USI secures a third Starting Grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation


Institutional Communication Service

16 October 2023

The prestigious funding, totalling 1'797'000 francs, has been awarded to the research project "Temporal Existence" coordinated by Professor Damiano Costa, vice-director of the Institute of Philosophical Studies of the Faculty of Theology of Lugano, affiliated with USI.

This five-year project aims to explore the concept of "temporal existence" by creating a dialogue between physics and philosophy. "According to the Theory of Relativity, our understanding of space and time needs to be fundamentally rethought because they are simply shadows of the same four-dimensional manifold called space-time, as Hermann Minkowski, the German mathematician and physicist, stated," explained professor Damiano Costa. The role of the philosopher in this process of rethinking the concepts of space and time "is fundamental: through dialogue with the physicist, the philosopher can investigate the concept of space-time itself, and most importantly, its implications for our understanding of the world and our place in it." In this research project, "philosophy and physics will be brought into dialogue to continue this exploration, which is one of the main drivers of contemporary philosophy".

The "Temporal Existence" project was one of 62 accepted out of 446 applications submitted in this funding round.

The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) offers Starting Grants to researchers who have already shown scientific independence and made significant contributions to their field. The grant provides funding for leading independent research projects and directing a team of researchers in Switzerland. The fellowship is open to scholars of any discipline, including the humanities and social sciences, life sciences and medicine, mathematics, and natural sciences.