Call for Ideas

The Call for Ideas is now closed. We thank all the participants for their valuable inputs. The submitted ideas (over 40) are being analysed by our Science and Technology Advisory Board and feed into the redaction of the first SPI science plan, currently under preparation.

Key characteristics of the submitted ideas

In response to the Call for Ideas organised by SPI in order to gather suggestions to be considered during the elaboration of the future science plan of the institute, 45 proposals have been submitted. Those ideas vary considerably in terms of covered topics, financial requirements, time frame and geographic focus.

From a disciplinary point of view, the ideas range from geoscience to life sciences and to a lesser extend also to social sciences/humanities (3 submitted ideas). Unsurprisingly, glaciology, ecology, climatology and atmospheric sciences are among the most represented fields of research. Finally, some ideas rather refer to technological aspects such as sensor systems. Interdisciplinarity, at different degrees, is a very common feature among the proposed ideas.

Almost three-quarters or 73.3% of the projects cover the Arctic, 42.2% cover the Antarctic and 35.3% have also or only another geographic focus – mainly the Third Pole.

A majority of the submitters are PhD holders (26), while 18 Professors have submitted their ideas. One student has also participated to the call. Only 14 out of the 45 participants (or less than a third) are female.

Budget-wise, the requirements differ significantly, ranging from tens of thousands (CHF 20’000.- onwards) to millions of Swiss Francs per idea (with a maximum of CHF 5 million for a single idea). More or less half of the submitted ideas have estimated costs ranging from CHF 100 000.- to CHF 1 million.

A look at the distribution of the submitted ideas (see chart below) among the different Swiss research Institutions shows that the call was not met everywhere with the same interest, even though scientists from as much as 11 different institutions have participated to the call.

Scientists from the region of Zurich for instance (UZH and ETHZ together) are strongly represented. In total, they submitted 21 ideas, which is almost half of the submissions, while most of the other research institutions are only represented by a few ideas. Four ideas are joint ventures undertaken together by two research actors.