Exploring New Avenues in Research Funding
Many pioneering scientific breakthroughs succeeded not because strict targets had to be met, but thanks to the pioneering spirit of people who gave free rein to their creativity. But there is little room for the unconventional in research funding these days. This is why Novartis
promotes offbeat project proposals with its FreeNovation program. It calls on researchers in Switzerland to submit proposals that are hard to fund by conventional programs. This kind of research funding by the private sector is unique in the field of life sciences in Switzerland. With this program, Novartis wants to encourage unconventional thinking and enhance the attractiveness of Switzerland as a research location.
An opportunity for people and ideas
Researchers with a doctorate or equivalent record of achievement who are working at a Swiss university are eligible to apply. The projects will be selected by a top-class jury under the leadership of Prof. Gerd Folkers, ETH Zürich, President of the Novartis Research Foundation. To ensure that both unusual ideas as well as younger scientists have a place in this funding program, the selection process will be anonymized: What counts is the originality of the research approach and its potential to achieve something new. Ideas that involve interdisciplinary research often have a higher chance of funding. Results from preliminary studies are not a prerequisite. Whether the project hypotheses can be confirmed as planned is open: Risk-taking is encouraged.
The results of the funded projects are to be published and made available to the public without patent protection. FreeNovation is all about exploring new avenues and venturing into new dimensions.
For the 2020 call for proposals, the Novartis Research Foundation is making available up to a total of CHF 2.7 million for a maximum of 15 projects. Each project can be funded with up to CHF 180,000. This will allow the researchers to pursue their objectives over a period of 18