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Our History

1. Origin of the SSN

The ancestor of the Swiss Society for Neuroscience (SSN) was the so-called "Swiss Chapter" of the "International Brain Research Organization" (IBRO), grouping the scientists of the country active in the domain of Neurosciences. In 1996, the project of a transition to a new Society, the "Swiss Society for Neuroscience", was initiated and conducted by Prof. Volker Henn (Zurich). At its creation in 1997, the SSN inherited an approximate number of members close to 250.

When founded, the SSN declared the following goals:

  1. to advance the understanding of the nervous system and its diseases, by bringing together scientists and clinicians of various backgrounds
  2. to promote the exchange between basic and clinical research, as well as with industrial research
  3. to promote education in the basic and clinical neurosciences
  4. to promote exchange and collaboration at the international level
  5. to inform the general public on the results and implications of current research in the neurosciences

In 1998, the SSN joined the newly created "Federation of European Neuroscience Societies" (FENS), which replaced the former "European Neuroscience Association" (ENA). Presently, the FENS regroups > 30 National Neuroscience Societies with a total of > 20’000 members.


2. Membership

The number of (active) SSN members per year:

2020: 677 (433)

2019: 484 (466)

2018: 883 (531)

2017: 842 (566)

2016: 849 (646)

2015: 788 (569)

2014: 857 (680)

2013: 891 (646)

2011: 912

2008: 1000

2007: 850

2006: 790

2004: 700

2002: 550

2000: 450

1998: 350


3. Projects and Events

The SSN pursued the tradition of the "Swiss IBRO Chapter" to organize an annual "one day" meeting, taking place alternatively in Geneva, Lausanne, Fribourg, Bern, Basel and Zürich. Sometimes the meeting is organized jointly with a clinical Society (partner organizer). So far, the following clinical societies were involved (one each year):

Swiss Society for Clinical Neurophysiology, 2001

Swiss Society for Sleep Research, Sleep Medicine and Chronobiology (SGSSC), 2000, 2002, 2010

Swiss Society of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy (SSPP), 2003

Swiss Society for Behavioral Neurology (SSBN), 2004

Swiss Society of Biological psychiatry (SSBP), 1996-1999, 2005

Swiss Society for Neuroradiology, 2006

Swiss Society of Multiple Sclerosis (SSMS), 2007

A major commitment of the SSN is to support and promote young neuroscientists by offering competitive travel grants to attend a major international meeting (FENS meeting, Society for Neuroscience meeting and others) and by recognizing outstanding achievements (Best publication award, given annually since 2003) and excellent contribution to the annual meeting (Volker Henn best poster awards). The number of travel grants has increased from 2 per year in 2000 to 23 per year in 2004.

The rapid development of the SSN has allowed its council to initiate the following projects and activities:

In 2000, the SSN presented a bid to the FENS to be organizer of the 2004 FENS meeting. Lisbon was selected, but this tentative turned out to be a first step paving the way for the successful bid presented in 2004 (see below).

Introduction of the Newsletter (2002).

New version of the SSN Website (2004).

Ph.D. student day (2004)

Introduction of continuous education training course on animal experimentation (2004).

Choice by the FENS of Geneva as site for the 2008 FENS meeting (2004).

Nomination of the first "Honorary SSN Member": Professor K. Akert (January 28th, 2006)

New Website and Member Data Base (2009)

Brain Awareness Week (2010)


4. SSN Council

2021-2022     Anita Lüthi, Lausanne

2019-2020     Gregor Rainer, Fribourg

2017-2018     Pierre Lavenex, Lausanne

2015-2016     Daniel Kiper, Zürich

2013-2014     Christoph Michel, Geneva

2011-2012     Esther Stöckli, Zürich

2009-2010     Nicole Schaeren-Wiemers, Basel

2007-2008     Stephanie Clarke, Lausanne

2005-2006     Eric M. Rouiller, Fribourg

2002-2004     Jean-Marc Fritschy, Zurich

2001-2001     Jean-Marc Burgunder, Bern

1999-2000     Ann Kato, Geneva

1997-1998     Pierre Magistretti, Lausanne


Along these years, the following colleagues contributed to the work of the SSN council (in alphabetical order) This list is NOT up to date:

Ch. Bandtlow, A. Barth, C. Bassetti, JM. Burgunder, P. Caroni, S. Catsicas, S. Ciocchi, S. Clarke, C. Corradi Dell’Acqua, T. Dierks, A. Enz, L. Foo, J.M. Fritschy, B. Gaehwiler, S. Galati, J. Ghika, V. Henn, Ch.W. Hess, S. Hofer, D. Jabaudon, A. Kaelin, A. Kato, J. Kiss,  D. Kiper, I. Knuesel, P. Lavenex, A. Luft, Ch. Lüscher, HR. Lüscher, Andreas Lüthi, Anita Lüthi, P. Magistretti, I. Mansuy, V. Mante, Ch. Michel, D. Monard, J. Mosbacher, D. Muller, R. Müri, M. Murray, T. Nevian, R. Nil, P. Paganetti, T. Otis, G. Rainer, G. Rager, T. Rinaldi Barkat, EM. Rouiller, MA. Ruegg, C. Sandi, N. Schaeren-Wiemers, M. Schmid, S. Schwartz, E. Seifritz, P. Sonderegger,  E. Stoeckli, S. Thompson, I. Tobler, E. Welker, A. Wirz, A. Zurn.