SPHN: Continuity despite change in DCC leadership

After 5 years as Director of the SPHN Data Coordination Center (DCC) and Group Leader of the SIB Personalized Health Informatics Group, Katrin Crameri will join the Swiss Confederation to take up a new position from 1 June 2024. Among other things, she will co-lead the DigiSanté program to promote the digital transformation in the healthcare sector. Thomas Geiger, Managing Director of SPHN, will assume ad interim the responsibility for the DCC’s activities.

In her new position, Katrin Crameri is also taking on a bridging role: there are many overlaps and potential synergies between the SPHN-DCC and DigiSanté, and relations with the FOPH's Digital Transformation department can be further strengthened. Thanks to Thomas Geiger, Managing Director of SPHN since 2021, continuity has also been ensured within SPHN. His comprehensive knowledge and his good relations with the DCC team and network partners will ensure a smooth transition. More information can be found on the SPHN website.

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SPHN and PHRT invite for the «Data for Health» symposium

The Swiss Personalized Health Network (SPHN) and ETH-Domain Personalized Health and Related Technologies (PHRT) initiatives jointly organize the «Data for Health» symposium. The all-day event will take place on 31 October 2024 in Bern and aims to present the results of the two initiatives and to shape a vision of the future data ecosystem for Swiss health research. Registration is now open.

Over the past eight years, the collaborative efforts of SPHN and PHRT have laid important groundwork for advancing personalized health research and care in Switzerland. The symposium will not only look back, but also forward. Special emphasis will be given to the interfaces with the DigiSanté program and the National Strategy for Open Research Data. Participants can look forward to keynotes by well-known personalities, including Prof. Martina Hirayama, State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation. More information is available on the SPHN website.

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Call: National Prize for Open Research Data

For the second time, the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences are launching the National Prize for Open Research Data (ORD Prize). This is part of the «Open Research Data» action plan implemented by the Academies as part of the National Strategy. The Prize rewards researchers for innovative practices in the field of ORD and aims to promote the transition to open research practices.

Open research data promotes transparency, reproducibility and collaboration within the scientific community, and enables society to benefit from scientific knowledge. Further information on the ORD Prize, the conditions for participation and the application form can be found on the Academies’ website. The call is open until 31 July 2024.

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Essential investment in education, research and innovation

At the beginning of March, the Federal Council submitted the Dispatch on Education, Research and Innovation for 2025–2028 (ERI Dispatch) to Parliament. It sets out the objectives and funding for institutions promoting research and innovation. For the first time since the 1990s, the resources allocated are lower than in the previous year. This will also affect the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences (a+), which face cuts of CHF 6.8 million a year.

At a media conference held yesterday, a+, together with its ERI partners, explained how this declining investment policy could jeopardise the development of Switzerland as a scientific hub. The Academies, including the SAMS, are facing a deficit of more than CHF 27 million for the years 2025–2028. Furthermore, they will have to finance additional projects as part of their core mandate, despite the fact that the 2024 budget has already been reduced. Further information can be found on the a+ website.

Further information



Symposium «Governing by Values»: Medical-ethical guidelines in transition

The medical-ethical guidelines of the SAMS are at the crossroads of medicine, ethics, law and health policy. Together with the University of Bern, the Academy is organizing a symposium on the significance, legitimacy and further development of the guidelines. Join the discussion on Tuesday, September 3 2024, at the Eventforum Bern. Participation is free, but registration is required.

Who should be and who is permitted to develop medical-ethical guidelines in Switzerland? How effective and binding are they? These questions will be addressed at the symposium. The starting point is the University's SNSF project «Governing by Values», which examined the history of the SAMS guidelines from a historical and legal perspective. In addition to the project research findings, the current relevance and utility of the guidelines are reflected. The symposium aims to contribute to a transparent and practice-oriented further development. The event is in French and German.

Program, French version (PDF)




Swiss Personalized Health Network: Short Report 2023

The Swiss Personalized Health Network (SPHN) coordinates the development of an infrastructure for the responsible and efficient reuse of health-related data throughout Switzerland. The Short Report 2023 provides an overview of the various SPHN activities over the past year and the progress made.

