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The federal government represented by swisstopo funds the operation of the rock laboratory (no third party is involved). The participating partners fund the research programme.

In general, the costs of an experiment are shared in equal parts among the partners participating an specific experiment (2001 Agreement). The operation of the rock laboratory and the associated underground safety installations are funded by swisstopo as the operator (2009 Convention). 

Funding of the research programme (by the project partners)

The funding of the research programme is split into the cost of experiments and “general costs”.

Experiment costs includes, for example, the planning of experiments, projections, the construction of measuring instruments, laboratory tests, drilling and installation work, the carrying out of tests, data acquisition and long-term measurements, together with their evaluation and interpretation.

General costs mainly comprise the personnel costs of the management team on site (project manager, site supervisor, scientific collaborators, and accounting). They also cover scientific and technological research and the implementation of the annual research programme.

Funding of the operation of the rock laboratory (by the operator, swisstopo)

Here the principal concern is underground safety. The operator guarantees flawless and safe operation for all personnel present in the rock laboratory (test supervisor, engineer, contractors, scientists, visitors, operational staff). The annual budget amounts to ca. CHF 500,00. These costs are borne by the federal government with no charge to third parties.

Review of the investment

In the period between 1996 and mid-2021 some CHF 102 million were invested (total investment consists of costs arising from the research programme and the operation of the rock laboratory). The annual budgets vary between CHF 1 and 8 million according to size of the research programme and expansion of the rock laboratory. An average annual budget for research and operation amounts to ca. CHF 3 million. 

Total investment