Making ideas reality with project funding

The SNSF received 876 applications during the last call of the project funding scheme. They will be assessed by March 2021 based on stringent criteria.

Twice a year, the SNSF launches a call for proposals in its biggest funding scheme, "Project funding". Approximately half of its financial resources are invested in this scheme. Researchers from all disciplines can submit project proposals for independent research on self-chosen topics.

876 applications were submitted to the SNSF in autumn 2020, fewer than in the spring call, in which a record 1000 applications were transmitted. This peak is partially explained by the SNSF's extension of the submission deadline due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications are now back to the average figure recorded over the past few years.

Almost 700,000 francs for 3.6 years

290 applications were submitted in the humanities and social sciences, 287 in mathematics, natural and engineering sciences, and 299 in biology and medicine. The projects have an average duration of 3.6 years. The average budget requested by the applicants per project is just under 700,000 francs.

The share of women was 29 per cent across all disciplines, with the humanities and social sciences recording twice as many proposals by women as the STEM subjects. The overall share is slightly higher than the share of female professors at Swiss universities. The average age of the applicants is 47. 22 per cent have never before asked for support under the project funding scheme. 80 per cent of the applicants are doing research at a university or one of the ETHs, 14 per cent at a university of applied sciences or a university of teacher education. The remaining six per cent are based in various research centres outside academia.

Reaping maximum benefits from research potential

"Project funding is a very important SNSF scheme not only because of the money invested in it," says Thomas Werder Schläpfer, member of the SNSF Executive Management. "By letting researchers in all disciplines choose their own topics, it maximises diversity and creativity in Swiss research. This helps generate knowledge that is crucial to science, the economy and society at large."

All the submitted applications go through an exacting evaluation process. First, international reviewers assess the proposed research projects. Then the National Research Council selects the best ones for funding. Last year, it invested 531 million francs in total, distributing the funds across 857 projects submitted during the two calls of the project funding scheme.

Information on project funding