SIB Group Leader and Vice President for Research at the University of Basel, Torsten Schwede will become President of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)’s Research Council as of January 2025. Succeeding Matthias Egger, Torsten Schwede will contribute to shape the future of Swiss research funding and will already be supporting the ongoing restructuring of the SNSF as of 2024. 

The SNSF is Switzerland's foremost research funding organisation, which invests around 1 billion CHF in research projects and in the careers of young researchers each year. Its Research Council consists of highly qualified researchers from universities and other institutions. It is primarily responsible for evaluating applications submitted to the SNSF. Matthias Egger, an epidemiologist at the University of Bern, has headed this body with great success since 2017. With his term of office now approaching its end, the SNSF Foundation Council has appointed Torsten Schwede to be his successor from January 2025.

A successor with wide-ranging experience

As a long-standing and renowned scientist for many years (see box), Torsten Schwede is very familiar with the challenges posed by research. As Vice President for Research at the University of Basel, he is also familiar both with the needs of various disciplines and with the institutional perspective of a university. And as a current member of the SNSF Foundation Council, he has dealt intensively with the strategic issues related to research funding. "I am very much looking forward to this task. The research landscape, and with it the SNSF, is facing major challenges. I would like to use my experience to help the SNSF master its challenges, together with researchers and scientific organisations," says Torsten Schwede.

About Torsten Schwede

Torsten Schwede is Professor of Structural Bioinformatics at the University of Basel and Group Leader of the Computational Structural Biology group at SIB. Since 2018, he has also been Vice President for Research at the University of Basel with his responsibilities including promoting early-career researchers and digital research infrastructures.

Torsten Schwede completed his doctorate degree in protein crystallography and then undertook a postdoctorate fellowship at GlaxoSmithKline in Geneva. He has taught and performed research in structural bioinformatics at the University of Basel since 2001. His work focuses on the modelling of protein structures. With these models being used, for example, in the development of active pharmaceutical ingredients. 

A role in the SNSF’s restructuring

This early appointment comes at a dynamic time for the SNSF, with its Statutes being revised in 2023 and resulting changes now gradually being implemented. In 2025, the Research Council will be given more strategic competencies, it shall also reduce in size and be headed by an Academic Board. Work on this will already begin in 2024. On this, Jürg Stahl, Chairman of the Foundation Council adds: "Due to the reorganisation, we have already chosen Matthias Egger's successor. Torsten Schwede will thus be able to support this work as of 2024 and help determine the composition of the future Academic Board. He will then assume the presidency of the Research Council in January 2025, thereby ensuring a smooth transition from the previous to the new president."

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