Ambizione: first independent project


The SNSF invests 61 million francs in 79 new projects of its Ambizione funding scheme. The grants allow young researchers to advance their careers.

Since 2008, the SNSF has launched Ambizione calls to promote promising young researchers from Switzerland and abroad. Scientific collaborators at higher education institutions can also apply for Ambizione grants.

Two-stage evaluation procedure

In November 2019, 404 young researchers submitted their Ambizione application. 143 of them reached the second phase of the evaluation. Following this two-step evaluation procedure, the SNSF awarded 79 new grants. The targeted share of female grant holders (35%) was almost achieved, with 27 grants (34.2%) going to women.

Thanks to their Ambizione grant, the 79 researchers will be able to conduct their first independent project at a higher education institution or other institution in Switzerland. On average, they will receive 770,000 francs. The SNSF is giving them the opportunity to take a big step forward in their career. At the same time, this represents a significant contribution to the promotion of young researchers.

Wide range of topics

Of the approved projects, 43% are in mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering, 32% are in the humanities and social sciences, and 25% in biology and medicine. This distribution is reflected in the wide range of topics. For instance, Carl David Mildenberger (University of Zurich) explores moral market mechanisms from a philosopher's point of view. Florian Zellweger (WSL Birmensdorf) analyses the impact of climate change on biodiversity. And Giulia Da Poian (ETH Zurich) investigates how mental health can be improved with personalised digital tools.

Most of the projects will start in autumn 2020 and will run for four years. The full list of projects can be found on the Ambizione web page.

Overall performance counts

In August 2020, the SNSF adapted the regulations of its career funding schemes to respect the DORA principles. This also concerns Ambizione. The SNSF now assesses the overall performance of researchers when evaluating project proposals. The citation rate (or journal impact factor) of journals is irrelevant for the assessment. In addition, the SNSF has adopted a broader definition of academic mobility that acknowledges a wide range of career paths.