The SNF rewards ten research projects submitted by USI


Institutional Communication Service

6 April 2020

At the first of two annual rounds of Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) grants, ten proposals submitted by USI researchers have received a positive response, with projects involving the many disciplines present at the University.

The SNSF grants funds to the best projects that are submitted for its evaluation by the two annual deadlines of April and October. With ten projects awarded in this round, USI confirms the quality and competitiveness of its research at the national level. "In general, it is a satisfactory and growing outcome compared to previous years, so we can be cautiously positive about future developments and the fact that we are able to repeat the excellent result of 2019", says Professor Benedetto Lepori, Rector's Delegate for Research Analysis and Head of USI Research and Transfer Service. The USI Pro-Rector for Research Patrick Gagliardini adds that "these results are also very positive in view of the development of a research strategy that leverages on the recognized scientific expertise of our researchers, and that enhances the richness and diversity of the subjects and areas of research present at USI".

The range of projects supported shows how lively and diverse the research areas at the USI Faculties and affiliated institutes are. The Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB) and the Institute for Oncologiy Research (IOR) will start three projects ranging from the sources of genomic instability of malignant B cells (D. Robbiani), to the structure and function of the secretory IgA repertoire in intestinal homeostasis (F. Grassi) and the discovery of genetic/epigenetic dependencies in mutated lymphoma NOTCH2/KLF2 (D. Rossi). The IRB laboratories are particularly focused in this period on Covid-19 research, and have responded to the SNFS "special call" to urgently intensify coronavirus research to address the current crisis and prepare for likely future outbreaks.

At the Faculty of Informatics new funding goes to a study on the modelling of the latent space of patent citations (E. Wit e A. Lomi), to the FORWARD project (Fine-grained network flow behavior prediction, P. Eugster) and to the Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence Research (for which USI and SUPSI have recently renewed the framework agreement) for the NEUSYM project, in the field of reinforcement learning (J. Schmidhuber).

In the field of studies in communication there are two projects supported in this round: one called The categorization of information sources in face-to-face interaction: a study based on the TIGR-corpus of spoken Italian (J. Miecznikowski-Fünfschilling), and one in the field of philosophy that relates mathematical functions and the ontology of relationships (Functions, Relations, and Types, K. Mulligan).

For the USI Faculty of Economics, the project on business development processes (The relational antecedents of corporate development behavior, E. Bettinazzi) was awarded, wheras the Laboratory of Alpine History at the USI Academy of Architecture was awarded a grant for research on migration and development in the mountain border areas of Switzerland and Slovenia in a comparative perspective between the 18th and 17th centuries (L. Lorenzetti).

Overall, the ten projects received funding totalling around CHF 6 million.