Via overhead contributions, the SNSF has financed since 2009 a portion of the indirect research costs incurred by SNSF-funded projects at research institutions. Eligibility for overhead payments is defined in the Overhead Regulations.

With the overhead contributions decided by parliament within the scope of the ERI Dispatch 2008-2011, the Swiss Confederation aims to reinforce competitive research funding in Switzerland. The overhead was devised as an additional incentive for requesting SNSF funds and is aimed at strengthening research at Swiss higher education institutions in the long run.

Details are set out in the Overhead Regulations

The Overhead Regulations contain detailed provisions on questions such as eligibility and modes of payment.

SNSF funding schemes that are eligible for overhead

  • Project fundinng: projects pursuant to Article 2/provision a of the Funding Regulations, incl. interdisciplinary and interdivisionary projects; Sinergia
  • Career funding: SNSF professorships, Ambizione, Ambizione-SCORE and -PROSPER; Marie Heim-Vögtlin, doc.CH
  • Projects in the framework of ERA-Nets and EuroCores
  • Projects from National Research Programmes (NRPs)

Further important points for researchers and research institutions

  • Overhead is paid to the research institution (not to the researchers themselves)
  • The research institution as a whole is eligible, not individual institutes etc.
  • Free use of the overhead by the research institution in line with the objectives, i.e. in connection with indirect research costs
  • The overhead is limited to a maximum of 20% of the relevant SNSF grants

Overhead used primarily for infrastructure

The SNSF report on the introductory phase of the overhead from 2009 to 2011 shows that the overhead has been implemented successfully; however, the medium-term goal of achieving a rate of 20% has still not been reached. According to a survey, the rectors of higher education institutions generally use the overhead contributions to pay for research and administration infrastructure.

The main points in brief

The most frequent questions and answers on overhead at the SNSF for researchers and research institutions.