USI’s Success in Securing BRIDGE Programme Grants

For the left: Jean-Philippe Theurillat, Andrea Alimonti e Paulo Gonçalves
For the left: Jean-Philippe Theurillat, Andrea Alimonti e Paulo Gonçalves
USI researchers have recently achieved significant success in the latest round of BRIDGE programme funding, securing three grants that span various innovative and impactful research areas. These projects, funded by the joint initiative of the SNSF and Innosuisse, highlight USI’s commitment to advancing research at the intersection of basic science and practical innovation.

The BRIDGE programme supports projects that fall outside the typical funding scopes of SNSF or Innosuisse alone, providing crucial financial backing for both young and experienced researchers. The programme organises up to four calls per year, offering targeted funding through two distinct categories: Proof of Concept for young researchers , and Discovery for experienced researchers.

Among the successful USI projects, the research led by Professor  Jean-Philippe Theurillat at the Institute of Oncology Research (IOR) stands out. His project, titled "Mining and Predicting Prostate Cancer Progression for Better Patient Care," has been awarded CHF 210,700. This project aims to enhance understanding of the molecular changes involved in prostate cancer progression. By expanding a Prostate Cancer Gene Expression Atlas, the research seeks to develop new biomarkers and a marketable web tool to analyse molecular data. Prof. Theurillat declares: "The Bridge grant supports our lab in developing a tool to harmonise, visualise, and analyse RNA sequencing data from prostate cancer patients with the idea to produce a web-based reference atlas for the research community. The tool will facilitate drug target and related biomarker discovery and validation in academia and industry."

Another noteworthy project is Professor  Andrea Alimonti ’s initiative at IOR, titled "Development of a Drug Discovery Platform to Identify Microbiome-Derived Therapeutics (MICTHERA)," which received CHF 637,500 in funding. This innovative project establishes a high-throughput platform to isolate and identify therapeutic compounds from the human gut microbiome, specifically from cancer patients responding to anti-cancer treatments. Utilising advanced sequencing and bioinformatics, the platform aims to revolutionise the discovery of new microbial-derived therapeutics.

USI is also collaborating with SUPSI on a significant project aimed at achieving climate neutrality. Faculty of Economics’ Professor  Paulo Gonçalves leads the project titled "Just Transitions Towards Net-Zero Society," which received CHF 318,600. This project focuses on developing a decision support tool for regional governments and private actors in Canton Ticino. The tool aggregates regional data to simulate policy impacts on climate change and sustainable development goals, promoting a just and sustainable transition to climate neutrality.

To promote the BRIDGE programme and support researchers, USI has organised several events. One such event, " From Research to Startup ," was held on 30 May 2023, providing an overview of the path from research to startup creation. Organised by the USI Startup Centre and the Research Service, the event featured presentations from BRIDGE representatives and venture capitalists, offering valuable insights into transforming innovative ideas into successful projects. Another significant event was " Innosuisse - A Funding Instrument for Research with Companies ," held on 26 September 2023. This event focused on developing research with implementation partners, featuring testimonials from Innosuisse-financed projects and insights from Innosuisse experts.

These recent successes mark a significant achievement for USI, particularly since the last BRIDGE programme grant was won by Doctor Andrea Cavalli in 2021. In 2023, USI submitted four BRIDGE Discovery projects, with three being approved, showcasing a strong success rate. Additionally, USI’s single Eurostars application in 2023 was also approved, further underscoring the university’s research excellence. USI’s recent accomplishments reflect its strategic focus on fostering innovation and knowledge transfer, solidifying its reputation as a leading institution in competitive research. The university’s efforts in organising dedicated events and inviting sector experts to support the territory have played a crucial role in these achievements. This success highlights USI’s commitment to promoting competitive research and supporting researchers in developing innovative ideas that can have a profound impact on society.

To learn more about the BRIDGE programme and assistance in your application, please contact the  .