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1 Structure of the NCCR
The structure of the NCCR is shown in the organisation chart:


2 Description of the functioning of bodies and assemblies

2.1 SNSF Review Panel

The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) designates an external Review Panel for each NCCR. The Review Panel provides guidance and advice to the NCCR in scientific, administrative and financial matters. The members review the performance of the NCCR and ensure that the NCCR's activities are consistent with their goals and objectives. The Panel reports its findings to the SNSF.
The NCCR Review Panel consists of members of the national and international research community as well as representatives from the public and private sectors served by the NCCR's activities (industry, public services, administration).

2.2 International Scientific Advisory Board

The International Scientific Advisory Board (ISAB) consists of selected individuals who are recognized as international experts in trade issues, as well as representatives of international programs and peer reviewers knowledgeable about NCCR themes. The ISAB has been selected by the Board of Directors and consists of individuals who are not directly involved in the NCCR.

The members of the IEW/WTI NCCR International Scientific Advisory Board are:

Prof. em. Claus Dieter Ehlermann, Wilmer Cutler Pickering LLP, Brussels
Dr. Gary Hufbauer, Institute of International Economics (IIE), Washington D.C.
Prof. John H. Jackson, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington D.C.
Prof. em. Jörg Paul Müller, University of Berne
Prof. Sylvia Ostry, University of Toronto

The ISAB members provide advice to the Board of Directors, the Executive Committee and the Individual Projects relating to the research activities of the NCCR. This includes the review of the annual program, annual scientific reports and work plans. As scholars, they may also contribute to the research effort and make contributions. Recommendations are also made on research areas that need to be strengthened or developed. The ISAB also serves as external reviewers in scientific, knowledge transfer and training matters as well as promoting inter-linkages between the various research topics and providing advice on individual research groups. ISAB members are invited to attend NCCR symposia and workshops, in particular the annual NCCR conference.

The Executive Committee administers all communication between the ISAB and the NCCR. Communication is normally transmitted by electronic means but it can also be conducted through telephone conversations and informal meetings. The ISAB formally meets once a year to evaluate the progress made by the NCCR, to review the forthcoming research objectives and to make necessary recommendations. Management of the ISAB meetings is done by the members in attendance.

2.3 Board of Directors

The Board of Directors (BoD) of the NCCR consists of the Director, an Alternate Director and two Deputy-Directors.
Members of the IEW/WTI NCCR Board are:

Director: Prof. Thomas Cottier (IEW and WTI, University of Berne)
Alternate Director: Prof. Richard Baldwin (HEI, University of Geneva)
Deputy Director: Prof. Christine Kaufmann-Breining (University of Zurich)
Deputy Director: Prof. Andreas Ziegler (University of Lausanne)

The Scientific Coordinator acts as a secretary to the Board but does not have the right to a vote. Simple majority conducts decision-making, with the Director retaining a veto right on all matters. The BoD formally convenes every three months. The Director can invite guests to attend the meeting as observers on an ad hoc basis.

The duties of the board are to formulate policies, guidelines and concepts that determine the research effort and the management of the IEW/WTI-NCCR.

  • The Board is responsible for staff decisions relating to IP leaders and Alternate IP Leaders; 
  • The Board is responsible for establishing major personnel policies for all staff members;
  • The Board reviews the annual financial accounts of each Individual Project in correlation with the research output and the financial management of the NCCR as a whole;
  • The Board formulates the minimum standards that are applicable to agreements between the Individual Projects and national and international partner organizations;
  • The Board acts on any other duty or directive as requested by the Review Panel of the SNCF;
  • The Board considers matters brought before it by other organs within the NCCR, in particular complaints brought to its attention on matters relating to personnel and research.

2.4 Research Council

The Research Council (RC) is the principal academic forum of the NCCR and is comprised of the leaders and alternate leaders of the Individual Projects. The forum meets every three months and is chaired by the Director of the NCCR.

