163 fellowships to promote postdoctoral researchers

© Westend61 / Christian Vorhofer

142 postdocs will conduct research abroad under a mobility fellowship. 21 researchers will receive a grant funding their return to Switzerland, where they will continue to pursue a career at a Swiss research institution.

Octopuses are animals that can change their shape to move through small openings and manipulate objects. Their arms, or tentacles, play a special role in this: they are both flexible and robust. Engineer Giada Risso conducts research in the field of composite materials and adaptive structures. She will travel to the USA to develop metamaterials with tentacle-like properties. These should be able to adjust their shape and stiffness depending on the degree of pressure.

This researcher is one of 142 postdocs who will be able to finance a research stay abroad thanks to a Postdoc.Mobility fellowship. At the same time, 21 researchers will receive a grant to finance their return to Switzerland. As of 1 February 2023, 337 projects had been submitted to the call. A total of 19.4 million Swiss francs have been awarded for the fellowships, corresponding to an average annual amount of 66,000 Swiss francs per project. The fellowships will cover part of the postdocs' living expenses. They also include a lump sum for travel expenses and, if applicable, contributions to research and conference costs.

Butterfly genomes and the greening of pest control

Hannah Augustijnen has also been awarded a fellowship. During her stay in Cambridge (UK), she will work on chromosome rearrangements in tropical butterflies. Such changes in chromosomes can play a crucial role in the emergence of new species. Maud Chalmandrier will study urban pest control in Paris and Amsterdam, using rats and bed bugs as examples. In particular, she is researching the effects of "ecologisation", where pests are not killed directly. Instead, preventive measures are taken in their environment. Her ethnographic case study will focus on the employees who are responsible for pest control in the urban spaces of the city of Paris.

Inspired by nature

The funded projects are distributed as follows across the research areas: 59 in mathematics, natural sciences and engineering, 58 in biology and medicine and 46 in the social sciences and humanities.

Researchers with a Postdoc.Mobility fellowship can usually start their stay abroad as early as 6 months after the submission date and will spend between 12 and 24 months abroad. Their projects, often inspired by nature, promise to deliver original and innovative research outcomes.