On December 16, the Swiss National Science Foundation announced the creation of six new National Centres of Competence in Research (NCCRs), added to the 16 currently ongoing. The NCCRs were set up in 2001 to create and fund networks that would carry out top-quality, long-term basic research “in areas of strategic importance for Swiss science, the Swiss economy and Swiss society.”

The six new NCCRs have received 100 million CHF in funding from the Swiss government and their will initially run from 2020 to 2023 and then to a maximum of twelve years. Participating universities and businesses will channel further funds into them.
Prof. Jérôme Waser, EPFL Lausanne, and Prof. Javier Pérez- Ramírez, ETH Zurich, have been chosen to co-lead the new NCCR “Suchcat”. Funded with CHF 17 million between 2020- 2023, the project will lay “the groundwork for improving the sustainability, resource efficiency and carbon footprint of chemical processes and products, and of the chemical industry as a whole (sustainable chemistry).”

Project description
Chemistry is an enabling foundation of modern society, directly contributing to economic growth and life quality. Switzerland’s chemical companies are among the world’s most successful and the country has a long tradition of chemical research. But to preserve its leading position, the industry will need some vital prerequisites. It must adapt to face the grand societal challenges of the 21st century, such as the transition towards a carbon neutral society and meeting the food and healthcare demands of a growing population.
To succeed in this goal, it must learn to exploit the unique opportunities offered by advances in catalysis and digitalization to strengthen its capacity for continued innovation.
Sustainable Chemical Processes through Catalysis (suchcat) has set itself the ambitious target of creating new chemical value chains by accelerating the discovery and time-to-market of catalytic processes that enable the flexible production of customizable products from abundant and renewable feedstocks.

Embedding both academic and industrial expertise to fasttrack the translation from idea to prototype to plant, suchcat addresses central goals underlying sustainable growth, secure energy supply, and safeguarding clean air, water, and soil.

snf.ch/en/researchinFocus/nccr suchcat.ch actu.epfl.ch/news

Céline Wittwer, SCS