument provided by the Swiss National Science Foundation. The program supports long-term research projects in areas that are of strategic importance to the future of science, the economy and society in Switzerland. Funding is awarded to research projects of outstanding quality which have a special emphasis on both interdisciplinary and new innovative approaches within disciplines. A NCCR has a maximum running time of twelve years.
As of 2014, two new NCCRs will be led by the University of Geneva: SwissMAP in collaboration with ETH Zurich (co-leading house) and PlanetS in collaboration with the University of Bern (leading house). The University of Geneva already leads four NCCRs, two of them as the main leading house and two in collaboration with EPFL and Lausanne University. In addition the UNIGE led the NCCRs Frontiers in Genetics and MaNEP from 2001 to 2013.


The Mathematics of Physics
SwissMAP is a multidisciplinary project at the crossroad of mathematics and theoretical physics which aims to encourage the interactions between both fields, to provide a mathematical framework for modern physics theories and to exploit physics intuition in mathematical research. The goal of this NCCR is to create a "Swiss Institute for Advanced Research in Mathematics and Physics" (SwissMAP), a center for focused research on the most relevant topics in quantum mathematics and physics, attracting world leaders in the area.
Web site  
Director : Stanislas Smirnov
Co-director : Giovanni Felder (EPF Zurich)
The origin, evolution and characterisation of planets inside and outside the solar system
Recent progress in planetology underline the shift from an era marked by the discovery of exoplanets, initiated by the University of Geneva in 1995, to an era of physical and chemical caracterization of those new worlds. In this context, PlanetS will develop its activities around three main themes : the origin of planets and planetary systems, their evolution and their characterization. PlanetS will lay the foundations of a "Swiss Institute of Planetary Sciences" (SIPS) that will carry on these activities beyond the lifetime of the NCCR.
Web site 
Director : Willy Benz (University of Bern)
Co-director : Stéphane Udry


On-going NCCR


Affectives Sciences
Emotions in Individual Behaviour and Social Processes
This NCCR is one of the world’s first interdisciplinary research networks to examine emotions in a comprehensive manner. Psychologists, neuroscientists, philosophers, economists, lawyers and anthropologists work together on research on the psychological, biological and social mechanisms that generate and control emotions.
Web site
Director: David Sander
Chemical Biology
Visualisation and Control of Biological Processes Using Chemistry
This NCCR uses chemistry tools to obtain a better understanding of life at the molecular level. The NCCR is also engaged in establishing a platform for chemical screening aimed at developing a new generation of molecules with biological effects.
Web site
Director:Howard Riezman
Co-director: Kai Johnsson(EPFL)
Overcoming Vulnerability: Life Course Perspectives
The researchers conduct comparative, longitudinal analysis to examine the impact of socio-structural and personal resources on overcoming vulnerability. Life trajectories of about 25’000 people will be studied across health, family, work, and institutional domains.
Web Site
Director : Dario Spini(UNIL)
Co-director: Michel Oris
Synaptic Bases of Mental Disease
Bringing together brain research and psychiatry
This NCCR aims at discovering 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. This research focus will help train a new generation of psychiatrists.
Web Site
Director: Pierre Magistretti (EPFL/UNIL)
Co-director: Dominique Muller

Completed NCCR


Frontiers in Genetics
The University of Geneva led this NCCR from 2001 to June 2013. The scientific achievements of this NCCR are outstanding. Frontiers in Genetics allowed the creation of five state-of-the art platforms and of a graduate school. The new Institute of Genetics and Genomics in Geneva (iGe3) will take over the activities of the NCCR. This institute brings together members of the School of Sciences, Medicine and the University Hospital (about 60 groups). The aim of IGe3 is to promote research and education in the fields of genetics and genomics.
MaNEP - Materials with Novel Electronic Properties
UNIGE was the leading house of MaNEP from 2001 to June 2013. This NCCR has been a scientific success counting over 3’100 published articles and nearly 9’000 citations in 2012. MaNEP led a significant effort towards applications and its collaborations with industry have increased from two at the beginning to a total of twenty eight over the twelve years. The NCCR has had an extremely positive impact in reshaping the Swiss landscape in quantum electronic materials. The network counting over 250 high-level scientists established during MaNEP is to be maintained and developed through the Association MaNEP Switzerland formed in late June 2013. MaNEP also remarkably bolstered condensed matter physics in Geneva, with an impact beyond the core topic of MaNEP, resulting in significant reinforcement of physics, astronomy and mathematics at UNIGE.