Revision of the guidelines for determination of death
The 2022 popular vote for the principle of presumed consent regarding organ donation will lead to an adaptation of the Transplantation Act. This necessitates a revision of the medical-ethical guidelines from 2017.
When a person donates his or her organs after death, a reliable diagnosis of death must be possible. The determination of death is of crucial ethical and legal significance. In terms of how to proceed, the legislator explicitly refers to the SAMS guidelines «Determination of death with regard to organ transplantation and preparations for organ removal». An interprofessional and interdisciplinary subcommittee with broad representation has been appointed to revise the guidelines. Information on the upcoming work and the composition of the subcommittee can be found online.Further information
The SPHN Management Office is hiring
The Swiss Personalized Health Network (SPHN) coordinates the establishment of data infrastructures for the responsible use of health-related data for research in Switzerland. Starting from 1 August 2023 or upon agreement, the SPHN Management Office is looking for a new team member focusing on project management for Ethics, Legal and Societal Implications (ELSI). The deadline for applications is on Monday, 12 June 2023.
The diverse responsibilities of this position include, but are not limited to, supporting the SPHN Data Governance Working Group, the SPHN ELSI Advisory Group and researchers for legal, ethical and other data governance questions. Please see the job posting (in French) for more details and the contact persons for questions. More information about SPHN can be found on the website.
Job posting (in French) (PDF)
Five new members for 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. On 1 May 2023 the Board of Directors of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences elected 5 new members to the SYA.
With this election, the Academies acknowledge the ideas and commitment of these young scientists at the interfaces between science, society and politics. Jointly with the other 34 members, they will be able to implement innovative inter- and transdisciplinary projects over the next years. More information about the SYA and the new members can be found in the media release and on the SYA website.Visit the website
ScienceComm'23: Call for Participation
The Foundation Science et Cité, a member of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences, is organising the twelfth ScienceComm on 2/3 November 2023. The annual congress for science communication understands itself as a platform for professional exchange and networking. The call for participation is open until 18 May 2023.
How should science communication projects be designed to stimulate thought and action? What are examples of successful projects, especially when dealing with complex or difficult topics? Such questions will be discussed at ScienceComm'23. Would you like to make an active contribution to this two-day event? ? All necessary information can be found in the online call for participation (in French or German). Abstracts may also be submitted in English.Visit the website
Relaunch of the Swiss Health Care Atlas
The state of the Swiss health system is a matter of concern: health insurance premiums are rising, as are people’s expectations towards medicine – and the number of people who have chronic illnesses. Can we identify a link between a given service and a region? Are there indicators to examine in order to improve the system? Can services be bundled regionally? The newly launched Swiss Health Care Atlas can provide answers to such questions.
The SAMS promoted health services research in Switzerland for five years. One of the projects supported was the Swiss Atlas of Health Care (2017). In the meantime, the atlas has been updated and expanded: It measures the use of healthcare services in Switzerland with over 100 indicators. Designed as a learning system, the new atlas is to be continuously updated. It thus creates a basis for health services research and can help to plan and manage resources according to needs. Visit the website for further information.Visit the website
Young Talents in Clinical Research: Call 2023
With the Young Talents in Clinical Research program, the Gottfried and Julia Bangerter-Rhyner Foundation and the SAMS encourage young medical doctors to start out in clinical research. For 2023, 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 2023.
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 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 flyer (PDF)
National MD-PhD Grants Program: changes as of 2025
The national MD-PhD Grants Program enables young doctors interested in research to obtain the skills necessary for a career as clinician and scientist. The SNSF, co-founder of the program with the SAMS, will withdraw its support as of 2025 – a decision that the SAMS strongly regrets. Convinced of the added value of this funding instrument, the Academy is exploring ways to ensure the continuation of the program.
The MD-PhD grants contribute to motivate particularly talented physicians to complete a doctoral research training in natural sciences, public health sciences, clinical research or biomedical ethics. The SAMS is convinced that these profiles, capable of bridging the gap between research and clinical practice, are essential to deal with the growing complexity of medicine. As the SAMS has no budget to replace the SNSF contributions as of 2025, it has started to approach potential partners to avoid the program being discontinued with the withdrawal of the SNSF. More information can be found on our website.Visit the website
Making advance care planning commonplace
Advance care planning (ACP) strengthens self-determination, for example with regard to treatment after a serious accident, advanced illness or dementia. ACP should be possible for everyone. A national working group co-led by the SAMS and the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) has published a roadmap with 12 recommendations to establish ACP in everyday life.