The main objective of the RC is to ensure the mutual exchange of information and the continual integrated research effort of the various Individual Projects. It provides IP Leaders with the opportunity to interact on a broad basis and interrelate on the most recent advances in research. It also allows IP Leaders to voice their concerns, provide input and make suggestions on research methodology and to assess progress within the broad theme of the NCCR.

2.5 Executive Committee

The Executive Committee (EC) consists of the Director, the Scientific Coordinator and the Administrative Coordinator. Its purpose is to provide a streamlined management structure that implements all aspect of the NCCR according to the decisions made by the Board of Directors. The EC is responsible for all internal and external communication flows and the overarching coordination of the research output of the various Individual Projects.

The Director is responsible for the overall implementation of and development of the NCCR vis-à-vis the Swiss National Foundation. The function assumes overall planning; the stimulation of research and interaction between clusters and IPs; the development of appropriate management structures; budgetary assignments; external communications. The Director supervises and is assisted in his function by the scientific and administrative coordinator.

The Scientific Coordinator (SC) has responsibility for the following duties:

  • Knowledge Management
    The SC ensures that there is a continual exchange of information and research efforts to facilitate mutual learning to the benefit of all partners involved. The principal responsibility is to maintain learning processes throughout the NCCR and enhance the collaboration with external research partners.
  • Education & Training
    The SC provides the necessary opportunities for learning and training of research staff through meetings and exchanges of experience and results among PhD students and senior researchers within the NCCR. These events assist in promoting a coherent and integrated research effort through all Individual Projects.
  • Knowledge Transfer
    Knowledge transfer entails the dissemination of research output to existing and potential users. The SC is responsible to manage the knowledge transfer activity whether by way of publications, workshops, conferences and informal meetings. The SC also monitors the knowledge transfer efforts that occur at the IP level.
  • Networking
    The principal advantage of the NCCR research effort is that it established the foundation for a broad research network. The inputs of network partners are crucial to maintaining constant innovation in research. The SC is responsible for identifying potential network partners in Switzerland and internationally that can serve to enhance the research effort and synergy between the various IP's. An established network will enhance the exchange of information and ideas within the NCCR.
  • Implementation of Management Structures
    The SC also assists the Director in the implementation of management structures for the NCCR, including but not limited to those governing relations with the SNSF and the communications strategy.
The Administrative Coordinator (AC) has responsibility for the following duties:

  • Logistics
    The AC provides the logistical support that is required on both the IP and the management level. Whether it be preparing for a conference or making travel arrangements for a visiting scholar, the AC will provide the necessary logistical infrastructure and support.
  • Human Resources
    The AC will also tend to all issues relating to the management of the NCCR's human capital. The AC will administer and provide the necessary support for all employees ranging from employment contracts to payment of benefits.  In cooperation with the various IPs, the AC will continually monitor and promote the advancement of women on an equal opportunity basis, giving adequate attention to the Advancement of Women.
  • Finances & Administration
    The AC will be directly responsible to the management of the overall administrative NCCR budget on a daily basis. All financial authority will rest with the Executive Committee. The EC will be directly accountable to the Board of Directors who will review the financial state of the NCCR at every board meeting

2.6 General Council

All persons who are either actively involved, intend to become actively involved, or are affiliated with the NCCR are eligible to partake in the occasional meetings of the General Council and the yearly NCCR Conference. A member of the Board of Directors chairs the General Council.

The General Council (GC) facilitates broad representation throughout the NCCR. It provides the opportunity for the scientific and administrative staff to voice concerns, to interact on a broad array of issues that not only pertains to research issues but also to the day-to-day management and operation of the NCCR.

While the GC is not a decision-making body it serves as a repository of recommendations and facilitates the exchange of information at the NCCR. It allows for the discussion of major issues that emerge during the implementation of the NCCR and serves as a forum for debating scientific outcomes and approaches. Recommendations made at the GC can be adopted by simple majority voting, subject to the consent of the majority of the BoD.

