Visualisierung von Nerven, die miteinander Kontakt aufnehmen.

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. 

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 grant will expire for projects that are not started within this period. Foreseeable circumstances will not be accepted as reasons for postponement or extension. Please plan the submission of your project accordingly.

The Spark pilot project will be evaluated in the course of 2021. As a consequence, no new Spark call will be launched during this period.

Submission deadlines

No new call in 2021 because of evaluation of the pilot project.​