Learn about the topic of personalized health and the organisation PHRT on this page.
Advances in life science and information technology allow researchers to collect and analyze large volumes of health data. This can include clinical data, multi-omics data (e.g., genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, etc), imaging data, data from biobanks, and health data collected by individuals. These advancements have opened up the possibility to use each patient’s individual molecular makeup and characteristics as a basis for guiding medical decisions, preserving health and improving therapies.
Personalized Health and Related Technologies (PHRT) is a strategic focus area of the ETH Domain which encompasses six Swiss research institutions: ETHZ, EPFL, PSI, Empa, Eawag and WSL. The goals of PHRT include leading the ongoing life science revolution that will ultimately transform medicine as it is today into ‘individualized medicine’. In essence, a person’s unique biological makeup will guide decisions on how to maintain and restore health. PHRT supports ETH Domain researchers by different types of research grants.
PHRT has a compact administrative structure. Funded projects are selected on a competitive basis according to their ranking by peer review and whether they comply with the aims and scope of the call for proposals. The responsibility to achieve the stated goals, manage funds, recruit and manage personnel, as well as the duty to report progress is delegated to the respective project leaders. This allows the effective allocation of financial resources to actual research projects as well as infrastructure needs, according to the evaluation criteria defined within the Strategic Focus Area (SFA). The PHRT office is hosted by ETH Zurich. It supports the EC and is in charge of the administrative and daily operation of the SFA such as preparation of meetings, controlling, budgeting and reporting.
The projects are implemented by the research institutions in collaboration with the Swiss Data Science Center (SDSC), as well as SPHN. Issues pertaining to intellectual property need to be carefully addressed.
Life science research currently undergoes a drastic revolution. Today’s medicine is being ultimately transformed into “individualized medicine”: in essence, a person’s unique biological makeup will guide decisions on how to maintain and restore his or her health. The Strategic Focus Area Personalized Health and Related Technologies (PHRT) aims at contributing cutting-edge research to this worldwide endeavor. To this end, the ETH Domain initiative is being coordinated with universities, hospitals and other initiatives in Switzerland, notably the Swiss Personalized Health Network (SPHN).
ETH Zurich, Empa, EPF Lausanne and the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) are the natural ETH Domain partners (“Partner(s)”) of the Strategic Focus Area Personalized Health and Related Technologies (PHRT).
Legally speaking, PHRT has the form of a “simple society”. ETH Board approved a total of CHF 100 million for the period 2017-2024 in two phases. The present Partnership Agreement is based on the agreement of the first phase and sets the frame for a smooth implementation of the PHRT program.