Although ACP is voluntary, the importance of the topic was reflected in the more than 170 comments received during the public consultation that preceded the publication of the roadmap. The 12 recommendations address four topics: awareness raising, basic information, the role of professionals and improving the quality of instruments and processes. The roadmap is available online in four languages (d/f/i/e). Our website also offers in-depth information on the topic and on the future activities of the national working group.
Download the roadmap (PDF)
SAMS Annual Report 2022 is online
The year 2022 marked the end of the acute phase of the coronavirus disease pandemic, but also the beginning of reflections on several forward-looking topics. The SAMS has once again devoted itself to projects that will keep our team busy well beyond the year covered by our annual report, which thus offers a look back and a look forward.
Our online annual report is again structured around the retrospective. It provides an overview of the work carried out last year and serves as a gateway to further information. As usual, a printable PDF version is also available. We hope you will enjoy (re)discovering the highlights of 2022, which reflect our commitment to science, medicine and society – and which will continue to occupy us directly or indirectly in the future.
Download the report (in French) (PDF)
Medicine of the future: the potential of new technologies
The Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW), sister academy of the SAMS, publishes a Technology Outlook report every two years, which identifies future technologies and evaluates their importance for Switzerland. In our current Bulletin, the floor is given to its President, Prof. Benoît Dubuis, who presents the technologies that have already begun to transform or could revolutionize medicine.
The new SAMS Bulletin not only looks at mRNA technology, artificial intelligence or virtual reality, but also, as always, at the people who are shaping our medicine: Young Talents in Clinical Research, a delegation from the British Academy of Medical Sciences or the winners of the Robert Bing Prize 2022, you will find faces and stories that shed light on the day-to-day work and progress of our projects. The Bulletin is available in French or German.
Bulletin 1/2023 (in French) (PDF)
Training course for patients willing to be involved in clinical research
The Department of Clinical Research of the University of Basel and EUPATI CH – the Swiss platform of the European Patient's Academy on Therapeutic Innovation – are launching a training course for patients who wish to become involved in clinical research projects. The SAMS supports this course which will start in May 2023. The 6 modules can also be attended individually, as long as the complete training is not fully booked.
Findings from research are particularly valuable when they address the specific needs of patients. This is best achieved when those affected, or people close to them, are already involved in the planning and design of new research projects. The University of Basel and EUPATI CH have developed a course that prepares interested people for this task. Further information and the link to register can be found in the flyer and on the EUPATI website.
Download the flyer (PDF)
Cooperation with France: «Germaine de Staël» programme
On behalf of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW) is launching a call for the federal programme «Germaine de Staël» to promote scientific collaboration between Switzerland and France. The programme is open to all research disciplines. Applications for the funding period 2024–2025 are possible until 15 June 2023.
The «Germaine de Staël» programme promotes collaboration between French and Swiss researchers by providing funding for travel and accommodation expenses incurred by team members as part of attending meetings or conferences. The cost ceiling per project is around CHF 4500 per year, renewable once. More information and the application form can be found on the SATW website.Visit the website
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 of deadline is 1 May 2023.
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 format and submission procedure.Visit the website
Foundations for a «smart» health care system
For five years, the Swiss National Science Foundation has funded the National Research Programme «Smarter Health Care» (NRP 74). In the 34 projects researchers addressed a broad array of topics, from case management to interlinking of health data. The programme summary provides recommendations on how health care in Switzerland can be adapted to the challenges of both the present and the future.
To strengthen health services research in Switzerland, the SAMS and the Gottfried and Julia Bangerter-Rhyner-Stiftung conducted a joint funding programme from 2012 to 2016. This was the decisive step towards Switzerland becoming aware of the topic of health services research and the launch of NRP 74. The findings gained and the recommendations can be found in the programme summary and on the NRP-website.
Programme summary (PDF)
The Robert Bing Prize goes to three remarkable neuroscientists
The Robert Bing Prize 2022 goes to three remarkable clinical and experimental neuroscientists: Cristina Granziera and Mira Katan Kahles, Professors of Neurology at the University Hospital in Basel, and Johannes Gräff, Professor at EPFL. Each prize is worth CHF 20’000.
Every two years, the SAMS bestows the Robert Bing Prize. In accordance with the donor’s will, the Prize is awarded to researchers who have done outstanding work to improve the recognition, treatment and cure of neurological diseases. The award ceremony will take place on 1 June 2023. Further information about the laureates and the Prize can be found in the media release published today and on our website.
Media release (PDF)
Understanding and empowering health professionals and informal caregivers
Giving a voice to health professionals and informal caregivers is the ambition of the SCOHPICA project: Swiss COhort of Healthcare Professionals and Informal CAregivers. The creation of this national cohort will allow a better understanding of the needs of these two supporting pillars of our healthcare system. Registration for the first project phase is open until 31 January 2023.
