18 Swiss COST projects strengthen networks with Europe

© Huber & Starke

Tree identification by deep learning and better health for the elderly in a digital world: As part of the European COST programme, the SNSF is supporting 18 projects with 4.9 million francs.

Stefan Brönnimann (University of Bern) bases his research on urban climate temperature data for European towns and cities. This data is taken from the exchange platform created in the FAIRNESS COST Action. Using statistical approaches, he is seeking to characterise the urban heat island effect at high spatio-temporal resolution on the basis of air temperature measurements and to evaluate the influence of urban green spaces and the unsealing of surfaces.

This is one of 18 Swiss projects now being funded under COST, the programme that promotes European cooperation in the field of scientific and technical research. The goal is to support innovative research that leads to new concepts and products.

The SNSF evaluated 34 project proposals submitted by researchers in Switzerland in the 2022 COST call. 18 projects were approved and allocated a total of 4.9 million francs.

A wide range of topics

The funded projects will be conducted over the next four years. They cover a wide range of disciplines, from ecology to cell biology, mechanical engineering and veterinary medicine.

Verena Griess (ETH Zurich) is working on the accurate detection and identification of tree species in forests. Her primary goal is to develop deep-learning models based on high-resolution remote sensing imagery for the recognition of forest overstorey species. In addition, she wants to evaluate terrestrial laser scanning capabilities for species identification on the understorey. Automatic species detection will provide the basis for forest management to ensure more resilient forests.

Carlo Fabian (FHNW) will examine the needs and thoughts of elderly people in relation to health promotion solutions. This will include an assessment of their user-friendliness. He will analyse the framework conditions and barriers affecting the use of digital tools by older people. The aim is to generate a new vision for the promotion of healthy aging.

International networks

The COST programme is open to all disciplines. It brings together researchers from across Europe so that they can develop their ideas together in international networks, called “Actions”. COST Actions do not fund the research themselves, but support networking in the form of meetings, short-term scientific exchanges, training and dissemination activities. On average, a COST Action consists of research groups from 28 different countries.

Researchers based in Switzerland can also participate in COST Actions. The SNSF supports such projects with grants for, among others, young researchers who wish to establish broad international networks at an early stage in their career.