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Adriano Rutz wins the Swiss National ORD Prize

Bern, 6 December 2023


Dr. Adriano Rutz, a Postdoc at ETH Zurich, wins the first National Prize for Open Research Data (ORD) for “The LOTUS Initiative” project. LOTUS explores new ways of promoting the re-use of data in the fields of biology and chemistry and thus of sharing knowledge in natural products research.

The Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences have awarded the National ORD Prize for the first time in 2023. This new prize acknowledges researchers at all career levels for innovative practices in the field of open research data (ORD) and aims to take the shift towards open research data forward. Three laureates received an award:


The ORD Gold Prize is awarded to Dr. Adriano Rutz, a Postdoc in molecular systems biology at ETH Zurich, for “The LOTUS Initiative” project. With 750,000 referenced structural organism pairs, the Open Science database is pioneering new ways of disseminating knowledge in natural products research by linking chemical structures and biological organisms with one another. The combination of an interactive web portal and a Wikidata version enables LOTUS data to be re-used in a user-friendly way and further data to be added by the community. Impressive access and download rates demonstrate the importance of promoting collaborative and interdisciplinary projects, particularly in the fields of biology and chemistry. The ORD Gold Prize is endowed with CHF 10,000.


The ORD Silver Prize is awarded to Dr. Hans-Peter Schaub, a Senior Researcher at the University of Bern’s Institute of Political Science, for the “Swissvotes” project. The Swissvotes portal makes data on Swiss referendums from 1848 to the present day freely accessible. The jury emphasized the importance of this initiative, as it makes clear the relevance of Open Research Data, viz. for serving research and society. It should be particularly underscored that the data collected by Swissvotes since 2005 supports research in various specialist disciplines and, thanks to open access, makes a significant contribution to broadly anchoring democratic processes in society. The ORD Silver Prize is endowed with CHF 7,000.


The ORD Bronze Prize is awarded to Yvonne Fuchs, coordinator of the Data Stewardship Programme at the University of Lucerne, and to Dominic Weber, a doctoral researcher in Digital Humanities at the University of Bern, for their “transcriptiones” project. The project, which was developed at the University of Basel, revolutionizes access to transcriptions of historical manuscript sources and their metadata. By enabling researchers, students and citizen scientists to contribute via the collaborative platform, the added value is enhanced for historical research and the re-use of data made possible for digital and non-digital methods. The platform has great potential for promoting ORD research practices in the humanities due to its pioneering character. The ORD Bronze Prize is endowed with CHF 4,000.


Assoc. Prof. Dr. Evie Vergauwe, president of the ORD Prize Jury, explained: “Acknowledging these research projects is an important instrument for promoting an open research culture in Switzerland.”


In addition, the ORD Prize Jury acknowledged the following four researchers for their projects:

  • Dr. Emmanouil Barmpounakis (Postdoc/Environmental Sciences, EPFL) for “pNEUMA: On the New Era of Urban traffic Models with massive empirical data from Aerial footage”;
  • Dr. Marvin Höge (Research Assistant, Systems Analysis and Modelling, Water Research Institute of the ETH Domain Eawag) for “CAMELS-CH: Catchment attributes and hydro-meteorological time series for large-sample studies across hydrologic Switzerland”;
  • Prof. Dr. Nicola Marzari (Professor, Materials Science and Engineering, EPFL) for the project “Novel two-dimensional materials from computational exfoliation of all known inorganic compounds” and
  • Prof. Dr. Damien Ségransan (Professor, Astronomy, University of Geneva) for “DACE: Data and Analysis Center for Exoplanets”.


The theme of the 2023 National ORD Prize was “The re-use of research data”.  It acknowledges projects that either re-use data from other projects or make their own data available in such a way that other researchers can conduct further work with it.


The National ORD Prize is part of the National Action Plan for “Open Research Data”, which the Swiss Academies are helping to implement in the scope of the National Strategy for Open Research Data. Open Research Data fosters transparency, reproducibility and collaboration in the scientific and academic community.

Olivia Denk

Specialist for Open Science


Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences
House of Academies
Laupenstrasse 7
P.O. Box
3001 Bern