«Unisanté Lausanne» and «Institut et Haute Ecole de la Santé La Source» are joining forces to better understand the individual careers of healthcare professionals and informal caregivers and to identify possible causes of dissatisfaction or premature departure from the profession. In view of demographic developments, it is essential to make the best possible use of these resources. The SAMS supports this project as part of its commitment to a sustainable healthcare system.Visit the website
The Medbase Group is a new partner of smarter medicine
The association «smarter medicine – Choosing Wisely Switzerland», of which the SAMS is a member, aims to prevent unnecessary medical treatment. Since 1 January 2023, the Medbase Group has been a partner of smarter medicine. This means that another outpatient service provider is committed to quality healthcare that aims to avoid excessive or inappropriate medical treatment.
Around 3200 Medbase employees provide comprehensive care for their patients – from prevention to acute medicine and rehabilitation. The group has declared the implementation of smarter medicine to be a company-wide quality objective. Specialists should meet patients at eye level and decide together on the optimal, not maximum, medical treatment. You can find a wide range of free information material and other documents on the smarter medicine website (in German or in French).
Media release in French (PDF)
When to read, if not now? Our holiday suggestions
«Reading nurtures the soul.» Convinced that Voltaire was right, we would like to encourage you to read. Some SAMS publications have an immediate effect, while others take several years to implement their recommendations. This dual time frame reflects our dual mission: to provide practical support to health professionals and researchers and to anticipate developments in the health system and their consequences.
In 2022, we published a variety of documents, ranging from promotion of health services respecting planetary boundaries to the collaboration between medical professionals and industry. Perhaps you will find some inspiring holiday reading among our publications? Our sincere thanks go to all those who have contributed to these products. We wish you a bright holiday season and a happy start in 2023.Other publications
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 at the end of February 2023, offers the opportunity to apply for a five-year membership.
The Swiss Young Academy consists of 25 - 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? Please visit the JAS website for more information on the requirements and application procedure.Visit the website
Young Talents in Clinical Research: 14 grants for young medical doctors
With the «Young Talents in Clinical Research» (YTCR) programme launched in 2017, the Gottfried and Julia Bangerter-Rhyner Foundation and the SAMS aim at encouraging young medical doctors to start out in clinical research. 14 grants have been awarded among the 43 proposals submitted within the 2022 call.
During the sixth call for proposals, the SAMS evaluation committee proposed to support 14 promising young clinician scientists. The Bangerter Foundation approved the awards for a total of CHF 1 million. You can find the list of grantees and supported projects in the synopsis below (PDF). The next YTCR call will be opened at the end of March 2023.
Synopsis of grantees (PDF)
Public Consultation: Guidelines «Living Donation»
Living donation presents an exceptional medical-ethical situation: A healthy person undergoes a surgical intervention to donate an organ or parts thereof to another person. In order to help health professionals deal with the questions and challenges related to this complex medical procedure, the SAMS published medical-ethical guidelines in 2008. These have been revised and are open for public consultation until 1 March 2023.
Developments in the field of living organ donation and the revision of the Federal Act on the Transplantation of Organs, Tissues and Cells required revisions to the existing guidelines. An interdisciplinary subcommittee including both donor and recipient representatives has updated and revised the guidelines. Interested organizations and individuals are invited to submit feedback. The necessary documents can be found on our website.Visit the website
Bi-academic exchange between France and Switzerland
In October 2022, members of the Senate of the SAMS and of the Académie Nationale de Médecine (France) met virtually. The topics discussed by one expert from each country were the lessons to be learned from the Covid-19 pandemic, the medicine of tomorrow and the end of life. Relive these moments.
The SAMS maintains formal and informal contacts with its sister academies abroad. The bi-academic meeting that took place a few weeks ago via zoom was a first of its kind. You can find a short report and the full video of the event on our website (in French).Visit the website
SPHN supports 11 Demonstrator projects
In 2022, the Swiss Personalized Health Network (SPHN) launched a call for Demonstrator projects. These projects shall test the infrastructures, processes, and data resources established in the realm of SPHN to demonstrate their added value for the network and to identify the remaining gaps. From a total of 30 project applications, 11 Demonstrator projects will be supported.
Within the funded Demonstrators, two types of projects are supported: On the one hand, projects that test the practical application of SPHN infrastructure components in medical research and/or expand their use in the network. On the other hand, projects that demonstrate the added value of SPHN-compliant data resources from the university hospitals. A total of CHF 4.3 million will be allocated to the Demonstrator projects; SPHN funding requires matching funds from the participating institutions. Details can be found on the SPHN website.Visit the website
Translating medical research findings into practice more effectively
Only a small proportion of the findings of medical research are incorporated into everyday practice in the health system. Implementation science aims to identify and overcome obstacles encountered along the implementation trajectory. The SAMS has sponsored a series of events on this topic, with a conference report being published in 2022. Find out how new scientific knowledge can be more easily translated into practice.
