«In nanoscience, the classical disciplines merge. Interdisciplinary collaboration is thus a key to success.»
Professor Christian Schönenberger, Director of the SNI
Nanoscience research within the Swiss Nanoscience Institute (SNI) is focused on areas of potential benefit to the life sciences, sustainability, and information and communications technologies. The aim is to explore phenomena at a nanoscale and to identify and apply new pioneering principles. This involves researchers immersing themselves in the world of individual atoms and molecules. At this level, the classical disciplines of physics, biology and chemistry merge into one. Interdisciplinary collaboration between different branches of science and institutions is thus a key element of the SNI’s day-to-day work.
Fundamental sciences provide the basis for research at the SNI. As well as the various projects funded within the PhD school, the SNI supports the fundamental science research carried out by the two Argovia professors, Roderick Lim and Martino Poggio. Their research achievements in nanobiology and nanotechnology are adding to the SNI’s international reputation for excellence.
Since 2015, the SNI has also been funding Professor Jan Pieter Abrahams, who, with his teams at the Biozentrum in Basel and the PSI, is investigating the 3D structure of proteins. In addition, the SNI supports three honorary professors. Professor Thomas Jung is a teacher and researcher at the Department of Physics at the University of Basel and heads a team at the PSI. Professors Frithjof Nolting and Michel Kenzelmann also have teaching responsibilities at the Department of Physics at the University of Basel and play an active role at the PSI with their research groups.
A strong link to application
Ever since it was established, the SNI has attached great importance to the transfer of scientific knowledge to industry. To support this process, the SNI issues an annual call for applied research projects. Under this program, called “Nano Argovia”, funding is provided to around 10 projects every year, drawn from a wide range of fields in nanotechnology. The program has an overall budget of around 1.5 million Swiss francs and is run in close collaboration with industrial companies from Northwestern Switzerland. Through the Nano Argovia program, the SNI is forging a key link between research and application. In several cases, these partnerships have led on to CTI or other successor projects.