The NCCRs were selected by the according to federal research policy. The following aspects are decisive for the approval of an NCCR: research of outstanding, internationally recognized quality, dissemination of research results and their practical applications to the general public, training opportunities, and promotion of women researchers. The NCCRs were also selected according to their potential to contribute to a global restructuring of research in Switzerland.
NCCRs are managed by leading houses institutionally linked to universities (home institutions). In addition to the research teams at the home institution, an NCCR builds up a network of additional research teams across Switzerland. Each NCCR is evaluated on an annual basis by an international Review Panel composed of experts in the disciplines of the NCCR. Federal funding for NCCRs is approved by the Swiss Parliament and completed by funding from the institutions themselves as well as from third parties. The maximum duration of an NCCR is 12 years.