3 April 2023

For the ninth time, the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) is launching a call for the special programme "Investigator Initiated Clinical Trials (IICT)". This programme supports randomised clinical trials that are of importance to patients because they represent an unmet medical need and are not in industry focus.

The IICT program acknowledges open research questions which have to be answered without funding and infrastructure from the pharmaceutical industry. However, submitting an application for this program is complex and time-consuming. Therefore, a careful approach is worthwhile. At the DKF, a great deal of experience has been gained in this regard over the past few years. The DKF Scientific Services teams are happy to share this experience with interested research groups.

SNF checklist and DKF key points plan

The SNSF provides a four-page checklist for preparing an application for the IICT program. It contains the most important information on the process, from the formulation of the letter of Intent to the final full proposal. Based on this checklist, the DKF Scientific Service Team Coordination & Project Management, together with other colleagues, has created a key points plan, which is available in German to all interested parties on the DKF website.

In eleven steps, the plan guides through the more than one-year submission period. It explains in detail which clarifications are necessary, which documents have to be created and how the submission is technically carried out. The key points plan provides an overview of the process and all the necessary details at the same time. Practical tips and numerous links will help researchers to complete all steps for a successful application quickly and without detours. Consulting and support by DKF Scientific Services is available at any time. However, researchers are requested to contact the DKF as soon as possible so that sufficient resources can be made available for comprehensive support.


Mandatory patient involvement

The IICT program is the first SNSF funding program to require the active involvement of patients or their representatives. The so-called "Patient and Public Involvement (PPI)" plan is a mandatory part of the application. It specifies measures for participation by those affected throughout the entire course of the study. For example, when it comes to defining the research question or the study endpoints, estimating the effort required to participate in a study or preparing patient information and lay summaries.

In this way, those affected can contribute their experiences with the respective disease, their views, preferences and expectations of the research. This should help to increase the usefulness and relevance of future research projects. The SNSF rewards convincing PPI plans with a separate grant for the preparatory phase of up to 5000 Swiss francs (PPI preparatory grant). This money can be used to pre-finance appropriate measures, regardless of whether the application is ultimately approved or not. The DKF also offers advice and support in PPI matters.

DKF-Eckpunkteplan IICT-Call

Investigator Initiated Clinical Trials (IICT) programme

Funding instrument of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)

Call for proposals

Deadlines 2023/2024
Letter of Intent:
until May 26, 2023

PPI Preparatory Grant:
until May 26, 2023

Final Proposal:
until November 1, 2023

Rebuttal Letter:
March 2024

end of June 2024