SNSF amends plans for political sciences

12/Feb/2015

A pictogram with regulations in law. © SNSF

The SNSF has decided to forego for the time being the planned changeover to English for applications submitted in the political sciences. If no significant new arguments are presented in the consultation process, the new rules will be implemented in the political sciences for applications submitted by 1 October 2015.

The SNSF has decided to forego for the time being the planned changeover to English for applications submitted in the political sciences. There has been a misunderstanding between the Swiss Political Science Association (SVPW) and the SNSF in the course of the consultation process. For this reason, the SNSF shall wait for the results of the SVPW's consultation with its members, which is now getting started. If no significant new arguments are presented, the new rules will be implemented in the political sciences for applications submitted by 1 October 2015.

Even if the changeover is implemented, political scientists can continue to submit their applications in an official Swiss language, provided they enclose an English translation of the research plan (Art. 1.5 para 2 General implementation regulations for the Funding Regulations). In addition, the SNSF will continue to finance the publication of research results in the different Swiss languages so that research findings are communicated appropriately for the different target groups. The following main arguments have led to the amendment of the rules for the political sciences:

 

  • The SNSF supports research in all scientific areas. For years, all applications in biology, medicine, mathematics, physics, and natural and engineering sciences have had to be submitted in English. In the humanities and social sciences this rule has been applied to psychology and economics, without any resultant problems. The SNSF has no plans to extend this requirement to other science areas at present.
  • An assessment by external reviewers (peer review) is the core element of the evaluation procedure for applications. SNSF monitoring activities have shown that it is becoming increasingly more difficult to find suitable experts. The willingness to perform this voluntary work has fallen below 40 per cent. Irrespective of linguistic or geographic borders, such assessments are necessary to guarantee the quality and plurality of methods in research conducted in Switzerland.
  • The number of political science proposals written in a national language of Switzerland has decreased considerably. Last October, not a single, and last April, only four such applications (two each in German and French) were submitted. Over the last four semesters, more than 80 per cent of applications were submitted in English.
  • The humanities and social sciences in Switzerland are less successful in the European framework programmes (currently Horizon 2020) compared to other science areas. English is the default language for applications submitted to these programmes. By introcuding the new rules, the SNSF aims to strengthen the competitiveness of the political sciences in the global arena.

 

 

​Contact
Humanities and Social Sciences division
E-mail div1@snf.ch