Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences

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Research magazine Horizons


19.11.2014  | Ethics

Study “Physicians’ attitudes to assisted suicide” published

In a study carried out on behalf of the SAMS, the attitudes of the Swiss medical profession to physician-assisted suicide have been investigated for the first time. Three-quarters of the physicians who took part in the study consider assisted suicide to be acceptable in principle.

Somewhat less than half of the respondents can imagine situations where they would personally be prepared to perform it. Over a quarter tolerate physician-assisted suicide but would not participate themselves.
The study involved a random sample of Swiss physicians. However, given the response rate, the results cannot be generalized to the medical profession as a whole; rather, they may reflect the views of physicians with a particular interest in this issue.

Study “Physicians’ attitudes to assisted suicide” PDF (only available in German)

SAMS study “Physicians’ attitudes to assisted suicide”: Summary of results and response of the Central Ethics Committee PDF

Media release PDF

18.08.2014  | Position paper

Promoting open access to research results

The Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences (SAMS) advocates close links between clinical practice and medical science and dialogue with society.

Accordingly, it supports the implementation of open access. The SAMS takes the view that open access to research results is the best way of ensuring and improving the availability of information for researchers, healthcare professionals, patients and the general public. In view of the latest global developments in open access described in this position paper, the SAMS calls on publishers and scientific actors to facilitate and expedite the transition to open access, in order to maximize the benefits of medical research for society.

A German and a French version of the publication can be ordered at the SAMS; PDFs (in all three languages) can be downloaded under


An appeal for an open European higher education area

Students, researchers and scientists are kindly invited to sign an online petition that is supported by the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences.

Switzerland’s affiliation with the European higher education area is threatened in consequence of the yes-vote on the federal popular initiative «mass immigration» from 9 February 2014. In its initial reaction, the European Commission has excluded Switzerland from the 8th EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 and from the student exchange programme Erasmus+. The signers of this appeal call upon decision-makers in Europe and Switzerland to enable Switzerland’s participation in these important programmes, and voice their commitment to an open European and international higher education area.

Webpage with the online petition:


Immigration policy: manifesto open science location Switzerland

Switzerland's openness towards the world is decisive for many aspects of the country's development, but it is particularly important for intellectual and academic life, for research and innovation.

The forthcoming votes on the immigration policy will undoubtedly be perceived as test for this openness. Against this background, the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences, together with the other scentific and academic actors, affirm the necessity for a free exchange of knowledge and people with the surrounding countries. With this in mind, these actors have published a manifesto available at:

Manifesto for an open education and research location Switzerland (pdf: German; French)

13.03.2013  | Report of the Swiss Medical Board

Transferability of a HTA-Report prepared by IQWiG into Swiss context – an analysis based on the examble of the use of Ezetimib for the treatment of hypercholesterolaemia

The Swiss Medical Board aimed to present the style of work and methodology of the The German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) in comparison to their own work with regards to possible synergy effects. 

The report points out that the reports by the IQWiG can be used as a basis for the preparation of the «Medical Effects» section in the reports by the Swiss Medical Board, when certain preconditions are fulfilled. The section on costs, cost effectiveness, ethical and legal considerations, and the overall assessment and recommendations require additional attention.

Media release of the Swiss Medical Board (in German) PDF

Summary of the report (in English) PDF

Report (in German) PDF

Website of the Swiss Medical Board

5.03.2013  | Newsletter

SAMS Bulletin 1/2013 published

New and sustainable structures for academic medicine in Switzerland

The SAMS Bulletin is available in German and French

17.07.2012  | Research promotion

The SAMS calls for entries in the field of Neurosciences and Health Services Research

Call for Entries: Théodore-Ott- and Robert-Bing-Prize 2012 in Neurosciences and Health Services Research funding programme

The Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences announces the Théodore-Ott-Prize 2012 in the field of Neurosciences (award for an outstanding scientific life's work) and the Robert-Bing-Prize 2012 to reward young researchers in the field of Neuosciences. Deadline for application submission is August 31, 2012.

In addition, the second call for the new funding programme in Health Services Research is launched. Deadline for submission is September 1, 2012. New: the requests must be submitted to the SAMS (electronically to

Further information is available on the individual websites that can be entered via

29.03.2012  | Publication of the swiss-academies

Benefits and value of medical interventions

«Methods of assessing the benefits and value of medical interventions»: This study was done on behalf of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences by PD Dr Matthias Schwenkglenk and Dr Florian Gutzwiller from the Institute of Pharmaceutical Medicine at the University of Basel.

The study describes the methods for evaluating medical interventions and their application in different countries along with their advantages and disadvantages. It summarises the possible value of such methods for application in Switzerland. The study was presented on 29 March 2012 during a public conference in Berne.

Further information and download of the study

14.03.2012  | Position paper of the Central Ethical Committee

Problems with physician-assisted suicide

In single cases, there have been unacceptable realisations of physician-assisted suicide. A global societal discussion on assisted suicide is indispensable.

29.02.2012  | Press release

Physicians are allowed to refuse attending deportations

Position paper of the SAMS: Under circumstances in which medical treatment or diagnosis is impaired, physicians are obliged to refuse providing medical attendance during deportations.