The practical application of medical research findings is often impeded by the constraints of everyday practice. It is essential to gain an in-depth knowledge of the context in which an innovation is to be introduced and to adopt an interprofessional approach in order to understand the routines employed in practice and the working climate within an organisation. It is also important to identify at an early stage the stakeholders who need to be involved. You can find more information in the report (d/f) and on our website (e).
Report (in French) (PDF)
100 years of salt iodisation is a cause for celebration
The iodine added to table salt plays an important role in our health. Iodine deficiency can give rise to health problems such as cretinism or goitre. In October 2022, the SAMS Fluoride and Iodine Commission and the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO) organised a symposium to celebrate 100 years of salt iodisation in Switzerland. The presentations are now available online, providing information on the importance and history of salt iodisation.
The SAMS Fluoride and Iodine Commission deals with scientific, technical and policy questions arising in connection with dietary fluoride and iodine intake. It brings together experts from Swiss universities (nutrition, gynaecology, internal medicine, dentistry, endocrinology, epidemiology), representatives of the federal administration, cantonal physicians and the Swiss Salt Works. The 100th anniversary provides an opportunity to revive the discussion on measures to safeguard and improve the iodine status of the Swiss population.Further information
The KZS Fund supports 4 projects on moral distress among the healthcare workforce
The Käthe Zingg-Schwichtenberg Fund (KZS Fund) supports research projects in biomedical ethics. With the 2022 call for proposals, the SAMS invited researchers to examine the question of moral distress among healthcare professionals. Of the 15 projects submitted, 4 have been selected for funding. They will contribute to examine, from the point of view of clinical and public health ethics, the roots of the frustration of health professionals in Switzerland.
«Moral distress» encompasses experiences in which healthcare professionals are unable to act in an ethically appropriate manner or are involved in a situation that is perceived as morally undesirable. The impact of moral distress on the individuals involved, and on the healthcare system, has been studied internationally. However, solid data and a thorough medical-ethical discussion are still largely lacking in the Swiss context. 4 projects are funded with a total of CHF 267,841 to fill this gap. The synopsis (pdf) gives an overview of all the projects supported by the KZS Fund. More information can be found on our website.
Download the synopsis (PDF)
Weighing of interests in animal experiment applications
Researchers who wish to conduct an animal experiment in Switzerland must submit a formal application. According to the Animal Protection Act, it is their duty to make ethical considerations in addition to scientific ones. This is done by weighing interests. The Ethics Committee for Animal Experimentation has updated the guidance for researchers to adapt it to the current framework conditions.
The application procedure requires researchers to demonstrate that the trial is adequate, necessary and appropriate to achieve the intended purpose. For example, the expected gain in knowledge must be weighed against the distress to the animals: pain, harm, suffering and fear. The updated guidance supports researchers in the final weighing of interests. The publication is available in three languages (d/f/e) and can be ordered free of charge as a printed brochure.
Download the guide (PDF)
National MD-PhD grants program: Call for proposals with revised regulations
The regulations of the National MD-PhD grants program have been revised. The aim of the program is still to equip medical doctors interested in research with the skills necessary for a career as clinician-scientist. The revision harmonizes the handling of applications by the associated local MD-PhD commissions and integrates a new partner university.
National MD-PhD grants enable each year a small number of talented physicians to complete a doctoral research training in natural sciences, public health sciences, clinical research or biomedical ethics at a Swiss university. The revised regulations integrate the Università della Svizzera italiana and its local MD-PhD program as a new partner. The next submission deadline to the associated local MD-PhD commissions is 15 December 2022. Details on the submission of applications and the evaluation procedure can be found on our website.
Download the regulations (PDF)
Briefly explained: Patients and Public Involvement (PPI)
Involving patients and representatives from the public in research is crucial for medical progress. Through its role in the National Coordination Platform Clinical Research and in the Swiss Personalized Health Network (SPHN), the SAMS is committed to strengthening patients and public involvement (PPI) in Switzerland.
What does the active participation of patients or representatives of the public in clinical research look like? Who can be participate in PPI? And why is this involvement important? A short video clip from the Swiss Clinical Trial Organisation (SCTO) provides answers to these questions in an accessible way.Visit the website
Collaboration between medical professionals and industry
There is a long tradition of collaboration between medical professionals and industry. This is essentially in the interests of good healthcare and contributes to medical progress. At the same time, it may lead to conflicts of interest. The Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences (SAMS) has updated and extended the scope of its guidelines on this topic: they are now no longer addressed exclusively to physicians but also to other health professions.
