Photo: The SwissPedNet Board. From left to right: Prof. Marc Pfister, Basel; Pascale Wenger, coordinator of SwissPedNet; PD Dr. Julia Bielicki, Basel; Prof. Klara Posfay Barbe, Geneva; Prof. Claudia Kühni, Bern; Prof. Roger Lauener, St. Gallen; Prof. Matthias Baumgartner, Zürich. Not in the picture: PD Dr. Michael Büttcher, Luzern.

What did the Swiss clinical research landscape look like ten years ago? Research infrastructures in adult medicine were available and funded, and Swiss paediatricians were aiming to include paediatrics into those activities. In March 2012, the Swiss National Science Foundation approved to fund the position of a Swiss coordinator for paediatric clinical research which would be hired directly by the Swiss Clinical Trial Organisation (SCTO) and dedicated to all contributing paediatric sites. After the coordinator started at the SCTO in August 2012, SwissPedNet was founded in February 2013. In November 2013, its first general assembly was held. While the road to success was not easy with repeated grant applications, hopes and disappointments, we can proudly say that since 2017 SwissPedNet is recognized as a research infrastructure of national relevance and receives direct federal funding according to the Federal Act on the Promotion of Research and Innovation (RIPA art. 15). Today, we have a lively network with many activities between all eleven member institutions.

Since the beginning, the primary goal of SwissPedNet remains unchanged: “Promote, facilitate, coordinate and conduct clinical trials devoted to children ranging from newborn to adolescent age, in all paediatric disciplines.” And this is what we do, with much commitment and joy.

Since then, the level of development of each clinical hub remains relatively heterogeneous regarding staff, activities, and contributions. However, thanks to the support of federal funds and the efforts of all involved, each year the quality and performance increases in all SwissPedNet hubs.

The close collaboration with the SCTO gives us the possibility to contribute to European projects. On behalf of SwissPedNet the SCTO is in the consortium and beneficiary in c4c since the very beginning. Owing to our participation in c4c we became part of two international proof of viabilities studies. TREOCAPA is open and successfully recruiting neonates in Zurich, Lausanne, and Geneva. What makes us proud: Zurich is the leading recruitment site of all study sites.

The FIONA trial sponsored by Bayer is open in Lausanne, and already one patient has completed the FIONA study in November 2022 and transitioned to the open label extension trial with Finerenone (FIONA OLE). In Basel the study will open soon, and it is planned to open a third site in Switzerland.

This large consortium, which bears testimony to how a large number of countries are working to advance paediatric clinical research, brings many interesting insights and, above all, many good contacts with like-minded people. In a small country like Switzerland, these contacts are extremely valuable, both to inform process but also to extend Swiss-led research activities beyond our borders.

The c4c Academy is offering a wide range of training courses which are unique in their information, content and diversity. From the courses to choose from, many study nurses, study coordinators and investigators from our network have found an interesting and suitable course from which they benefited greatly.

We are confident that all of this will lead us to a bright future of high-quality clinical research in paediatrics. And we are part of it.