Diseases and injuries can severely affect the functions of the central and peripheral nervous systems as well as the sensory organs. To develop novel therapeutic approaches – gene therapy, optogenetics, bioactive molecules, diagnostic tools, imaging techniques, or implants, among others – the Fondation Bertarelli has donated CHF 5 million to create a Catalyst Fund. This fund is designed to foster innovative research and the development of life-saving treatments for diseases (including rare diseases) affecting the brain, the spinal cord, the peripheral nervous system, and the sensory organs.

The list of awarded projects from the previous years is available here.


The fourth and final call for proposals is targeted at research projects (including basic research approaches) focusing on diagnostic procedures and/ or therapeutic interventions for diseases/ disabilities affecting the central and peripheral nervous systems and the sensory organs.

Projects can be collaborative, and a preference will be given to new projects.

Main eligibility criteria

The call is open to one or more applicants from academic institutions of Western Switzerland (Bern, Fribourg, Geneva, Jura, Neuchâtel, Valais, Vaud), with preferably some components of the project being based at Campus Biotech.

The call is also open to applicants from academic institutions in the rest of Switzerland, Europe (including the United Kingdom), and the Middle East, provided some components of the project are based at Campus Biotech (no less than 50% of the costs charged on the project, including the use of technological platforms).

Available funding

Funding is available for 24-month projects, with maximum CHF 300’000 per project.

Eligible costs include and are limited to:

  • Personnel costs
  • Travel and conference costs
  • Scientific equipment(s) and other infrastructure of durable value
  • Research funds

Check the application guidelines for more details.

How to apply

Please read carefully the application guidelines.

All required documents must be submitted via the online submission platform.

All documents must be submitted in English.

Application deadline

The deadline for the fourth call for proposals is 1 June 2021 (17:00 CEST).

Selection process

Proposals will be evaluated by a committee chaired by Professor Pierre Magistretti and comprising one representative of the Fondation Bertarelli and two other scientists, to be appointed by the chair and the Fondation Bertarelli.

Contact: research@epfl.ch