• A model of an artificial metalloenzyme which results from incorporation of an abiotic cofactor within a host protein.
    A model of an artificial metalloenzyme which results from incorporation of an abiotic cofactor within a host protein.

The idea for an NCCR on molecular systems engineering was first discussed in 2010. An idea, as all participants agree, that has much potential for success.

On 17 December 2013, Swiss Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann announced the support for a new National Centre of Competence in Research: The NCCR Molecular Systems Engineering. On 29 August 2014, the University of Basel and ETH Zürich celebrated the kick-off for this fascinating research journey, together with representatives from all universities and institutes involved, including the Universities of Berne, Geneva, Zurich, the EPFL in Lausanne, the PSI (Paul Scherrer Institute), the FMI (Friedrich Miescher Institute) and IBM Research Zürich.

The NCCR Molecular Systems Engineering brings together researchers from life sciences, chemistry, physics and biology as well as bioinformatics and engineering sciences. They will work together to address existing and future global challenges and develop new applications in medical diagnostics, therapy and treatment, and in the production of chemical substances.

Drawing on close to 100 researchers and support personnel, the NCCR Molecular Systems Engineering will explore and enable interdisciplinary research. Four work packages combine 26 projects and unite international academic and industrial support. The 26 project leaders have outstanding scientific reputations and industrial contacts. Altogether, they are involved in over 120 international academic and industrial collaborations and have started 15 companies. Renowned life science and chemical industries enthusiastically support the establishment of a new leading competence-centre for molecular systems engineering in the Basel area.

The commitments of the leading houses also include new (joint) professorships, establishing a degree program in Molecular Systems Engineering (MSc and PhD curricula) to shape the next generation of scientists and technologists, leading to a paradigm shift in molecular sciences and a new structure to the research landscape.

How it came about

After ETH Zurich established the D-BSSE in Basel (Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering), Wolfgang Meier and Daniel Müller soon learned that the Department of Chemistry at the University of Basel and the D-BSSE had a lot in common. They started working together successfully in projects funded by the European Union. Now, together with the NCCR-director Thomas Ward, they aim for one common goal!

The NCCR Molecular Systems Engineering

About Molecular Systems Engineering, molecular factories and practical applications.

The Partners

More about the University of Basel (leading house), ETH Zürich (co-leading house) and the universities and institutes involved in the NCCR Molecular Systems Engineering.


More about the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and National Centres of Competence in Research (NCCR).

Ask Us

If you would like to know more about the NCCR Molecular Systems Engineering, you can ask your questions here.