Guidelines "How do I enter the research team?"

The SNSF distinguishes between applicants, project partners and employees.

These guidelines will help you to enter the research team. Here you can find out more about:

  • roles in research projects

Detailed rules can be found on the pages of the funding schemes, in the General Implementation Regulations and in the following regulations and leaflets:

The SNSF distinguishes between:

  • Applicants: the researchers who bear main responsibility for the proposed research project.
  • Project partners: researchers who make a partial contribution to the research project without being responsible for it.
  • Employees in the categories "doctoral students", "postdocs" and "other employees", whose salaries are partially or fully chargeable to the SNSF grant.
  • Applicants

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    1. Number of applicants: two or more applicants can jointly submit a proposal if necessary to achieve the targets set for the planned research. If two or more applicants jointly submit a proposal, each has to meet the eligibility requirements for submission of proposals and each is personally responsible for the project.
    2. Applicants abroad are not permitted in project funding with the exception of Lead Agency, Weave and the International Co-Investigator Scheme.
    3. Experience in the organisation and implementation of research projects: Applicants must have adequate experience as a consortium in organizing and conucting projects. Applicants must be able to conduct research projects under their own responsibility and manage the staff employed in the projects.
    4. Qualifications: All applicants must have held a PhD for at least four years or must have equivalent research experience.
    5. Employment: For the duration of the research project, applicants must be employed at least 50% (0.5 FTE) at a research institution that is eligible for SNSF research funding. Applicants cannot charge their own salaries to the grant.
    6. Scienific contribution: All applicants must make a substantial contribution to the research project. The necessary research infrastructure must be available to the applicants.

    Differing rules for Sinergia

    1. Number of applicants: A minimum of 2 and a maximum of 4 applicants can jointly submit a Sinergia proposal.
    2. Applicants abroad: Out of three applicants, one may work at a research institution abroad should their specific expertise be needed for the project (2+1, 3+1).


    • In principle, applicants can only have one ongoing project under the project funding scheme. The SNSF may approve a second, parallel project if it is thematically clearly different from the project already in progress and if the applicant can show that they are able to make a substantial contribution to the second project as well. If these requirements are met, overlaps of a few months are permitted.
    • SNSF professors can submit a project funding proposal 2 years after starting the SNSF professorship at the earliest. Ambizione grantees are excluded for the duration of their project.

    Differing restrictions for Sinergia

    • Researchers may be involved as grantees in no more than one Sinergia project during the same funding period. Researchers may submit a maximum of one proposal per call.
    • SNSF professors can submit a Sinergia proposal 2 years after starting the SNSF professorship at the earliest. Ambizione grantees are excluded for the duration of their project.

    Contact person

    All applicants are represented by a single applicant, who is the SNSF’s contact person. This applicant must work at an institution in Switzerland. This institution manages the project grants from the SNSF and is responsible for forwarding funding to the other applicants and to project partners.

  • Project partners

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    • They contribute to the research project by collaborating with the consortium, but are not responsible for the project.
    • Their role must be clearly defined in the proposal.
    • They can benefit from the project funds (max. 20% of the total budget), but their own salaries are not covered by the grant.
  • Employees: Doctoral students

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    • Purpose: Doctoral students make a scientific contribution to the project while pursuing their PhD.
    • Supervision: Doctoral students are supervised by an applicant or a project partner.
    • Workload: The goal for doctoral students is rapid completion of the dissertation within four years. This generally corresponds to a workload of 80-100% (0.8-1.0 FTE). A workload of less than 80% is only permitted if the following requirements are cumulatively met: a. The dissertation can be completed within 4 years, b. the lower workload is chosen by the doctoral student and c. the implementation of the project is guaranteed.
    • Salary: The salaries of doctoral students must lie within the relevant salary ranges defined by the SNSF. Applicants or project partners can top up the SNSF's salary contribution with their own funds.
    • Duration of employment: The SNSF finances the positions of doctoral students for a maximum of 4 years. The relevant date for calculating the 4-year period is the actual start date of the dissertation; the 4-year time window begins no later than one year after this start date.
  • Employees: Postdocs

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    • Purpose: Postdocs are researchers who aspire to become scientifically independent after completing their doctorate. The postdoctoral phase serves as a qualification for developing and heading research projects.
    • Contribution to the project: Postdocs must make a specific contribution to the research project and work primarily towards enhancing their scientific qualifications.
    • Salary: The salaries of postdocs must lie within the relevant salary ranges set by the SNSF.
    • Duration of employment: The SNSF supports postdocs for a period of up to five years after the doctorate, with the date of the thesis defence or viva voce being the relevant date. In the event of a justified delay due to parental leave, incapacity, care duties, military service or other mandatory services, internships or clinical work, this period may be extended by one year.
  • Employees: Other employees

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    • Purpose: Other employees make a specific contribution to the research project. They include employees with a degree who do not intend to do a doctorate; employees with a doctorate who do not meet the requirements for the postdoc category in terms of employment duration and time window; technicians and auxiliary staff.
    • Salary: Research institutions may apply their normals salary rates, provided they comply with the defined minimum rate. The SNSF reserves the right to lower unreasonably high salaries.