Technology for human health

Fondation Botnar donates 100 million for cutting-edge research for the benefit of children and young people worldwide

19.09.2018 – ETH Zurich and the University of Basel jointly founded the Botnar Research Centre for Child Health (BRCCH) in Basel today. The BRCCH brings together outstanding science and clinical research from various disciplines to develop new methods and digital innovations for worldwide use in paediatrics. The BRCCH is funded by a CHF 100 million contribution from Fondation Botnar in Basel.

ETH Zurich and ETH Zurich Foundation thank Fondation Botnar for its exceptional commitment to cutting-edge research and the well-being of children and adolescents.

The BRCCH operating institutions are ETH Zurich and the University of Basel. The Research Centre’s network also includes partner institutions such as the University Children’s Hospital of Basel and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute in Basel. It combines the expertise of both universities in systems biology, medicine and various areas of life sciences, engineering, social sciences and information technology that are relevant to health. With the results it produces, the BRCCH will help to prevent diseases, develop new treatment approaches, improve diagnoses and effectiveness forecasts, and make healthcare systems more affordable. The BRCCH aims to generate tangible results: “We want to have an impact on the lives of children and adolescents,” says Prof. Andrea Schenker-Wicki, Rector, University of Basel.

Transdisciplinary approach to research

At the BRCCH, basic researchers, clinical researchers and other scientists will collaborate closely in the fields of implementation research, health systems, health economics, educational science, ethics and law. The BRCCH will look at four main areas of paediatric research in particular: diabetes, infectious diseases/immunology, cardiorespiratory diseases and the restoration of bodily functions through regenerative surgery. The focus is on approaches geared to digital and mobile healthcare solutions and to cell-based therapies. “Our aim is to develop ground-breaking digital solutions to improve the health of children and adolescents,” says Prof. Lino Guzzella, President, ETH Zurich.

The transdisciplinary research approach combines medicine with data sciences and thus two research priorities at ETH Zurich. Around one third of all ETH researchers today are at least indirectly concerned with medical issues. This increasingly includes engineers, IT specialists and scientists. Together they are able to create digital innovations and make medicine more precise and effective.

Targeted investment by Fondation Botnar

The BRCCH is funded by a CHF 100 million contribution from Fondation Botnar in Basel, divided equally between the ETH Zurich Foundation and the University of Basel and spread over a 10-year period. Fondation Botnar is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of children and adolescents in fast-growing cities across the world. It invests in solutions that use and promote artificial intelligence and digital innovations. “Children and adolescents are a key part of our society. We want to give them tools to shape their lives successfully and to actively contribute to positive development. The BRCCH will provide many new solutions to help achieve this,” says Dr. Peter Lenz, President of the Board, Fondation Botnar. This involvement in the BRCCH represents a targeted investment by the foundation that was set up in 2003. The Research Centre will begin its operational activities at the start of 2019 in Basel and will be expanded gradually.

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