The GC is an important instrument for opinion building, motivation, knowledge exchange and awareness creation. It will be convened whenever there is an opportunity or a legitimate request for a meeting.

3 Individual Projects

There are 12 Individual Projects throughout the NCCR arranged according to the various research topics that have been selected. The Individual Project Leader (IPL) and an Alternate Individual Project Leader (AIPL) both head up the individual projects (IP's). The IPLs and AIPLs are able to identify and select a subset of research topics that ties in with the research objective of the IP and the NCCR as a whole.

3.1 Research Clusters

The 12 individual projects are grouped into three main research clusters or areas.  The clusters and their leaders include:

Cluster A           Constitutional Topics
Coordinator       Prof. Christine Kaufmann-Breining (University of Zurich)
Alternate           Prof. Andreas Ziegler (University of Lausanne)

Cluster B           Unresolved Regulatory Issues
Coordinator       Prof. Richard Baldwin (HEI, University of Geneva)
Alternate           Prof. Graber (University of Lucerne)

Cluster C          Establishing Regulatory Linkages in International Trade, Investment and Finance
Coordinator      Prof. Baltensperger (University of Berne)
Alternate          Prof. Gugler (University of Fribourg)

Each research cluster includes a number of inter-related IPs.  Working in cooperation with the IP leaders, the primary responsibility of the cluster coordinators is to oversee research within their respective clusters, and to identify new opportunities for collaborative research efforts.  They also liaise with the scientific coordinator to ensure coherence across research areas and effective collaboration.

3.2 Key responsibilities of IP research staff

i) Individual Project Leaders

  • overall supervision of project research and knowledge dissemination
  • supervision of PhD Candidates working on the individual project (IP)
  • joint publications with IP members
ii) Alternate Individual Project Leaders
The AIPL assumes the following responsibilities under the supervision of the IP leader, and in cooperation with the leader of the cluster, the scientific coordinator and the director of the NCCR:

  • planning of research activities of the IP jointly with the Project Leader; elaboration and maintenance of research planning and documents
  • elaboration of an individual research agenda with a view to achieve post-doctoral qualifications (habilitation or equivalent), after four years
  • securing the output of at least two working papers of research annually, jointly with members of the IP or other IP teams. Publication of at least one major paper annually
  • co-ordination of research efforts within the IP jointly with the Project Leader, in particular of PhD students working for the IP. Support PhD students
  • animation and maintenance of research network with external partners and interested researchers and institutions
  • organization of biannual workshops and symposia for the IP at the World Trade Institute and securing participation of interested researchers and institutions; securing exchange of views and discussions of research efforts and results
  • securing close contact and interaction with IPs working in related areas in daily work. Securing exchange of information. Participation in workshops of related IPs. Offering comments on work submitted by other IPs at biannual workshops
  • participation at external conferences relevant to the field of research; presentation of papers and acting as discussant
  • securing reporting requirements of the IP to the NCCR cluster and project management
  • tutoring individually assigned students at the WTI, in particular the MILE program Supervision of master theses in cooperation with the director of studies
AIPL may assume additional teaching and consulting activities within the framework of WTI in their spare-time, subject to the requirements of the NCCR. Such activities are paid for separately. AIPL are free to undertake other activities outside the scope of their part time employment with the NCCR under the terms of this job description.

iii) PhD Students:

  • assist the IP Leader on NCCR-related research (50%)
  • pursue a PhD related to the NCCR project under the supervision of the IP leader (50%)
Any other tasks that PhD students may be asked to undertake by the IP leaders, e.g. teaching should be directly aligned with their personal research interests or the research that they are undertaking on behalf of the NCCR, of a limited duration, voluntary and remunerated.

