SDC and Swiss National Science Foundation launch development programme for transdisciplinary research, innovation and sustainability

Bern, 13.01.2022 - The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) are jointly launching a new applied research programme focused on the fight against poverty and on sustainable development. The programme, undertaken in partnership with organisations directly involved in development, is aimed at researchers from Switzerland and the Global South. The SDC will contribute approximately CHF 19 million to the programme, set to run from 2022 to 2026. Research and innovation are key to achieving the objectives of the International Cooperation Strategy 2021–24.

The SDC and the SNSF have extended their partnership until 2030. As part of this partnership, they have now launched a 'Solution-Oriented Research for Development Programme' (SOR4D).

The new programme responds to the scientific and development communities' expressed need for greater opportunities to conduct transdisciplinary research and deliver innovative solutions that are specifically tailored to the needs of people on the ground.

Spotlight on Swiss research and excellence

This new instrument is specifically designed to involve the Swiss scientific community. About 80% of the SDC's research funding is targeted at the international scientific community. The SOR4D programme aims to harness and promote the great potential of Swiss research institutions active in development.

A first call for projects will be published in the coming weeks. Swiss researchers will be able to submit projects to be carried out in partnership with researchers from developing countries as well as with public and private sector actors active in the field of development. The aim is to conduct research that yields workable, concrete solutions to pressing development challenges.

The submitted project proposals will be evaluated by a committee of international experts in science and development. This competitive approach is designed to ensure that the most interesting and promising ideas and partnerships are taken forward. With an SDC budget of about CHF 19 million over five years (2022–26), the SOR4D programme will facilitate the implementation of up to 28 three-to-four-year projects costing CHF 500,000 to CHF 1,000,000.

SOR4D helps fulfil Swiss commitments

The commitments made by Switzerland in its Foreign Policy Strategy 2020-23, its International Cooperation Strategy 2021–24 and towards its implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda require new approaches to expedite the transfer of knowledge and technology from science to practice.

The SOR4D programme is a direct contribution to these commitments. The programme is in line with the thematic priorities of the Foreign Policy Strategy and the International Cooperation Strategy, i.e. to promote scientific partnerships and harness Swiss innovation and the potential of education and research.

The SNSF is a long-standing SDC partner and a key player in efforts to foster scientific and academic research, including in the field of development cooperation.

SOR4D builds on the experience gained as part of the joint SDC-SNSF programme that preceded it – r4d – which will be wound up in 2023. The r4d programme has supported 57 research projects involving partnerships between researchers from Switzerland and developing countries.

These include: the development of an eco-friendly technology for the manufacture of building materials made from coconut husk fibre in the Philippines (COCOBOARD); the development of algorithms to optimise the prescription of antibiotics to sick children in Tanzania (e-POCT); the introduction of electrochemical advanced oxidation processes (EAOPs) to treat hospital wastewater in Côte d'Ivoire and Colombia; a school and vocational counselling initiative to promote employment in Burkina Faso and Togo.

Address for enquiries

FDFA Communication
Federal Palace West Wing
CH-3003 Bern, Switzerland
Tel. Press service: +41 58 460 55 55
Twitter: @SwissMFA


Federal Department of Foreign Affairs