In 2023, the SPHN National Steering Board published its report on the continuation of the SPHN infrastructures from 2025 onwards. The ERI Dispatch 2025–2028 includes the consolidation of the SPHN-DCC as a national coordination and competence center in the area of health data. How this can be successfully operationalized in a financially challenging environment has been a key concern over the past year and will remain so in the current year. More information and other SPHN publications are available on our project page.

SPHN Short Report 2023 (PDF)

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Young Talents in Clinical Research: Call 2024

With the Young Talents in Clinical Research program, the Gottfried and Julia Bangerter-Rhyner Foundation and the SAMS wish to encourage young medical doctors to start out in clinical research. For 2024, CHF 1 million is made available to finance protected research time and project grants for a consecutive research project. The submission deadline is 30 June 2024.

The YTCR program comprises two funding instruments: beginner grants and project grants. Its target audience are residents who wish to be freed from clinical duty to gain a first experience in clinical research. Applications must be written in English and registered online. More information on the participation criteria, submission and evaluation procedure can be found in the program regulations, on our website, and in the FAQ.

Download the regulations (PDF)

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The SAMS Annual Report 2023 is online

The year 2023 was perfectly aligned with the SAMS motto «For science, for medicine, for society». Work continued on a number of projects, and collaborations were strengthened or partly reoriented. There was also cause for celebration: 80 years of SAMS – cheers!

The retrospective remains the centrepiece of our online annual report. It provides a quick overview of the work carried out over the reporting year. The boxes in the colours of our subdivisions illustrate the variety of our activities and testify to our diverse commitment to science, medicine and society. Scroll through the multicoloured year 2023 and find again familiar milestones or discover new ones. A PDF of the report is also available if you prefer to print rather than scroll.

Download the report, in French (PDF)

Further information



The potential and limits of artificial intelligence in medicine

Artificial intelligence (AI) is on everyone’s lips these days. The dazzling progress made by this technology explains this craze, with ChatGPT as its main ambassador. But what is the potential of AI in medicine? The lead article in the SAMS Bulletin 1/2024, written by Prof. Andreas Wicki of the University of Zurich, offers some answers for the author’s speciality, oncology.

The processing of data in certain areas of medicine is such an immense task that it cannot be carried out by human beings, and AI must be used for this purpose. In his contribution, Andreas Wicki looks in particular at the benefits of AI applications in tumour boards in the search for the right treatment recommendation. Further, SPHN’s article is dedicated to the topic of AI, and as always, you will also find news in the fields of ethics, promotion and projects.

SAMS Bulletin, French version (PDF)

Other publications



SPHN: Bottlenecks to health data sharing

The Swiss Personalized Health Network (SPHN) has laid important foundations to enable and promote the responsible use of health data in research. The sharing of health data however faces repeatedly hurdles and bottlenecks. A recently published study now provides new insights.

In addition to the technical aspects, the study also sheds light on the legal and ethical challenges that arise when sharing sensitive health data. It concludes that facilitating data access and exchange in Switzerland primarily requires further legal clarification, training and investments in sustainable infrastructures. You can download the Swiss Medical Weekly article here.

Read the article (PDF)

Further information



Call for proposals: KZS Seed Grants for junior researchers in biomedical ethics

This year the SAMS provides a total of CHF 250’000 from the Käthe-Zingg-Schwichtenberg (KZS) Fund to support junior researchers in biomedical ethics who wish to carry out an independent research project. The submission deadline is 1 May 2024.

Per Seed Grant, up to CHF 80’000 can be awarded for a maximum period of 18 months. The contributions allow grantees to explore an innovative research idea, to realize a small, independent pilot project, and/or to prepare their own project proposal to be submitted to a larger funding agency. Visit our website for more information on the participation requirements and submission procedure.

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Advance Care Planning: logo, annual report and new subprojects

The project has been given a logo so that Advance Care Planning (ACP) is not only addressed in theory, but also anchored in people's minds. It stands for the common goal of the national working group to further establish ACP in Switzerland and make it part of everyday life. In addition, subprojects are ongoing to take the recommendations of the roadmap published in 2023 one step further.

