Promotion of early-career researchers

Promoting the development of early-career researchers is a key priority for the SNSF. Its activities complement those of the higher education institutions and offer researchers additional career prospects.

The SNSF currently supports over 6,600 doctoral students and around 4,200 postdocs via career schemes, projects and programmes. In so doing, it promotes early-career researchers in all disciplines and for all areas of society. Project funding gives them the opportunity to contribute to high-quality research from early on in their careers. The career funding schemes enable them to conduct their own projects and thus prepare themselves for international competition.

Developing career prospects

Early-career researchers need clear career prospects, whether in academia, the private sector or the public sector. To encourage talented scientists to choose research as a career, the SNSF fosters scientific independence and will focus career funding on the postdoctoral level and above in the 2025-2028 funding period. At the same time, it is committed to improving the conditions for the numerous doctoral students supported by the project funding scheme.

Promoting diversity and increasing accessibility

Research funding must take into account the actual living conditions of researchers today. For this reason, the SNSF is continuously developing its funding schemes. With its updated CV format for applications, the SNSF is making the selection of researchers fairer and taking even better account of different career paths. The childcare support introduced for grant recipients (Flexibility Grants) and the flexibly designed mobility fellowships also contribute to this goal. Furthermore, the SNSF aims to promote early-career researchers at all types of higher education institutions (universities, universities of applied sciences and universities of teacher education) and is developing its funding portfolio accordingly.

The SNSF places particular emphasis on increasing the share of women in research. Solutions are continuously being developed and schemes adapted with this in mind. Measures specifically aimed at advancing women at assistant professor and/or group leader level are in place.

Optimal working conditions for early-career researchers

The SNSF is convinced that academic careers need to be made more attractive for early-career researchers if Switzerland is to hold onto its globally leading position as a centre for research. It respects the autonomy of the higher education institutions and is committed to creating good working conditions in this context.

  • Survey on the working conditions of early-career researchers

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    The SNSF wants to ensure good working conditions for researchers who are at the start of their careers. In 2022, it launched a survey on the professional situation of people employed by the higher education institutions in SNSF projects (doctoral students, postdocs and other staff). The results of the survey serve as a basis for discussion with the representatives of early-career researchers and with the universities.

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