Press release (in German) PDF

Position paper (in German) PDF

1.12.2011  | Press release

«Health Services Research» funding programme launched by the Bangerter-Stiftung and the SAMS

The Gottfried and Julia Bangerter-Rhyner-Stiftung (Bangerter-Stiftung) and the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences (SAMS) are jointly launching a «Health Services Research» funding programme.

Health services research seeks to bridge the gap between biomedical/clinical research on the one hand and medical interventions performed under everyday conditions on the other; the subject of this field of research is, as it were, the «last mile» to the patient. Health services research is becoming increasingly important at the international level. With the aid of this funding programme, the Bangerter-Stiftung and the SAMS hope that health services research will also become more widely established in Switzerland.

To this end, the Bangerter-Stiftung is making available around CHF 1 million per year for the period 2012–2016.

Media release PDF

Further information on the programme

8.11.2011  | Publication

Genetics in daily medical practice: new edition of the manual for general practice

The SAMS published a new edition of the manual «Genetics in daily medical practice»

The manual is available in German and French.


Change of Management at the Swiss Clinical Trial Organisation (SCTO)

In 2009, the «Swiss Clinical Trial Organisation» was founded on the initiative of the Swiss National Science Foundation and the SAMS.

The SCTO is the umbrella organisation of clinical research in Switzerland. The first Managing Director of the SCTO, Dr Claudia Weiss, has resigned her post by the end of October 2011 in order to take up new career challenges.

As her successor, the SCTO Steering Board has appointed pharmacist and experienced leadership personality Mrs Annette Magnin. Holding a leading role within a contract research organisation over many years, Mrs Magnin has gained profound knowledge of operative clinical research and training of clinical professionals. Besides, she is active in various functional and political committees. Mrs Annette Magnin is married and mother of a 11 year old daughter. She is expected to start in her new role by February 1st, 2012. In the meantime, Dr Katrin Crameri, Head of Department Science and Research at the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences (SAMS), is taking over the executive duties of the SCTO.

Further information concerning the SCTO is available under


Pre-implementation Genetic Diagnosis: The Academies consider the law draft a step in the right direction

The swiss-academies welcome the repeal of the ban on Pre-implementation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD), which the amendment of the Reproductive Medicine Act, presented in June 2011, foresees.

There are considerable improvements identifiable versus the first draft in 2009. Moreover, the proposed amendment of Article 119 of the Federal Constitution is significant; the relevant framework conditions to implement PGD in Switzerland are thereby accomplished.

Press release (in German) PDF
Position statement (in German) PDF

6.06.2011  | Press release

New «Advance directive» of the FMH and the SAMS

The «FMH/SAMS advance directive» is issued jointly by the Swiss Medical Association (FMH) and the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences (SAMS).

Further information

The press release is available in German or French.

1.07.2011  | Press release

Prof. Peter Meier-Abt is the new president of the SAMS

On 24 May 2011, the SAMS-Senate elected Prof. Peter Meier-Abt new president of the medical academy. He will assume his new position on 1st July 2011.

The press release is available in German and French.

7.04.2011  | Press release

EASAC report on the occasion of the World Health Day 2011

The World Health Day is celebrated every year on 7 April, under the sponsorship of the World Health Organization (WHO), remembering its foundation in 1948. In the year 2011, theme of the World Health Day is «Antimicrobial resistance: no action today no cure tomorrow».

The European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC) have recently published a report on this topic: «European public health and innovation policy for infectious disease - the view from EASAC».

The EASAC is an umbrella organisation of the scietific academies in Europe; the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences are also a member of the EASAC.

The report and the corresponding press release can be downloaded here:

Press release PDF (90 KB)

Report PDF (553 KB)


7.03.2011  | Biomedical Ethics

Decisions on cardiopulmonary resuscitation:
Medical-ethical guidelines and recommendations

The guidelines «Decisions on cardiopulmonary resuscitation» were elaborated in 2008 and are now available in English.

17.11.2010  | Press release

New position paper of the Ethics Committee for Animal Experimentation: The dignity of animals and the evaluation of interests in the Swiss Animal Protection Act

The fact that the concept of dignity is enshrined in the Swiss Federal Constitution implies that animals are to merit moral consideration for their own sake.

The purpose of the Swiss Animal Protection Act of 16 December 2005 is to protect not just the welfare but also the dignity of animals.

Press release (only available in german or french)

Position paper (english version) PDF
Position paper (german version) PDF
Position paper (french version) PDF


1.04.2010  | New Publication

«Research with Human Subjects» - A manual for general practice PDF

Research with human subjects is of central importance for our society, for the health of the individual, but also for public health, for science and for the economy. Research is however not only associated with social benefits, it also involves risks.

In the opinion of the SAMS, the present efforts of the Federal Government to draw up a Constitutional Article and a corresponding Law on Research in Human Subjects are very much to be welcomed. In connection with this new legislation, the SAMS has again intensively investigated the basic legal and ethical conditions concerning research with human subjects, and arrived at the conclusion that the guidelines «Research Studies in Human Subjects» have been superseded by the development in the legislation, and consequently withdrew these guidelines in November 2008. They were however not withdrawn without replacement and they are in fact replaced by this present Manual on Research with Human Subjects. In accordance with SAMS tradition, this manual is intended to provide researchers and members of research ethics committees with support in their various demanding activities.

«Research with Human Subjects» - A manual for general practice PDF (647 KB)

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