4 Processes within the NCCR

4.1 Changes in the NCCR regulations

Respecting article 4 of the NCCR contract, the Director is responsible for establishing an efficient and effective management and organizational structure for the NCCR.   The rules governing these structures are embodied in this document; they include, inter alia, rights of participation and co-determination of parties participating in the NCCR, as well as procedures for decision-making.
The Director is to undertake his managerial obligations in conjunction with the various expert and operational bodies described in Part 2 of these rules.  Any changes to the rights of participation and co-determination, or, more generally, the Rules of Procedure themselves can only be taken upon consultation with the Board of Directors.  This specifically includes: 

  • Creation, termination and constitution of consulting bodies and assemblies
  • Changes in the composition of consulting bodies and assemblies
  • Changes in the rights and duties of consulting bodies and assemblies

4.2 Changes in the NCCR research projects

The Director's ultimate managerial responsibilities entitle him to apply to the SNSF Research Council for approval of new projects, or for the termination of an Individual Project.

In case of the premature termination of an Individual Project, the SNSF will all give the head(s) of the project concerned - or, if appropriate, their respective institutions or employers - an opportunity to be heard before reaching a decision concerning the Director's request.
The Director may also implement the following changes to individual research projects, without any need for approval from the SNSF:

  • Changes to the constitution of Individual Projects
  • Changes in IP leadership and their responsibilities
  • Substantial budgetary reallocations among projects
Changes (other than an augmentation of budgetary allocations, or responsibilities) may only be made on the basis of consultation with the Board of Directors, and in the presence of justified evidence that the project(s) in question and/or their leadership are not meeting scientific standards, or are jeopardizing the attainment of the NCCR's objectives more generally.
To effect minor budgetary reallocations among projects, the Director will not be obligated to substantiate his decisions.  Individual projects that "perform", i.e. in terms of the measures implemented by the SNSF will be rewarded whereas those that do not may see their original allocations reduced.

4.3    Finances

Budgeting and control of the budget are the duties of the Director. The Administrative Coordinator will provide reports on the budget to him every three months.  The Director will decide on the use of reserve funds and the transfer of resources between individual projects in accordance with the relevant articles of the NCCR contract. 

As outlined in the NCCR Budget Guidelines document, accounting for the NCCR will be centralised through the University of Bern's IEW and WTI. Members of individual projects send all bills and receipts concerning outlays covered by the funds allotted to their IP for reimbursement to the NCCR administrators in Berne. Employment costs will be covered by regular payments from the Administrative Coordinator to the employing institution upon receipt of an invoice. Details are subject to negotiations between the Administrative Coordinator and individual institutions.

Should there be a positive balance in any IP's budget at the end of the financial year, the surplus funds may be credited to the IP's budget for the coming year.  The IP must keep the NCCR administrators in Bern informed with respect to how the funds carried over are to be spent.

4.4. Transition to subsequent phases of the NCCR

If the NCCR is to be continued beyond the initial four-year contribution period, the Director will be obligated to submit a coherent concept for the continuation of the NCCR with the third Progress report to the SNSF (respecting Article 18 of the NCCR contract). 

As part of the concept paper preparation process, there will be a formal call for the continuation of existing projects and the institution of new ones.  No preference will be given in this process to requests for the continuation of existing projects, particularly if, as currently envisaged, the second phase entails a shift in the NCCR's focus to an analysis of the status and role of private parties in the international regulatory process.

The Director will retain ultimate authority over the selection of projects for the second phase.  Decisions will be made in consultation with the Board of Directors.  They will be based on a series of written criteria for the selection/continuation of projects that will be circulated prior to the call for bids, as well as existing projects' performance during the initial four-year contribution period.  At a minimum, the criteria will include: requirements for the continuation of existing projects, including bids for funding at different levels than during the initial four-year contribution period; strategic ideas for how to alter or re-direct existing projects; information on the general research questions to be examined during the upcoming phase of the NCCR, details on how the bid evaluation process is to be conducted and information on who will have the authority to halt existing projects that are not re-funded.

SNF - Swiss National Science Foundation The National Centres of Competence in Research are a research instrument of the Swiss National Science Foundation