Direct Use of Micro-Organisms

Prochaine date:  19.06.2021

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

Objective: 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.

The microbiome is known to contribute significantly to human health and disease, to regulate global biogeochemistry, and to harbour much of the 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.


Youtube: Launching Microbials Call 2020

Support Criteria

  • The project has to be rooted at a Swiss university, federal institute of technology, research institutions affiliated with Swiss universites or at a university of applied sciences.
  • 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 max. 3 years, max. CHF 300,000;
  • No infrastructure financed, only salaries and material costs linked to project

Submission of Projects

The fifth and last call is launched with the deadline of 19 June 2020.

The application process on our webportal for the «Microbials» programme consists of two stages (online application, project proposal form). When composing your application, please follow the steps given below and answer all questions. We cannot accept proposals with incomplete information.

1. Fill out the online application form; you can save your work at any time.

2. Download the project proposal form

  • Fill out all fields in the Word template (shaded background). Use Times New Roman 11 and limit the proposal to 10 pages (excluding attachments).
  • The proposal must include a letter of endorsement from the Institute/Department Head.

Upload your project proposal form (Word template) including all attachments in the section «Proposal upload» of the web portal as one single pdf document.

Project Evaluation

  • The projects will be evaluated by a programme jury.
  • The foundation’s decision will be communicated in mid-November.
  • 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.

Jury Members

  • Prof. Dr. Roland Siegwart, 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, Haus der Stiftungen, St. Alban-Vorstadt 5, 4052 Basel
Fon +41 61 270 88 24, pascale.notexisting@nodomain.comvonmont@grstiftung.notexisting@nodomain.comch

Networking and Collaboration Platform

Join the Microbials Group on LinkedIn.

Approved projects Microbials

Call 2019: these are the winning projects out of 44 submissions

Dr. Kirsty Agnoli
University of Zurich, Department of Plant and Microbial Biology
Bacterial Biocontrol Agents 298'000
Prof. Dr. Matthias Erb
University of Bern, Institute of Plant Sciences
Bacterial symbiont engineering for biocontrol 300’000
Dr. Pierre Hohmann
FIBL, Crop Science
PhD Dan Ren
EPFL, Laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces
Solar-Bio Fuels 287'000
Dr. Javier Ribera
Empa, Functional Materials
Fungal Biobatteries 300'000
PhD Vanesa Natalin Rocha Martin
ETHZ, Department of Health Sciences and Technology
Microbes against
infant colic
Prof. Dr. Michael Scharl
University Hospital Zurich, Klinik für Gastroenterologie und Hepatologie
Developing a microbial-supported precision oncology therapy 300’000


Picture Credits Header

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

2. Map Egg Clutch, Captions: What looks like piles of yoghurt pots is an egg clutch of the Map (Araschnia levana), which deposits one egg on top of the other. Copyrights: © Martin Oeggerli 2010, supported by School of Life Sciences, FHNW.

3. Stinging Hair of a Stinging Nettle, Captions: Stinging hairs (trichomes) produce a painful stinging sensation by injecting a chemical mixture when touched by humans or other animals. They act like hypodermic needles: after the tip breaks off, a chemical mixture composed of histamine, acetylcholine, 5-HT (serotonin), moroidin, leukotrienes and formic acid is injected and causes pain or paresthesia. Copyrights: © Martin Oeggerli 2015, supported by S. Erpel, CCINA, Biozentrum, University Basel.