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The Biozentrum, University of Basel

The Biozentrum of the University of Basel is one of the leading life sciences institutes in the world. The primary focus is basic molecular and biomedical research and teaching.  It’s international and interdisciplinary research groups explore how molecules and cells create life, spanning the scale from atom to organism. Founded in 1971, the Biozentrum has been the birth place of many fundamental discoveries in biology and medicine, spawning several Nobel Laureates.

In 1971, at the time when the Biozentrum was founded, the visionary concept of developing an interdisciplinary research facility was unique. Today, more than 50 years later, the success of this interdisciplinary approach to molecular and biomedical research remains evident. It continues to be the Biozentrum's greatest strength, along with its excellent facilities providing leading technologies and its highly motivated staff.

The Biozentrum is home to 32 research groups. These scientists, representing more than 40 nations, are engaged in investigating the molecular basis of biological processes. Their work covers a broad spectrum of activities, the scientific research is wide-ranging: How does a cell develop, how does it function and how are all its vital processes regulated? Can we make computer assisted models of these processes? How does a stem cell know what to become? How does a blood vessel form or the nervous system develop and how does the body defend itself against bacterial infections? Could the findings lead to new approaches in the treatment of serious diseases such as muscular diseases, Alzheimer's disease or cancer? Its 200 scientific publications every year – many in top-tier journals – numerous honors and awards and spawning several Nobel Prizes, attest to the Biozentrum’s success.  

The research groups of the Biozentrum are active in different areas of investigation, among them: Growth & Development, Infection Biology, Neurobiology, Structural Biology & Biophysics, as well as Computational & Systems Biology. These research areas, however, are not strictly separated from each other; new and relevant questions often arise at the overlap between the research fields and the collaboration between teams leads to innovative solutions. This has contributed greatly to the scientific success of the Biozentrum. Both its funding and infrastructure make the Biozentrum internationally highly competitive and ensures research of the highest level.

The Biozentrum enjoys an excellent reputation for its scientific training, both nationally and internationally. Students are integrated into a research environment from the start of their academic career and gain first-hand experience of life as a scientist. Being able to link education with research makes the bachelor’s and master’s degree programs at the Biozentrum particularly attractive for many aspiring students. PhDs and postdocs, on the other hand, benefit from the Biozentrum’s scientific success and the intensive, individual supervision.

One of the Biozentrum's top priorities is to further the next generation of scientists. Exceptionally talented postgraduate students are supported by the "Biozentrum PhD Fellowships" program. Young assistant professors benefit from the open and collegial atmosphere that has always been a characteristic of the Biozentrum and are given support in their career planning. This formula for success has more than proved itself. Today, many internationally successful scientists who began their careers at the Biozentrum are professors at prestigious academic institutions or highly qualified leaders in industry and business.

The Biozentrum in figures 

Members of staff in 2023
Total members of staff: 537
Professors:  32
Postdoctoral researchers:  112
PhD students:  137
Scientific staff, etc.:  46
Master Students:  42
Lab staff/Technicians:  132
Administration:  36
Annual financial statement 2023
Total expenditure:  CHF 67.5 million 
University of Basel:  66.1%
National Science Foundation:  19.9%
Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics 2.2%
Misc. third party grants:  11.7%