Flexibility Grant: The SNSF expands its support for researchers with families

Simpler, more generously funded and open to more researchers: Flexibility Grants replace 120% Support Grants as of 1 January 2018.

Pursuing an academic career and caring for one's children is a major challenge for researchers. The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) is committed to equal opportunities and, since 2013, has supported postdocs with children during this important phase of their career. The Flexibility Grant facilitates part-time work, finances scientific support persons and contributes towards the costs of external child care.

As of 2018, the SNSF will be expanding these support grants and simplifying administrative processes for applicants: The new Flexibility Grant will replace the 120% Support Grant offered until now. Here is a summary of the most important changes scheduled for January 2018:

  • Open to more researchersUntil now, only postdocs were eligible to apply for a support grant. In contrast, the Flexibility Grant will also be open to doctoral students.
  • Also for older childrenParents will receive support until their children finish primary school. The current scheme only applies to children up to kindergarten level.
  • More favourable calculation methodFor all grant recipients, the maximum grant towards child care costs will be 1000 Swiss francs per child per month. In addition, the SNSF will contribute a maximum of 20 per cent of the applicant's gross salary towards the salary of a support person. All in all, the Flexibility Grant amounts to a maximum of 30,000 Swiss francs per person per year.
  • More flexibleApplicants will be able to request a grant towards the costs of hiring a support person, without having to reduce their work quota. This has not been possible up to now.
  • Quick applicationLeaner administrative processes mean less paperwork for applicants.

The personal requirements in place until now will continue to apply to applicants who wish to obtain a Flexibility Grant. For instance, young researchers must have a work quota of at least 80 per cent, and they must be the main carer for their children. Applicants requesting a grant to finance a support person may reduce their work quota to 60 per cent.

By promoting the education and careers of highly qualified young researchers, Flexibility Grants will benefit Swiss research as a whole. Transparent and fair competition between scientists with different career paths helps to promote equal opportunities.

Flexibility Grant