National Centres of Competence in Research (NCCR)
The National Centers of Competence in Research (NCCR) are federal instruments for promoting long-term research projects for transdisciplinary topics of strategic importance for science, economics and society in Switzerland. Thanks to the national network and local focus, the NCCRs help structure and open up the Swiss research landscape to new research directions which could not be achieved form individual institutions. The University of Basel is a leading or co-leading house for the following NCCRs:
New approaches to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria
The NCCR AntiResist is an interdisciplinary center for antibiotic research, in collaboration with researchers based at the Biozentrum, University Hospital Basel, the Department of Biomedicine and the Department of Biosystems at ETH Zurich in Basel. The aim is to find new antibiotics and develop alternative strategies to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria by linking basic research directly with clinical research.
The background is the increase in antibiotic resistance, which is an ever more pressing threat to global health and a problem in day-to-day clinical practice. Dehio and his team will develop these new active agents by starting with the patient. They aim to use specific tissue culture models in the lab to realistically simulate the infection process in humans, in order to discover new approaches for innovative antibiotics. This will build the groundwork for future collaboration with the pharmaceutical industry in the development of new drugs.
Quantum computer with silicon
The NCCR SPIN hopes to develop an exceptionally scalable technology to enable the construction of a universally usable quantum computer. Warburton and his team are pinning their hopes on silicon, a semiconductor that has been a proven material in the industry for decades. They are convinced that silicon technology is highly promising in the on-chip integration of billions of components, leading to a particularly high-performance quantum computer.
The researchers of the "SPIN" team have been working successfully for many years on questions of quantum computing using spin qubits, but so far mainly with other semiconductors. The production of silicon nanostructures for qubits is particularly demanding and is carried out in cooperation with the IBM research laboratory in Rüschlikon. This industrial research laboratory has the necessary expertise in silicon nanofabrication and will, among other things, manufacture prototypes from silicon components.
Director: Prof. Dr. Richard J. Warburton (University of Basel)
Co-Director: Prof. Dr. Daniel Loss (University of Basel)
Deputy Director: Dr. Heike Riel (IBM Research Zurich)
Deputy Co-Director: Prof. Dr. Jelena Klinovaja (University of Basel)
Molecular Systems Engineering (2014-2026)
Biological systems are characterized by special properties that are challenging to reproduce in artificial systems. Biological systems are, for example, capable of producing new functional molecular components to control complex molecular processes. Thanks to advances in the fields of systems chemistry and biology, the life sciences and nanosciences, researchers are beginning to better understand the structural principles developed by nature at the molecular level. The NCCR Molecular Systems Engineering will provide the basic knowledge for the development of artificial molecular systems – for example by designing innovative, functional molecules that work like their biological counterparts but for very specific purposes. Examples include nano-containers that transport substances or signals or help to break down toxic compounds. Initial tests show that it might be possible to produce these kinds of molecular machines on an industrial scale.
Quantum Science and Technology (2011-2023)
Quantum mechanics is a groundbreaking theory of physics and forms the foundation for many modern technical devices. Firstly, it describes the behaviour of quantum particles such as atoms, electrons and photons which behave completely differently to the macroscopic objects in our everyday lives. In recent years, theoretical physicists have put forth concepts that can be employed to use the non-intuitive properties of quantum mechanics in new ways. Tailor-made quantum systems can be realized in experiments and studied with a precision that was unimaginable until recently. The NCCR Quantum Science and Technology (QSIT) studies modern quantum physics, in particular future applications in the field of information technology. 33 research groups work together in the QSIT NCCR. ETH Zurich is the leading house of the research network and the University of Basel is co-leading house.
eikones – Center for the Theory and History of the Image (2005-2017)
The digital revolution unfolding since the early 1990s has transformed the old, inert image into an extremely flexible instrument. Even in the modern world of science, images are an indispensable research tool. Questions about the image, its ability to unlock knowledge, its power and its impact are at the core of topics treated by the previous National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) “Iconic Criticism - the power and meaning of images” that will be continued as eikones Research Center.
“Iconic Criticism” gives the same attention to the image that language has received for centuries. In various disciplines, the image is considered as an established topic of research and is subject to critical reflection with the aim of developing expert knowledge to deal with images in their diverse facets, intellectual and historical perspectives as well as political, practical and artistic points of view.
Nanoscale Science (2001-2013)
From 2001-2013, the University of Basel was the leading house of the NCCR "Nanoscale Science". Emerging from this NCCR was the Swiss Nanoscience Institute (SNI) at the University of Basel as a center of excellence for nanoscience and nanotechnology. It was founded in 2006 by the Canton Aargau and the University of Basel in order to promote research, education and technology transfer in nanoscience and nanotechnology in Northwestern Switzerland. In 2016, the Nano Imaging Lab was established, that offers imaging services for research groups and external partners. The technology division and the electronic and mechanical workshops of the Department of Physics are available to researchers.