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University Medicine Zurich (UMZH)

Strategy and Multi-year Planning

The excellent condition in Zurich makes it possible to tackle current and future medical challenges with innovative spirit and expertise. Based on this strength, the UMZH institutions have agreed on an umbrella strategy and defined precision medicine as the first thematic focus. The vision is to make Zurich a center for precision medicine with a focus on oncology.

We will approach our efforts primarily through establishing central infrastructures, the support of three research centers dedicated to precision medicine and the allocation of competitive funding for technology platforms. These three pillars form the basis for UMZH's multi-year planning and provide a broad framework for the promotion of precision medicine. The fourth pillar includes other important aspects for the UMZH: The promotion of young talent and innovation.

Central infrastructure: The Biomedical Informatics Platform (BMIP) and the centrally coordinated UMZH Biobank are the two central infrastructure projects. Both are located at The LOOP Zurich research center. The aim of the BMIP is to create a compatible data processing environment in Zurich. The second investment for precision medicine of the future concerns the UMZH Biobank. There are currently several biobanks at the university hospitals that are not linked to each other. We are therefore aiming for a centrally coordinated UMZH Biobank in which certified samples and data are stored in a structured and organized form and can be used by all UMZH researchers. The third central platform is the translational surgical research and teaching center OR-X (Operating Room X), which has opened at Balgrist University Hospital in 2023. This center allows for completely new training approaches and is open to both UMZH researchers and external parties.

Research centers: The Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCCZ), the Tumor Profiler Center (TPC) and The LOOP Zurich (LOOP) are three research centers with a focus on precision medicine. The CCCZ and the TPC concentrate on oncology, while the LOOP has a broader research portfolio. Oncology is traditionally strong in Zurich and has a long history. The three centers are directly supported by UMZH funds to push new developments.

Competitive allocation of funds: Competitive calls for UMZH technology initiatives form the third pillar of multi-year planning. This pillar is open to all areas of precision medicine (not limited to oncology), allowing all UMZH institutions to contribute. The aim is to initiate or expand important technology platforms.

Promoting young talent: UMZH is in the process of setting up an Advanced Clinician Scientists Program. This is intended to fund protected research time for doctors who are pursuing a career in both clinical practice and research.

Promoting innovation: The Therapy Development Accelerator (TDA) promotes ideas from UMZH members with a translational focus and the establishment of a company.