Life Sciences: Rare Diseases, New Approaches
2009 – 2014

The research programme «Rare Diseases – New Approaches» started in 2009 and invests CHF 2 mio. p.a. There is a yearly call open to researchers at Swiss universities, university hospitals, federal institutes of technology, research institutions affiliated with Swiss universities and universities of applied sciences. Calls are launched in early spring, application deadline is in summer, decisions are taken in autumn.

The 2014 call is the sixth and last call of the programme.

The Programme

Objectives of the programme

The goal of the current initiative «Rare Diseases – New Approaches» is to improve the diagnosis and treatment of rare genetic diseases.
The programme is aimed at bridging the worlds of basic and clinical research: projects with new approaches or technologies will be supported that focus on a clinical or diagnostic application. The project results should lead to a better understanding of the genetic, molecular and biochemical processes underlying these diseases and pave the way towards new diagnostics and new forms of treatment. The ideal project scenario would show concrete compounds and diagnostic tests from which patients suffering from a rare disease could benefit.
The focus must be on innovation, feasibility and effectiveness, while attaining high scientific and technological standards. The call is directed at researchers developing and implementing innovative approaches or technologies to address currently unresolved needs.

Support Criteria

  • The grants are awarded to projects that develop and/or implement novel approaches or technologies for the diagnosis, characterisation and/or treatment of rare genetic diseases.
  • To qualify for support, the project must be rooted at a Swiss university, university hospital, federal institute of technology, at research institutions affiliated with Swiss universites or at a university of applied sciences or at a research institution affiliated with Swiss universities.
  • Support is not restricted to already existing research groups but also to new groups.
  • The programme finances the costs of salaries, consumables and equipment; infrastructure costs must be covered by the host institution.
  • Preference is given to clearly defined projects with a maximum budget of CHF 500’000 for a period not exceeding three years.
  • The project may also be concurrently supported from other sources (e.g. Swiss Confederation, cantons, foundations, industry), however, the programme is not going to support gap financing.
  • Projects must comply with the regulations commonly in force in the research sector and have the necessary authorizations.

Project Evaluation and Monitoring

  • The projects are evaluated by the Advisory Board of the programme.
  • The Foundation’s decision is communicated in early November.
  • Managers of the successful projects are invited to negotiate contracts with Gebert Rüf Stiftung, which will define the deliverables and reporting requirements.
  • All copyrights, patent rights and rights of use remain with the project management.

Advisory Board

  • Prof. Dr. Rudolf Marty, Gebert Rüf Stiftung, Chairman of the Board of Trustees
  • Prof. Dr. Susan Gasser, Friedrich Miescher Institute, Gebert Rüf Stiftung, Member of the Board of Trustees
  • Prof. Dr. Josef Jiricny, University of Zurich
  • Prof. Dr. Denis Monard, Swiss Academy of Sciences
  • Prof. Dr. Marc Schapira, University of Geneva
  • Prof. Dr. Jürg Schifferli, University of Basel, Gebert Rüf Stiftung, Member of the Board of Trustees
  • Prof. Dr. Mehdi Tafti, University of Lausanne

Programme Management

The winners of the calls 2009 – 2014

Call 2014: 5 finalists out of 67 submissions

Call 2013: 5 finalists out of 73 submissions

Call 2012: 5 finalists out of 54 submissions

Call 2011: 6 finalists out of 32 submissions

Call 2010: 5 finalists out of 48 submissions

Call 2009: 5 finalists out of 58 submissions

RE(ACT) Congress 2014

International Congress on Research of Rare and Orphan Diseases, 5th to 8th March 2014, Basel. Initiated by BLACKSWAN Foundation and Gebert Rüf Stiftung.
congress website & registration
RE(ACT) Poster and Flyer

Seltene Krankheiten sind unterschätzt

22.03.2011 – Die Gebert Rüf Stiftung im Interview auf Radio DRS 2 zu Ihrem Programm «Rare Diseases – New Approaches»
Radiosendung «Kontext»

Picture Credits Header

Christoph Läser Photograph AG Basel