Questions and Answers
ABOUT THE NOMIS FOUNDATION
What are the NOMIS Foundation’s vision and mission?
NOMIS is a private Swiss foundation supporting insight-driven scientific endeavors across all disciplines, with a unique emphasis on researchers, their openness to new ideas, their pioneering spirit and their potential to inspire the world around them.
NOMIS’ vision is to “create a spark” in the world of science by funding highly innovative, groundbreaking research in the natural sciences, social sciences and the humanities. NOMIS funds basic research projects led by dedicated pioneers who use radically different approaches, apply new expertise or engage novel perspectives. Beyond their scientific excellence these researchers show intrinsic motivation and the ability to inspire and collaborate with others not only within but also outside their own fields of expertise; they combine their passion for scientific discovery with their dynamic, engaging and influential leadership talent. It is these qualities and values that contribute to the foundation’s mission of fostering role models who have the potential to multiply the impact of NOMIS’ research funding.
What are the NOMIS Foundation’s values?
NOMIS is guided by its five core values. They are the heart of the foundation, shaping its culture and activities, and defining how decisions are made.
Curiosity: We are passionate about scientific discovery and supporting pioneering researchers in their quest for new horizons. We enable scholars and scientists to explore their novel, unconventional ideas to better understand the world.
Courage: We believe in taking on high-risk research and thinking outside the box. We act with courage to challenge the status quo, and we support a fearless pursuit of insight.
Trust: NOMIS is a reliable partner with trust at the core of all its endeavors. We at NOMIS hold ourselves accountable for our commitments and place confidence in the capabilities and intentions of others. We form trust-based partnerships and collaborative networks of researchers across disciplines and around the world.
Mutual respect: NOMIS fosters a supportive environment in which people treat each other respectfully, regardless of origin, education, religion, beliefs, physical ability, gender or sexual identity. Mutual respect forms the basis of strong relationships and teamwork, and it promotes a culture of inclusivity, empathy and kindness.
Collaboration: NOMIS was founded on the firm belief that interdisciplinary research collaboration and open communication are vital for discovery, the cross-fertilization of ideas and addressing humankind’s most pressing challenges.
What are the foundation’s long-term goals?
NOMIS’ primary objective is to fill funding gaps in basic research across disciplines and to enable outstanding researchers to take the next step(s) in their research projects. NOMIS does not strive for funding exclusivity, but rather expects its grant recipients to identify additional funding sources for the continuation of their research. In addition, NOMIS seeks to develop an innovation and collaboration network consisting of a global community of dedicated researchers, scientists and partners through interdisciplinary research activities and other initiatives.
Where does the NOMIS Foundation get its funding?
NOMIS is a private, not-for-profit Swiss foundation. Its funding is based on an endowment provided by Georg Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza.
Thyssen-Bornemisza established the NOMIS Foundation in 2008 with the vision of enabling outstanding scientists to conduct innovative and extraordinary research projects. Through his calm and prudent leadership as chairman of the board, he fundamentally shaped the foundation, setting the course for years to come. He was a forward-looking advocate of NOMIS’ vision of “creating a spark” in the world of science.
Georg Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza passed away on September 30, 2022.
How does the foundation operate?
NOMIS is governed by its board of directors, which consists of world-renowned scientists and scholars who are experts in their respective fields. The board defines the vision and strategy of NOMIS, reviews grant nominations and works to ensure that all NOMIS-funded projects meet the highest possible standards of professional and scientific excellence. The foundation’s small management team represents and leads NOMIS in all its activities and engagements and communicates with NOMIS grant recipients and researchers. Due to its holistic and interdisciplinary approach, NOMIS does not have scientific subcommittees or specialized advisory boards. This lean and unbureaucratic approach is critical to NOMIS’ goal of fostering collaboration across all disciplines, accelerating the development of new fields of exploration and enabling transformational insights and discoveries that address yet unanswered questions.
ABOUT THE PROJECTS NOMIS SUPPORTS
What are the foundation’s areas of interest?
Consistent with NOMIS’ mission to promote scientific talent with the potential to create a spark, and with its vision of funding innovative groundbreaking research, NOMIS supports projects involving pioneering, inspiring, team-spirited researchers from any scientific field, who embrace and share NOMIS’ vision and values. The focus is on potential insight, shared knowledge, new questions and exploring new possibilities.
