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Rapid funding of unconventional ideas

The aim of Spark is to fund the rapid testing or development of new scientific approaches, methods, theories, standards, ideas for application, etc. It is designed for projects that show unconventional thinking and introduce a unique approach. The focus is on promising ideas of high originality, with minimal reliance on preliminary data. Taking risks is very welcome, but not a requirement in itself. The focus is on projects or ideas that are unlikely to be funded under other funding schemes.

Spark is open to any applicant with a doctorate or equivalent qualifications. Spark will be run as a pilot funding scheme in 2019-2020.

The proposals are evaluated in a double-blind reviewing process (i.e. the identity of the applicant will not be disclosed to the evaluators). In this way, the SNSF aims to ensure that the evaluation will focus on the project idea.

The next call will be launched on 15 February 2020. Submission deadline is 11 March 2020. Applicants can request between CHF 50,000 and CHF 100,000 for a project duration of 6 to 12 months. The project must start within four months after the decision. The earliest possible start date for Spark projects is 1 September 2020, the latest is 1 December 2020. The grant will expire for projects that are not started within this period. Circumstances that are foreseeable will not be accepted as reasons for postponement or extension. Please plan the submission of your project accordingly.

Submission deadlines

The next call will be launched on 15 February 2020
Submission deadline: 11 March 2020