Regulations: What's new

What changes can you expect in SNSF research funding? This regularly updated page gives you the latest information about new requirements and opportunities.

​​​​The Funding Regulations and the Implementation Regulations of the SNSF can be found here:

Funding and Implementation Regulations


BRIDGE: New regulations for Proof of Concept and Discovery in 2021

As of 2021, the conditions for participating in the Proof of Concept scheme and the Discovery scheme of the BRIDGE programme are set out in regulations (previously the call documents applied). In this context, changes have been introduced by the SNSF and Innosuisse, who are jointly responsible for the programme. They include, with immediate effect, the opening of both funding schemes to all disciplines and types of innovations. In addition, a commitment to sustainable development is now one of the evaluation criteria. In Proof of Concept, questions regarding the intellectual property of research results must be clearly defined. Furthermore, BRIDGE now covers the costs of gender equality measures and awards Flexibility Grants to parents with care duties. And lastly: rejected projects can be resubmitted only once.


SNSF Care: coverage of care costs

SNSF Care offers support to panel members, guests or speakers participating in SNSF events who have care responsibilities for children or other persons. The scheme provides financial contributions towards the cost of travelling, accommodation and food. In addition, the SNSF can organise care for children and other dependent persons who need to come along, or it will cover the cost of care for those staying at home. It is also possible to claim the cost of caregivers travelling with the panel member, guest or speaker.


Funding of Open Access book chapters

The SNSF covers so-called "book chapter processing charges" (BCPCs) for individual chapters even if the anthology as a whole is not freely accessible. This rule now applies until further notice, and not only as a temporary transitional provision. The SNSF is following developments in the area of BCPCs closely. Should open access anthologies become increasingly common, we might rescind this special provision in the future.


Excellence grants discontinued

In 2016, the SNSF introduced excellence grants, which are awarded in a simplified procedure to researchers whose projects are ranked in the two highest categories. However, an evaluation of this mechanism has now revealed unwanted side-effects, besides the desired simplification for applicants. With the extension of the maximum duration of project funding grants to 4 years, substantial funding was awarded without in-depth competitive evaluation over a period of up to 8 years. In addition, excellence grants must be thematically linked to the ongoing research project and generally they require the same constellation of the research team; this severely restricts the flexibility necessary for basic research. Researchers are also denied important input on their research projects if there is no external review. Based on this analysis, the SNSF has discontinued excellence grants as of 1 January 2021.


SNSF introduces new evaluation provisions

The SNSF is continually fine-tuning its evaluation procedures. For this reason it has added news provisions to the Implementation Regulations. They allow for various options that can be applied in individual schemes or programmes. One new rule stipulates that funding decisions are based primarily on the assessment of external experts. In addition, the SNSF can select projects by drawing lots in the case of applications of equal quality that cannot be further differentiated by the evaluation body. The Presiding Board has been given the competencies to introduce further rules, adapted to the purpose of a given scheme or programme.


Simplified selection process for SPIRIT

Until now, the SPIRIT selection process consisted of two stages: after an evaluation round for pre-proposals, researchers were invited to submit a full proposal. The SNSF has now eliminated the pre-proposal stage, allowing applicants to submit their proposals directly. This simplifies the process and saves time. There will be an annual submission deadline on 2 November and the submitted proposals will be evaluated by the end of May the following year. The SNSF launches the first call based on the new model in August 2021.


Updates to Flexibility Grants and mobility grants for doctoral students

As of 1 January 2021, the SNSF will no longer apply the "first come, first served" principle to applications for Flexibility Grants and mobility grants. To improve its support for young researchers, it has lifted its budget restrictions. Flexibility Grants are now awarded for up to 24 months. With a simple follow-up application, researchers can extend their grant till the end of their project. Applications that are submitted late in the year will no longer be rejected due to a lack of funds. Recipients of a mobility grant can now apply for a supplementary grant if their situation has changed since submitting the application or if unexpected costs have been incurred.


Discontinuation of local SNSF Research Commissions

As of 2021, the evaluation of applications for mobility fellowships as well as Doc.CH grants will be carried out centrally by the SNSF​. The evaluation tasks hitherto performed by the local SNSF Research Commissions are therefore no longer required. For this reason, the Commissions at ten cantonal universities and the two ETHs have been disbanded with effect from 1 January 2021. They acted as a link between the SNSF and the higher education institutions. This role will not disappear, however, rather it will be continued through various forms of cooperation, particularly regular meetings and information exchanges between the SNSF and the local vice rectors for research and grant offices.