The revised guidelines take account of recent developments in this area, covering for the first time virtual events, sales of advertising space, stand rental, and product and procedure training events, and also dealing with topics such as start-ups, spin-offs and licensing agreements. A special emphasis is placed on transparency.
Download the guidelines (PDF)
New Top 5 list and national campaign for moderate medicine
«Less is sometimes more» is the motto of the umbrella organisation «smarter medicine», to which the SAMS belongs. In addition to the Top 5 lists, which are primarily aimed at professionals, «smarter medicine» also provides comprehensible information to raise public awareness. In Switzerland, too, there is over-medication and inappropriate care. A new national campaign offers a variety of free information material.
In their Top 5 lists, medical societies determine five interventions that should be avoided or only used under certain conditions. The most recent list is that of the Swiss Society for Gynaecology and Obstetrics (SSGO). Moreover, «smarter medicine» launched a campaign with information material in three languages aimed at the general public. Patients should be able to prepare themselves for a medical consultation and ask questions about the advantages and disadvantages of the recommended treatment. For more information visit the website.
Top 5 list for Gynaecology in French (PDF)
Call for members: Sounding Board for Open Research Data
The Swiss Academies (a+) are establishing a Sounding Board for Researchers for the implementation of the Action Plan on Open Research Data (ORD) with their expertise. The Sounding Board will consist of up to 16 members and start its activities in autumn 2022. Apply by 7 August 2022 and help boost Open Science in Switzerland.
Are you a scientist interested in Open Science? Join the ORD Sounding Board of researchers. The Academies are seeking members who have already gained experience in ORD research practices and are able to showcase ORD practices within their field of expertise. Members of the Sounding Board should be affiliated with a Swiss higher education institution. More information can be found in the call for proposals on the a+ website.Visit the website
Swiss Personalized Health Network: Factsheet 2022
The Swiss Personalized Health Network (SPHN) has published a new Factsheet. From a researcher’s perspective, it highlights the various tools, services and resources that SPHN offers in the field of data-driven and personalized health research and their added value.
From project planning, to data acquisition and processing through to the re-use of data by third parties, researchers learn about the new opportunities that are opening up, e.g., in terms of data availability in the clinical data warehouses or data lakes of the university hospitals. In addition, the Factsheet contains an outlook on the future developments of the SPHN ecosystem and which partnerships are important in this context.
Download the Factsheet (PDF)
STAAR Commission: transparency in research using animals
In June, swissuniversities has created the STAAR Commission – Swiss Transparency Agreement on Animal Research. The Commission will support the institutions involved with research using animals in their communication with the public. Signatory organisations report regularly on their progress towards greater transparency.
Organisations that join STAAR commit to communication and transparency regarding the use of animals in research. Concrete objectives are defined each year. To date, STAAR brings together 24 organisations, both public and private. For more information, please visit the STAAR website.Further information
The MD-PhD program supports 13 medical doctors interested in research
The national MD-PhD program has awarded 13 grants to young physicians engaged in research to complete a doctorate in natural sciences, public health sciences, clinical research or biomedical ethics at a Swiss university. The synopsis of grantees gives an overview of the supported projects.
Of the 22 applications preselected by the local MD-PhD committees, 13 young candidates are awarded a grant. The contributions, amounting to a total of more than CHF 2.3 million, cover the salary of grantees. They are sponsored by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), Swiss Cancer Research (KFS) and the SAMS – for the first time with an additional grant from the Théodore Ott Fund. The next call for proposals of the National MD-PhD program will be launched this autumn with a submission deadline set on 15 December 2022.
Synopsis of grantees (PDF)
The SPHN Management Office is hiring
The «Swiss Personalized Health Network» (SPHN) coordinates the establishment of data infrastructures for the responsible use of health-related data for research in Switzerland. Starting from 1 September 2022 or upon agreement, the SPHN Management Office is looking for a new team member with a focus on project administration. The deadline for applications is on Monday, 1 August 2022.
The diverse responsibilities of this position include, but are not limited to, overseeing the life-time management of SPHN-funded projects, support of financial reporting and budget control, and general administrative and organizational duties in the Management Office. Please see the job posting (in French) for more details and the contact person for questions. More information about SPHN can be found on the website.
Job posting (in French) (PDF)
Reducing the environmental impact of health services
While human health is certainly adversely affected by climate change, the health system itself is also partly responsible for the current environmental crisis. How can we rethink health services so that they respect planetary boundaries? The new SAMS position paper is dedicated to this urgent question.
The paper formulates seven proposals with three overarching goals: reducing the use of health services, adapting healthcare practices and improving the environmental efficiency of health services. The document aims to raise awareness among health actors at every level, inspiring them to develop concrete, context-specific measures designed to reduce their environmental footprint.
