Temporary ERC Backup Schemes

Temporary Backup Schemes and ERC Transfer Grants

Temporary Backup Schemes (TBS)

The acceptance of the "mass immigration initiative" on 9 February 2014 resulted in Switzerland being partially excluded from European research funding. The Temporary Backup Schemes (TBS) of the SNSF provided researchers working or planning to work at Swiss research institutions with a temporary substitute for funding schemes of the European Research Council (ERC).

In the context of the one and only call for TBS, issued in 2014, the SNSF awarded 27 SNSF Starting Grants and 21 SNSF Consolidator Grants to outstanding scientists for projects to be carried out at Swiss research institutions. The overall budget for these awards amounted to CHF 92 million.

Report on the SNSF Temporary Backup Schemes

Following an agreement between Switzerland and the EU on partial association with Horizon 2020 as of 15 September 2014, researchers working or planning to work at Swiss research institutions are again eligible to apply for ERC funding. However, this partial association is limited till the end of 2016. If Switzerland is not able to reach an agreement with the EU on freedom of movement by then, it may again be relegated to third country status, which would be detrimental to any further participation in Horizon 2020. What is already clear is that national funding initiatives such as the stop-gap Temporary Backup Schemes cannot compensate for the lack of European competition in the long run. Internationality and integration into the European Research Area are essential for the future of excellent research in Switzerland.

ERC Transfer Grants

In the context of Switzerland's temporary exclusion from European research funding, the ERC decided that ERC Starting and Consolidator Grants awarded in 2014 are not transferable to Switzerland. This means that recipients of these grants will lose the relevant funds if they accept a position at a Swiss institution and wish to start or continue their research project there. In order to prevent the loss of funds and safeguard Switzerland's appeal as a research location, starting 1 September 2015 the SNSF will be offering "ERC Transfer Grants" as compensation.

These transfer grants are exclusively aimed at researchers who have obtained a salaried position at a Swiss research institution and who were awarded either a Starting or a Consolidator Grant they responded to the relevant ERC calls in 2014. Access to the transfer grants via mySNF is restricted; the persons or institutions concerned are requested to phone or e-mail the contact given below.


Division InterCo
E-Mail ctbs@snf.ch