Two projects at the Adolphe Merkle Institute have been awarded funding by Innosuisse, the Swiss federal innovation agency. The first project, led by Dr. Fabienne Schwab, tackles the issue of environmental pesticide pollution. She has developed with her colleagues an efficient and safe solution to stimulate plant resistance with a bio-inspired degradable nanofertilizer. With close to CHF 400,000 in funding, Schwab and her partners plan to upscale over the next year and a half the synthesis of the nanofertilizer and to perform field trials. The project is an outcome of Schwab’s Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) Ambizione grant, which is aimed at young researchers who wish to conduct, manage and lead an independent project at a Swiss higher education institution.
The Hemolytics team, led by Dr. Jonas Pollard, has received a similar amount to pursue work on their malaria diagnostics tool over the next 18 months. The funding will go towards the development of a full protocol and of a device for the clinical validation of the presence of malaria. The device relies on the amplification of a malaria biomarker found in blood samples. The project has been previously supported by Innosuisse and the SNF via a Bridge grant, as well as through funding from the Gebert Rüf Foundation.
Both projects are being carried out with research partners at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland – Fribourg. The nanofertilizer project is also partnered by the Bern University of Applied Sciences’ School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences.