National Centres of Competence in Research (NCCR) are established by the Swiss federal government. They aim to encourage research in areas that are considered to be of national importance and are mainly financed by federal subsidies: they receive between 5 and 20 million Swiss Francs each for a period of four to five years.
The NCCRs are geared towards problem-solving and for this reason their approach is cross-and inter-disciplinary. They co-ordinate individual projects and research groups working on the same theme.
Eight new national research centres have been launched across the country in the period 2010-2013. One of them, an NCCR named “Synaptic Bases of Mental Diseases” - concerns the Lake Leman area, its technical institutes (hautes écoles), the EPFL, the Universities of Genève and Lausanne and the two university hospitals of the region, the CHUV in Lausanne and the HUG in Geneva.
To this day we do not fully comprehend the mechanisms responsible for mental health problems such as depression and schizophrenia. One of the main objectives of this project is to study the cellular and molecular bases that contribute to the onset of mental illness. The results should allow us to better understand these illnesses and to improve their future diagnosis and treatment.
NCCR Synapsy ensures the collaboration of neuroscience and psychiatry researchers in the Lake Leman region through common projects that rely on cutting-edge technological platforms in neuroimaging, genetics and behavioural analysis. It brings together over 100 researchers and clinicians. More than 30 projects will be carried out until 2014 with a total budget of around 43 million Swiss Francs. The co-ordinators for these projects are Professor Pierre Magistretti in Lausanne and Professor Dominique Muller in Geneva.
The role of emotions in our lives is generating more and more interest, not only within the scientific community, but also in the economic and political spheres. Today, numerous disciplines study the affects and emotions that influence behaviour and decision-making.
NCCR Affective Sciences researchers deal with the following questions:
The NCCR Affective Sciences centre is among the first in the world dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of emotions and their effects on human behaviour and society. It consists of a network of ten research groups, comprising around a hundred researchers from four Swiss universities (Bern, Neuchatel, Geneva and Zurich).
The University of Geneva Interfaculty Center for Affective Sciences (ICAS), directed by psychologist Klaus Scherer, is this NCCR’s host institution.