NCCRs - submitting an application
How can I submit an application in response to a call for NCCRs? What information and documents must I provide? What requirements do I have to meet? The following document answers these and other relevant questions to assist applicants in writing and submitting their pre-proposals and proposals on time.
The information on NCCR pre-proposals and proposals is based on requirements issued by the Confederation:
- Research and Innovation Promotion Act (RIPA) (in German)
- Research and Innovation Promotion Ordinance (RIPO) (in German)
- Ordinance of the EAER on the Research and Innovation Promotion Ordinance (in German)
The SNSF launched a new call for NCCRs in October 2017. This 5th call for NCCR proposals is open to all research areas.
Setting up a mySNF user account
All outline and full proposals must be submitted via the mySNF platform, where you can request a user account. New user accounts for applicants may only be used once they have been approved by the SNSF. This process usually takes one working day, but up to a maximum of five days in some cases. To guarantee access in good time, new user accounts should be requested no later than five working days before the relevant submission deadline. Your mySNF access will remain in place for future submissions.
On mySNF, help texts offer basic advice on entering data online and on completing individual data containers.
Call and two-stage evaluation procedure
The submission and evaluation procedure for NCCRs is conducted in two stages: pre-proposals are submitted and evaluated first, then full proposals. They must be written in English as they will be evaluated by foreign experts.
The pre-proposals and proposals must meet the requirements of the SNSF and must be submitted on time via the mySNF platform. More detailed specifications of the content and format of the pre-proposals and proposals are given there.
Submission of letters of intent
Applicants submit a letter of intent two months before the submission deadline for outline proposals. The letter must contain:
- Title and executive summary of the project (max. 1 page)
Applicants must indicate their research topic in the title. The title may be changed at a later stage in the process.
The summary presents the background and rationale of the initiative, lists its overall objectives and aims, mentions central concepts, methods and theories to be used and briefly discusses the envisaged results and their impact on the fields addressed by the initiative.
- A tentative list of applicants;
- A tentative list of home institutions.
- Title and executive summary of the project (max. 1 page)
Compiling an outline proposal
Outline proposals must follow the structure of the outline proposal template (provided in mySNF) and must be submitted online via mySNF. The outline proposal is restricted to 15 pages, excluding the bibliography.
A presentation that includes a well-founded vision of the proposed NCCR as a whole and makes a convincing argument for supporting the initiative, while also addressing the NCCR selection criteria Outline proposals must be structured as follows:
- Executive summary
- Presentation of the background and the ambitions of the NCCR, including:
- main research questions and their significance for science and society
- analysis of the present research landscape (existing structures, networks, etc.) and elucidation of the critical mass, the strategic fit and the planned structural development within the home institution(s) and within Switzerland
- mid- and long-term vision for the initiative (beyond phase I and beyond SNSF funding)
- planning and justification of the overall duration of the NCCR and the level of SNSF funding
- justification of the need for an NCCR to reach the goals
- Coherent research programme for the first four years, including:
- state of the art, intended contributions to the state of the art, added value created by the NCCR, the innovative and interdisciplinary potential, international embeddedness
- sketches of the individual projects: research question, state of the art, intended contributions to the state of the art, contributions to the overall questions of the NCCR
- If applicable: comment on potential ethical / legal issues
- Goals and strategy in the fields of knowledge and technology transfer, promotion of young researchers and gender equality, communication
- Concept for the organisation, management and leadership of the NCCR
- Bibliography of the research programme (list of references, including concluded and/or ongoing work referred to in the research plan).
- CV and major achievements as well as research output of director and co-director, including an additional section on management-related skills and experience
- CV and major achievements as well as research output of further applicants (see instructions on mySNF)
- Budget for phase 1 (see template on mySNF)
- Letter(s) of support from the home institution(s) (see template on mySNF)
Five to six months after the submission deadline for outline proposals, the SNSF will inform the applicants about the outcome of the evaluation and the rating of their outline proposal. Applicants then notify the SNSF within one month whether they intend to submit a full proposal.
Compiling a full proposal
NCCR full proposals must be submitted via the mySNF web portal. The template documents for the full proposal and its annexes will be provided in mySNF.
- Presentation of the NCCR’s background and ambitions, including the overall idea for the initiative, the scientific, structural and managerial arguments in its favour, and its fulfilment of the NCCR assessment criteria (max. 20 pages).
- Detailed description of the research programme (max. 40 pages) focusing on the scientific quality of the individual research projects, addressing the assessment criteria.
- Bibliography of the research programme (sources of all concluded and/or ongoing work referred to in the research plan).
- CV and major achievements and research output of director and co-director, including an additional section on management-related skills and experience
- CV and major achievements and research output of further applicants (instructions on mySNF)
- Budget including justification (template on mySNF)
- Letter(s) of support from the home institution(s) (template on mySNF)
NCCR assessment criteria
The SNSF applies the following criteria for its assessment of outline and the full proposals respectively:
- Scientific quality, including topicality, innovation potential and interdisciplinary nature
- Critical mass and added value of the NCCR (potential impact)
- Plausibility of the goals/measures with respect to KTT, promotion of young researchers, gender equality and science communication
- Quality of management of the NCCR and qualifications of the NCCR leadership
- Scientific achievements and suitability of applicants
- Appropriateness of the requested budget and commitment from home institution(s) and third parties
- Suitability of the home institution(s) / structural development
- Significance of the research topic for research in Switzerland and around the world