Position paper (in French and German) (PDF)
Stern-Gattiker Prize 2022: The SAMS recognises two female role models
With the Stern-Gattiker Prize, the SAMS is making female role models more visible, so as to motivate young women to pursue an academic career. This year, the prize has been awarded to Vanessa Banz (Bern) and Susanne Wegener (Zurich). Both are compelling as strong women who encourage others to successfully combine science and clinical work.
To ensure that sufficient medical scientists are available over the medium and longer term, it is essential that more women pursue a career in academic medicine. To enhance the visibility of female role models, the SAMS has established the Stern-Gattiker Prize in 2018. Further information on the Prize and the two laureates can be found on our website and in the media release published today.
Media release in French (PDF)
Reproductive medicine: preimplantation genetic testing
In 2020, the SAMS published the recommendations «Preimplantation genetic testing PGT», which address ethical aspects of the PGT counselling and decision-making. Their aim is to contribute to consistent good clinical practice in Switzerland. A recent evaluation shows that no new knowledge has been gained since 2020. The recommendations therefore remain in force without any changes.
The review followed the recent publication by the National Advisory Commission on Biomedical Ethics (NCE) of guidelines that specify the legal framework for PGT. The NCE refers in part to the recommendations of the SAMS, but comes to different conclusions on a few points, particularly with regard to the management of surplus information. The SAMS, on the other hand, adheres to its medical-ethical recommendations of 2020: no new knowledge has been acquired that could lead to different conclusions in the ethical weighing of interests.
Download the recommendations (PDF)
New members in the Senate and the Executive Board
This year the Senate elected 10 people from various disciplines and institutions as new individual and honorary members. There are also changes in the SAMS Executive Board: The Senate elected 3 new members to replace the same number of vacancies. Further, George Thalmann succeeds Daniel Scheidegger as vice-president of the SAMS.
The Senate is the supreme organ of the SAMS. It is composed of about 250 persons. 5 people were elected as individual members for their scientific excellence, 5 people were elected as honorary members for their outstanding services to the promotion of science, the health system and/or the SAMS. All names can be found in our newsletter of 7 June 2022 (in French).Further information
Robert Bing Prize in neurosciences 2022: call for nominations
The SAMS is launching a call for nominations for the Robert Bing Prize. The Bing Prize is awarded to authors of outstanding work that has advanced the diagnosis, treatment and cure of diseases of the nervous system. Nominations can be submitted by a third party or an academic institution. The submission deadline is 31 August 2022.
In accordance with the donor’s will, the Robert Bing Prize is awarded primarily to young (up to 45 years old) neuroscientists with the Swiss nationality or who have been working in Switzerland for a significant amount of time. The prize is awarded every two years with a prize money of CHF 50’000.– for a single laureate or CHF 30’000.– each if two laureates are distinguished simultaneously. All information about the Prize, the format and the submission of nominations can be found on our website.
Synopsis of past laureates (PDF)
SPHN and PHRT support 4 National Data Streams
In 2021, the Swiss Personalized Health Network (SPHN) and the Personalized Health and Related Technologies (PHRT) initiative from the ETH Domain jointly launched the call for National Data Streams (NDS). The 4 selected NDS projects will start in summer 2022.
NDS build central pillars of the SPHN health data ecosystem and the PHRT research platforms. In the long term, they shall serve as models and crystallization points for future research programs and clinical applications of personalized health. In addition, all NDS projects will involve patients and the public. For more information, please visit the SPHN website.Visit the website
SPHN has launched a call for Demonstrator projects
The Swiss Personalized Health Network has launched a call for «Demonstrator projects». These projects must demonstrate the added value of infrastructures, processes and frameworks developed within SPHN. Submission deadline for applications is 31 August 2022.
Importantly, Demonstrator projects shall not build new infrastructure from scratch, but consolidate what has been started, complement missing links, and assess applicability and impact on clinical decision making and personalized health research. In total, SPHN will allocate approximately CHF 3.7 million for Demonstrator projects. Funding requires matching contributions by the applicant institutions. For more information on the call, including all necessary documents for applicants, please visit the SPHN website.Visit the website
Guidelines on «dying and death» in the FMH Association’s Code
The Medical Chamber of the Swiss Medical Association (FMH) decided today that the SAMS guidelines on «Management of dying and death» are to be incorporated into the Association’s Code. The SAMS welcomes this decision, as the situation prevailing since 2018 – with two sets of guidelines in force – had given rise to uncertainty among physicians. The broadly accepted document is now available online.