How are research projects selected?
NOMIS identifies candidates exclusively through its own global network and through dedicated nominators. These nominators are high-level senior scientists at renowned research institutes covering a range of disciplines. Following a nomination, an evaluation protocol is used to combine select criteria regarding scientific excellence with an assessment of the personality, behavior and leadership style of the candidate. This process, which generally spans over several months, includes personal interviews and site visits. Final funding decisions are made by means of an extended panel review.
What does NOMIS not fund?
NOMIS does not support translational, developmental or applied research projects, nor does it support any form of non-research-related programs or projects (social welfare, charity, culture and art, community work, education, etc.). The NOMIS Foundation does not support any form of political, ideological or religious engagement, activism, proselytizing or any similar activities. NOMIS does not support research projects whose primary goal is commercialization, monetary profit or patent protection.
Does NOMIS accept unsolicited research proposals?
NOMIS does not accept unsolicited applications. The foundation identifies candidates exclusively through its own global network.
Why does NOMIS place such a strong emphasis on people?
The excellence and potential of researchers and scientists are crucial factors in NOMIS’ partnering and funding decisions. Beyond their scientific excellence these researchers show intrinsic motivation and the ability to inspire and collaborate with others not only within but also outside their own fields of expertise; they combine their passion for scientific discovery with their dynamic, engaging and influential leadership talent. NOMIS considers these qualities just as important as the scientific quality and approach of the research projects themselves.
Does the foundation take a proprietary interest in the results of its research projects?
No. In fact, on the basis of NOMIS’ vision and values, all results of NOMIS-funded research projects must be made publicly available, promoting knowledge sharing and igniting new research and discoveries for the benefit of all.
What conditions are attached to NOMIS funding?
NOMIS provides unrestricted funding for the selected projects. The foundation places strong emphasis on the novelty and high standards of the research projects and on the willingness of the researchers, scientists and scholars to connect, engage and collaborate with NOMIS and the NOMIS network to share insights and ideas, helping to create sparks in new fields of exploration.
How does NOMIS measure success?
Every new insight gained by a NOMIS-supported research project advances human knowledge, opens new doors and encourages new discoveries — this is what NOMIS considers success. To measure the success of the projects NOMIS supports, the foundation asks questions such as:
- Was something unexpected discovered?
- Did the project’s new insights change the scientific field in question?
- Are there unintended positive consequences resulting from the research?
- Will the research project continue after NOMIS’ initial support?
- Did the research attract additional funding?
NOMIS PARTNERS, RESEARCHERS, SCIENTISTS & SCHOLARS
What kinds of partners and institutions does NOMIS work with?
NOMIS pursues partnerships with institutions that share a similar spirit and vision. These are institutions that provide a free research environment, which actively encourages the development of world-class, open-minded researchers who demonstrate an eagerness to look outside their own fields of specialization.
What qualities characterize NOMIS researchers, scientists and scholars?
NOMIS researchers, scientists and scholars are dedicated pioneers with outstanding scientific backgrounds and track records who use radically different approaches, apply new expertise or engage novel perspectives. They are curious and ready to undertake new high-risk research by connecting the usual with the unexpected. Beyond their scientific excellence these researchers show intrinsic motivation and the ability to inspire and collaborate with others not only within but also outside their own fields of expertise; they combine their passion for scientific discovery with their dynamic, engaging and influential leadership talent.
How does the NOMIS Foundation foster collaboration?
One of the foundation’s most important objectives is to enable transformational and interdisciplinary research and discoveries through collaboration. NOMIS aims to achieve this by becoming a platform for collaboration and developing innovation networks, which connect its community of institutions, researchers, scientists and scholars. The foundation actively encourages its researchers to collaborate on joint research projects, publications and initiatives.
CONTACT AND FURTHER INFORMATION
Where is the NOMIS Foundation located?
NOMIS is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland.
Where can I learn more about the results of NOMIS’ research projects?
NOMIS continually publishes research results and updates on its activities on its website.
How can I contact NOMIS if I have further questions?
Please write to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org