Microbials: Direct Use of Micro-Organisms – since 2016

10.02.2017 – Launch of Call 2017

CHF 2 million p.a. for innovative and applied projects dealing with the direct use of modified or domesticated micro-organisms. With its initiative, Gebert Rüf Stiftung seeks to generate a significant impact by exploiting the potential and widespread use microbial resources in health and technology.  The focus is on applications in human and veterinary medicine, the environment, energy production, water treatment, food science and other areas.

The Programme

Microbial Resources in Health and Technology

The opportunities for the development of new tools in health care, drug discovery, the environment, agriculture and food production are increasingly limited by the availability of novel chemical compounds. Innovative approaches and solutions are needed.

Whereas “biologics“ describes products extracted from biological sources, there is a far greater potential in the direct use of micro-organisms – engineered viruses, bacteria, populations of microbes that work together in symbiosis – as a means of production, treatment and research. The use of microbial resources to produce desired effects within living organisms or in natural or man-made ecosystems bears powerful and underexploited tools.

Microbes could move a petroleum-based economy towards sustainable and environmentally-friendly industry. They could also change the way we handle drug delivery and help to develop new and efficacious therapies for health challenges. The exploration of microbial biodiversity to find “bioactives” can be integrated into microbiology, chemistry and biochemistry disciplines to create coordinated pipelines for discovery and commercial development.

The Potential of Microbes and Microbioms

Microbes are micro-organisms so tiny that millions can fit into the eye of a needle. They occur naturally in the environment and are found almost everywhere. The human body alone is estimated to host 10 to 100 trillion microbes. Countless micro-organisms live in the soil and in close relation to plants, making up the plant’s microbiome. Advances in genome technologies have led to spectacular insights into the complexity and prevalence of microbiomes throughout the planet, including those within the human body.

The microbiome is now known to contribute significantly to human health and disease, to regulate global biogeochemistry, and to harbour much of our planet’s genetic diversity. Microbes play important roles in ecosystems of all types. Despite their small size, the sheer number of microbes living on the planet will influence resource management and distribution. They evolve and adapt rapidly; they provide a largely untapped resource for innovation and technological advances in many fields. Its potential for applications in medicine, the environment, agriculture, energy production and nutrition is clear, yet an innovative exploration of the power of micro-organisms is needed.

Support Criteria

  • Clear project identity
  • Application- and impact-oriented in high-impact fields
  • Original, innovative, creative
  • Interdisciplinarity and cross-institutional collaborations
  • Not merely additional (residual) financing of large initiatives
  • 2 to 3 years, max. CHF 300,000 to 500,000;
  • No infrastructure financed, only salaries and material costs linked to project

Submission of Projects

  • The documents must be submitted by the leader of the project management team.
  • The application must include a letter of endorsement from the Institute or Department Head.
  • The application form can be downloaded from the Gebert Rüf Stiftung website.
  • Submission deadline for projects: 28 July 2017

Project Evaluation and Monitoring

  • The projects will be evaluated by a programme jury.
  • The foundation’s decision will be communicated in mid-November 2017.
  • The leaders of the successful projects and the programme management of Gebert Rüf Stiftung will define the deliverables and the reporting requirements in a contract.

Networking and Collaboration Platform

Join the Microbials Group on LinkedIn.

Jury Members

  • Prof. Dr. Rudolf Marty, Gebert Rüf Stiftung, President
  • Dr. Jürg Ernst Frey, Agroscope
  • Prof. Dr. Martin Fussenegger, ETH Zurich 

  • Dr. Frank Petersen, Novartis
  • Prof. Dr. Jürg Schifferli, Gebert Rüf 
Stiftung, Board Member 

  • Prof. Dr. Marcel Tanner, Gebert Rüf Stiftung, Board Member
  • Prof. Dr. Didier Trono, EPF Lausanne 

Programme Management

Dr. Pascale Vonmont, Gebert Rüf Stiftung, CEO/Director, Bäumleingasse 22/4, 4051 Basel
Fon +41 61 270 88 24, pascale.notexisting@nodomain.comvonmont@grstiftung.notexisting@nodomain.comch

The winners of the call 2016

5 finalists out of 54 submissions

Deadlines of Call 2017

– Launch: February
– Deadline: 28 July
– Decisions: November

Downloads Call 2017

Application form

Quicklinks projects

Projectlist area of activity

Networking and Collaboration Platform

Join the Microbials Group on LinkedIn.

Picture Credits Header

Algae C. Staurestrum; © Dr. Martin Oeggerli, Micronaut, in cooperation with Susanne Erpel, CCINA, Biozentrum, University of Basel