The r4d programme was launched in 2012 by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). Its organisational set-up involves numerous bodies.

​​​Actors involved in the r4d programme organisation


The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is the agency responsible for inte​rnational cooperation within the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). It is responsible for federal humanitarian aid and for the coordination of development activities and the cooperation with Eastern Europe together with other federal agencies. The SDC implements projects, supports programmes run by multilateral organisations and finances programmes in four operational areas: regional and global cooperation, humanitarian aid and cooperation with Eastern Europe.

The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) is the principal Swiss agency promoting scientific research. On behalf of the Swiss federal government, it supports research projects in all disciplines, from philosophy and biology to the nanosciences and medicine. Applications are evaluated through a competitive procedure based on peer reviews. The SNSF allocates grants worth a total of almost CHF 850 million to approximately 3’400 projects with more than 14,000 involved researchers each year (2014).

The National Research Council and its Presiding Board take the final funding decisions of the projects in the r4d programme.

Steering Committee

The Steering Committee is responsible for the overall strategic management and supervision of the r4d programme. Other core tasks include defining parameters and criteria for the calls for proposals. The SDC and the SNSF are equally represented in the Steering Committee.

The Steering Committee is composed of the following members:

  • Gabriella Spirli, SDC, representative of Regional Cooperation
  • Nicolas Randin, SDC, representative of Global Cooperation
  • Riccarda Caprez, SDC, Research Desk
  • Regina Aebi-Müller, SNSF, member of the National Research Council, Programmes Division
  • Stuart Lane, SNSF, member of the National Research Council, Programmes Division and of the Specialised Committee Careers
  • Pierre Willa, SNSF, Programmes Division

International Advisory Board

The six Review Panel presidents form the International Advisory Board. It considers the funded research activities and the results from an overall strategic perspective in light of the objectives set by the SDC and the SNSF. It advises the Steering Committee on a regular basis.

The International Advisory Board is composed of the following members:

  • Marjolein Dieleman, Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • Ian Johnson, formerly Club of Rome, United Kingdom
  • San Bilal, European Centre for Development Policy Management, Brussels, Belgium
  • Dirk Messner, German Development Institute, Bonn, Germany
  • Marie-Louise Newell, University of South Hampton, United Kingdom
  • Anthony Whitbread, ICRISAT, Hyderabad, India, and University of Göttingen, Germany

r4d Programme Management

The SNSF is responsible for the implementation of the r4d programme. The r4d programme management assures coherence in programme coordination, launch of calls, support of the monitoring and reporting process, online communication, events organisation, external and internal communication and administrative tasks for the Steering Committee and the International Advisory Board.​​ The following persons are working in the r4d management team: Claudia Zingerli (Programmes Division) and Stephanie Hoppeler (InterCo Division). The r4d programme implementation is moreover supported by the Financial staff members, the members of the Communications Division, and the IT and Business Services staff of SNSF.

Review Panels

Review Panels, composed of international experts, supervise the thematic modules and the thematically open module. They evaluate the submitted pre-proposals and proposals and assess the progress made in the projects based on results-oriented reporting.

The members of the six Review Panels feature on the respective module sites.


Projects in the r4d programme are carried out as interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary and transnational resesearch partnerships.

Researchers employed at Swiss research institutions and at research institutions in African, Asian and Latin American countries collaborate. Partners of at least one country of the category of least developed, low income or lower middle income countries (DAC list of OECD) have to engage in the research consortia. The participation of researchers from upper middle income countries is optional and must be justified with regard to the relevance of the country for the topic.

Policy, practice, private sector and civil society actors and stakeholders

The r4d programme supports excellent scientific research that contributes towards the solution of global problems. It is embedded in global development discourses and arenas shaped by public, practice, private sector and civil society actors and stakeholders. The r4d programme and the funded projects create numerous interfaces between researchers and representatives from other societal domains.

Stakeholder analyses and stakeholder relations management guide the transdisciplinary research set-ups and the co-creation of knowledge processes. Early stakeholder involvement will enable a productive knowledge exchange and learning for global sustainable development.




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