One current focus is on ACP for people living in retirement and nursing homes. A national survey will be conducted to determine the current status of ACP in nursing homes. Based on the results, practical solutions will be developed to improve ACP in this setting. Information on other activities and projects of the ACP Working Group can be found in the 2023 Annual Report (available in German and French).

Download the annual report (in French) (PDF)

Further information



SPHN in the spotlight of the «health terminal» podcast #29

The «health terminal» podcast gets to the heart of topics relating to the digitalisation of the Swiss healthcare system. Episode 29 focuses on the Swiss Personalized Health Network (SPHN). Find out in the double interview why it is such a major challenge to make health data available and usable for research.

Thomas Geiger, Managing Director of SPHN, and Katrin Crameri, Director of the SPHN Data Coordination Center, explain what SPHN has achieved so far – and what still needs to be done. Further, they discuss why in Switzerland it is sometimes difficult to establish sustainable research infrastructures of national importance, and to find a supporting alliances and long-term funding. Visit the website to listen to the interview (in German).

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The recommendations for health-related registries have been updated

Health-related registers are a key component of quality assurance and development in the health system. They contribute to the transparency and comparability of medical services, form the basis for clinical and epidemiological research and provide important data for health policy. The 2019 registry recommendations have been updated.

The editing organisations, among them the SAMS, have updated the «Recommendations for the development and operation of health-related registries» to take account of the introduction of the new federal legislation on data protection on 1 September 2023. You will find the new version (2.1) of the recommendations and the checklist on the ANQ website.

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Stern-Gattiker Prize 2024 for female role models in academic medicine

For the fourth time, the SAMS is launching a call for nominations for the Stern-Gattiker Prize to acknowledge the role of women in academic medicine and to motivate early-career female scientists. The Prize carries an award of CHF 15,000, the deadline for submission is 21 March 2024.

With the Stern-Gattiker Prize, the SAMS rewards every two years a female medical scientist who has obtained her postdoctoral qualification within the past ten years, holds a permanent position in a hospital, and who, in her own way, is considered as a role model. The proximity to the next generation of doctors and the commitment to gender equality are a plus. Detailed information on the nomination process and the synopsis all previous prizes winners can be found on our website.

Download the synopsis (PDF)

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Become a member of the Swiss Young Academy

The Swiss Young Academy (SYA) brings together young researchers from a wide range of scientific disciplines. It creates an inspiring environment for inter- and transdisciplinary exchange. The current call for applications, with submission deadline on 29 February 2024, offers the opportunity to apply for a five-year membership.

The Swiss Young Academy consists of 25 to 30 members from different scientific disciplines and universities. They are regarded as the young voice of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences and can raise concerns relevant to the next generation of researchers. Are you interested in becoming actively involved in the largest scientific network in Switzerland? New members with a background in medical sciences are welcome to apply. Please visit the JAS website for more information on the requirements and application procedure.

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Health data: call for project outlines

TA-SWISS, the Foundation for Technology Assessment and member of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences, is launching an interdisciplinary study on health data. The aim is to assess the opportunities and risks of using data for early detection, prevention and research. Project outlines can be submitted until 28 March 2024.

The call for proposals is organized in a two-stage process. The first stage involves submitting a project outline describing the planned content of the study and the envisaged procedure. Further information can be found on the TA-SWISS website and in the call documentation (French or German).

Documentation, French version (PDF)

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Interview with the new President of a+

As of this year, the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences (a+) have a new President: Yves Flückiger will succeed Marcel Tanner, who is handing over the reins after more than three years. In an interview published in the latest issue of the research magazine «Horizons», Flückiger says: «My main objective will be to strengthen the climate of trust between science and society.»

In this interview, the current Rector of the University of Geneva talks about the state of science in Switzerland, relations with Europe and working conditions at universities. Read more on pages 34 and 35 of the research magazine «Horizons» no. 139.

Download the interview (PDF)

Further information


lic. phil. Franziska Egli
Tel. +41 31 306 92 74