The medical-ethical guidelines on this topic published by the SAMS in 2018 have not hitherto formed part of the FMH Code. The delay in their adoption was due to the controversy which arose in 2018 over the subsection on assisted suicide (6.2 and 6.2.1). Since then, this chapter and the terms used therein have been reviewed in depth by a joint working group, with various clarifications being made. The guidelines on «Management of dying and death» (2018, revised in 2021) are available in English, French, German and Italian. More information can be found on our website.
Download the guidelines (PDF)
In consultation: Model for the implementation of advance care planning
Advance care planning (ACP) provides the basis for whether or not to initiate medical measures in the event of sudden, prolonged or permanent incapacity. Since 2021, the national working group has been working to develop framework conditions and quality standards of ACP. It has drafted a model for this purpose, which is open for public consultation until July 15, 2022.
The aim of ACP is to initiate conversations at an early stage about personal values, wishes and expectations with regard to treatment and care in the event of illness, accident or need for care. It requires recording a person’s wishes for third parties in case the person loses decision-making capacity. ACP applies not only to end-of-life situations, but also in the event of prolonged incapacity. The model for the advancement and implementation of ACP is now subject to a public consultation until July 15, 2022. Interested organizations and individuals are invited to submit their feedback.Visit the website
Young Talents in Clinical Research: Call 2022
With the «Young Talents in Clinical Research» program, the Gottfried and Julia Bangerter-Rhyner Foundation and the SAMS aim at encouraging young medical doctors to start out in clinical research. For 2022, 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 2022.
The YTCR program, which comprises two funding instruments, «beginner grants» and «project grants», focuses on residents who wish to be freed from clinical duty to gain a first research experience. Applications must be written in English and registered online. Details on the participation criteria, submission and evaluation procedure can be found in the program regulations, on our website and in the FAQ.
Download the flyer (PDF)
Organ transplantation: presumed or express consent?
Organ transplantation is an evidenced-based therapy. It finds its justification on the fundamental idea of the will and ability of individuals to help each other. On 15 May, the revised transplantation law will be put to a vote. In order to support the opinion building, the SAMS is publishing a factsheet that summarizes the ethical, medical and legal basis for the discussion.
The revised law provides for a shift to presumed consent in the broad sense. This means that people who do not wish to donate their organs must declare this during their lifetime. In the absence of a declaration, the will to donate is in principle presumed. The relatives, as it is currently the case, must be consulted to verify the accuracy of this presumption. For more information, read the factsheet or consult our website.
Download the factsheet (PDF)
Discover the SAMS Annual Report 2021 online
Although vaccination changed the situation in the second year of the pandemic, the coronavirus remained a key issue for the SAMS in 2021. In addition to topics related to this issue, we have initiated, accompanied and completed numerous projects, published papers and implemented funding programmes. Our online annual report (French or German) allows you to look back on the year 2021 as experienced by the SAMS.
For those of you who prefer to browse rather than to click, you can download a PDF version and print it. We hope you enjoy discovering or rediscovering the many highlights of the past year that reflect our commitment to science, medicine and society.
Annual Report (in French) (PDF)
Personalized health: The national infrastructure to boost research is up-and-running
Connecting researchers from across Switzerland with biomedical data to foster personalized health: this is the aim of the national secure computing network BioMedIT, setup by the SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, in collaboration with ETH Zurich and University of Basel. The network is part of the Swiss Personalized Health Network initiative (SPHN).
The BioMedIT network builds on three scientific IT competence platforms, or nodes, in Basel, Lausanne and Zurich. After the setup and refining phases, it is now fully operational and its website officially launched today. Currently, over 60 national and international health-related projects are running on it – a major step to empower personalized health research in Switzerland. More information can be found on the new website.
Media release SIB (in French) (PDF)
SPHN: Second call for Swiss cohorts to join the Maelstrom catalogue
Supported by the Swiss Personalized Health Network (SPHN), the metadata of 10 Swiss cohort studies are currently being integrated into the international Maelstrom catalogue. SPHN launches now a second call for proposals to strengthen the reuse of these valuable data for research purposes and international scientific collaborations.
The international Maelstrom catalogue currently contains metadata from over 310 studies from all around the world. Researchers can explore the catalogue for information about the existing data and how to access them with a free, web-based search tool. To allow more Swiss data to be included, SPHN is launching the second call for proposals and will cover the costs incurred by Maelstrom. The submission deadline is 31 May 2022. More information can be found on the SPHN website.Visit the website
KZS call for proposals: Moral distress among the healthcare workforce
The SAMS is providing a total of CHF 250’000.– from the Käthe-Zingg-Schwichtenberg Fund for research in bio-medical ethics dealing with moral distress among the healthcare workforce. Moral distress describes the mental and moral repercussions experienced by health professionals when they are unable to provide ethically appropriate action, usually due to institutional constraints. The submission deadline is 15 May 2022.
