The NCCR Chemical Biology just completed its sixth year of operation of a maximum of twelve years. Being halfway through our existence is a good time to reflect on what we have accomplished so far and define the challenges that remain for the future.
The results from our last site visit by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), although still only delivered orally, were highly positive. A panel of international scientific experts recognized the progress made over the last two years in all aspects of our mission and confirmed that we are on the right track towards building an internationally recognized center of excellence in chemical biology.
Our initial goal was to create a network of scientists from different disciplines – chemistry, biochemistry, cell biology, and physics – that collaborate with each other to create novel technologies and address important biological questions. This strategy clearly provides part of the added value that is expected from an NCCR. In the last couple of years, we have some very good examples of this exchange and how increased communication can guide us to find solutions. These collaborations are not just scientists from each discipline doing their part, but a deeper exchange that leads to a high educational and training benefit.
NCCRs are funded through three 4-year periods and when we entered into our second phase, we decided to concentrate our efforts on five projects and our main technology platform, ACCESS. As you will read in this newsletter with the interview of our project leaders or investigators, all our projects are progressing very well.
Next year, we will submit a pre-proposal for the final 3rd phase of the NCCR, including a plan to sustain our progress, improve our visibility and innovation. Furthermore, we will develop a long-term vision of how our efforts will be maintained when we will no longer receive funding from the SNSF. These challenges will be met by our leadership, including our project leaders, our new co-Director, Christian Heinis, and the new steering committee.
Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season!