The Nano-Tera.CH program has several objectives, such as pursuing excellence in collaborative scientific research in engineering disciplines, creating and expanding educational programs, constructing demonstrators of the technologies being studied and transferring the results to the Swiss industry.
Advanced research for health, security and the environment requires the meaningful and efficient acquisition, processing, transmission, management and integration of data coming from a very large number of heterogeneous sources. Thus, the scientific unifying theme of this program is to design and demonstrate tera-scale networks that combine information coming from different sources, such as bio-medical information, physical quantities, audio-visual-sensorial information, etc. Whereas the design of large-scale networks proved to be feasible and successful in many domains (e.g., the Internet revolution), we aim at raising current network capabilities in two directions:
- heterogeneity of sources and applications;
- scale, complexity and adaptation to the human and environmental landscape.
To achieve its research objectives, the nano-tera.ch program covers two major strategic axes:
- Research and development of advanced technologies, such as:
Integration of these technologies into application fields, such as wearable systems (e.g., for monitoring of patients, sportsmen, and the elderly), ambient systems (e.g., for environmental intelligence, building monitoring and virtual world) and remote systems (e.g., space applications such as pico-satellites, remote sensing).
- micro/nano-electronics, electromechanical systems (MEMS/NEMS) and manufacturing processes;
- (bio)-sensors, actuators and their system-level integration;
- information and communication sciences as well as systems and software engineering.
The nano-tera.ch program is organized in the matrix-like structure depicted below:
Figure 1. nano-tera.ch program structure
The five vertical technology axes intersect the three horizontal application fields. This space defines areas of cross-disciplinary research targeted towards the overall program objectives, which are systems for health, security and the environment.
The nano-tera.ch program has several characteristics, which make it different from other research funding programs, namely:
- Engineering of complex (tera) systems out of small (nano) components, by leveraging scientific and technological discoveries, with the objective of developing technology demonstrators that can be transformed into products in the medium term.
- Synergy of various disciplines through well-coordinated research efforts, to explore topics at the boundary of traditional scientific domains.
- Collaborative nature and significant funding size of the average research projects (and specifically Research, Technlogy and Development projects) which would not be otherwise available through usual channels (e.g. SNSF projects).
- Social relevance, in terms of projected benefits to health, security and the environment.
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