With this call for proposals, the SAMS invites researchers to examine, from a clinical ethics and/or public health ethics perspective, the roots of healthcare workers' – nurses' and physicians' – frustration and high professional drop-out rates in the Swiss context. Applications can be written in German, French or English and must be registered online. Details on the call, format and submission of proposals can be found on our website.Visit the website
Open call: patient representative
The SAMS launches a call for applications for a patient representative in the Coordination Platform Clinical Research (CPCR). If you have experience of clinical research as a patient, an interest in medical topics and wish to contribute to the elaboration of strategic recommendations, this position may be right for you.
The CPCR was set up at the end of 2021 upon a mandate by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation. Please refer to the call document below for details on your tasks and the requirements. Applications can be submitted per e-mail to email@example.com until 15 March 2022. Further information about the platform can be found on our website.
Download the call (PDF)
«Stick to Science»: Switzerland in Horizon Europe
The campaign «Stick to Science» asks political authorities to rapidly conclude the process of associating Switzerland and the UK to Horizon Europe, the EU's research and innovation programme. It calls for an open and collaborative research and innovation landscape in Europe, without political barriers delaying this association.
Switzerland and the UK can make important scientific and financial contributions to the European Research Area so that it remains competitive at a global level. Allowing political differences to prevent scientific collaboration is contrary to the interests of society at large. The SAMS follows the call of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences to promote the campaign in order to gain the strongest possible support.Further information
Stern-Gattiker Prize 2022 for female role models in academic medicine
For the third 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 25 March 2022.
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 can be found on our website.Visit the website
The KZS Fund supports 3 projects with a focus on resource scarcity
The call for proposals of the Käthe Zingg-Schwichtenberg Fund focused in 2021 on the topic of «Access to medical and nursing care in the event of resource scarcity». Out of the 11 submitted applications, 3 were retained for funding for a total of 270’336 francs.
With the 2021 call for proposals, the SAMS wanted to broaden the debate around the triage of patients: the Covid-19 pandemic has clearly shown that questions of distribution equity affected further areas of healthcare in the institutional and outpatient sector, even before admission to the intensive care unit. The 3 supported projects will seek to understand how the experience of the pandemic has changed – and is still changing – perceptions and judgements on equity and distribution debates in the event of resource scarcity. The synopsis (pdf) offers an overview of all the projects supported by the KZS Fund. You will find more information on our website.
Neuroscience: Théodore Ott Prize 2022 for Prof. Burkhard Becher
The Théodore Ott Prize 2022 is awarded to Burkhard Becher, Professor at the Institute of Experimental Immunology at the University of Zurich. The SAMS recognizes the originality and quality of his scientific work as well as its exceptional translational impact. The prize is endowed with CHF 50’000 and awarded every five years.
Prof. Becher has identified key molecular mechanisms in the progression of chronic inflammatory brain diseases, such as in multiple sclerosis and brain cancer. With his research group, he has developed state-of-the-art tools that have brought about groundbreaking insights into diverse pathological processes where inflammation is involved. The award ceremony will take place on 2 June 2022 in Bern. Further information on the laureate and on the prize can be found in the media release published today and on our website.
Download the media release (PDF)
No to a ban on animal and human experimentation
On 13 February 2022, the federal popular initiative «Yes to the ban on animal and human experimentation – Yes to safe and progressive research approaches» will be put to the vote. The SAMS recommends to reject the initiative. The media release published today by the Association of Swiss University Medicine (unimedsuisse) summarises the main arguments for this rejection in clear terms.
Switzerland has a comprehensive legal framework to ensure responsible medical research. University hospitals and medical faculties emphasise that the adoption of the initiative would make research involving humans and animals impossible in the future. All patients, especially
those with serious and chronic diseases who urgently need better medical treatment methods, would have to bear serious consequences. You can find more information (in French or in German) in the PDF or on the unimedsuisse website.
Media release (in French) (PDF)
The SAMS guidelines in use: Examples from everyday clinical practice
The SAMS has been developing medical-ethical guidelines for over 50 years. These provide a theoretical basis and practical guidance on ethically challenging situations in everyday clinical practice. In the journal «Primary and Hospital Care», the SAMS guidelines are illustrated with concrete practical examples – the series is now available on our website in French and German.
Medical-ethical guidelines need to be put to the test in practice. In this context, not only one's own experiences are important, but also those of professional colleagues. For this reason, «Primary and Hospital Care» has published a series of case studies since 2018 in which various SAMS guidelines are applied in practice. Previous topics have included advance care planning, palliative care, coercive measures in medicine and the medical care of people with dementia.Further information