published: February 9, 2011
Technology Transfer within the SPSW
A most important feature of the SPSW is the support of three technology platforms.
- The Genetic Diversity Centre (GDC) - ETH Zurich
- The Chemical Analytical Service (CAS) - University of Neuchâtel.
- The Bio-molecular Analysis (BMA) - Universities of Lausanne and Geneva.
The three technology platforms not only provide technical support to all SPSW students and researchers. Increasingly the outcomes of the analyses are essential to scientific publications.
Luca Wacker is the coordinator of the technology platforms. Find out about his experiences so far:
By Luca Wacker
The technology platforms (TPs) were introduced by the Genetic Diversity Centre (GDC) at the ETH Zurich at an official opening event in December 2009. The SPSW cooperates with the GDC in the framework of the SPSW project and sponsors the employment of the GDC manager Aria Minder and a biostatistician Stefan Zoller. With all its equipment and the user lab mode, where the researchers are instructed how to work on their own, the GDC is an excellent opportunity for PhD students to learn new analysis techniques and tools. To create a special incentive to use the GDC, we have set up a voucher system. Various SPSW research groups have already taken advantage of this opportunity.
At the beginning of 2010, also the Chemical Analytical Service (CAS) in Neuchâtel and the Bio-Molecular Analysis (BMA) platform in Geneva and Lausanne had also purchased their new equipment and filled the position of the TP managers (Geneva: Dr. Markus Kaufmann, Lausanne: Dr. Sylwester Mazurek, Neuchâtel: Dr. Gaétan Glauser). By spring, the two TPs were well established and had started the first analyses. To promote our TPs, we made a promotion tour addressing all SPSW member institutions. At these occasions the TP managers could present their platforms. The first inquiries received by the TPs were often a result of this promotion tour. All in all, the first year of the TPs was already very busy, and the promotion work seems to have been successful, as already 87 projects from 35 different SPSW research groups have been handled. Nevertheless, we will continue to promote the service and expertise of the TPs among the SPSW members.
"Here you find a brief overview of the SPSW technology platforms, click to enlarge:"
"The PhD education is an important aspect of the TPs!"
In fall 2010, the GDC organized the first course for PhD students, and further courses at the CAS and BMA will follow in February and in spring. These courses will be an excellent opportunity for PhD students to benefit from expert knowledge and to increase their expertise in very specific analytical methods and techniques. Furthermore, visits of PhD students to perform analyses at one of the TPs will be supported with the SPSW mobility grants, which cover the cost of travel and accommodation.
We are still improving and simplifying the access to the TPs. At the moment, users have to submit new project requests atto the TPs by sending an Excel- files to the platform contact person containing their personal details and the project description.
"We are currently implementing a user and project management tool for the platform managers, which will also be available for the TP users later."
After the implementation of this tool, the users will be able to fill complete direct online web forms with personal information and details of their project.
With the TPs, the SPSW supports the aggregation of specific expert knowledge in the different regional networks, which is available to all SPSW members. The platform managers are keen to answer your questions regarding the analysis of your samples and to support you with advice. If you have general questions regarding the TPS or you have a new idea, please, do not hesitate to contact me.
Luca Wacker, SPSW Technology Platform Coordinator