Simplified selection process for the SPIRIT programme

From 1 February 2021, the SPIRIT programme no longer requires a pre-proposal. Researchers can submit their project proposals directly. The deadline is 2 November every year.

SPIRIT grants have facilitated collaboration with countries of the global South since 2019. In the first two years, the SNSF selected 13 research projects, awarding them approximately 6 million francs in total. Researchers from Nepal, Togo and Colombia, among others, are participating in the projects.

No pre-proposal stage

Until now, the selection process comprised two stages: if your pre-proposal was accepted, you were invited to submit a full proposal. Based on the experience gained in the first phase, the SNSF has now adapted the process. It has eliminated the pre-proposal stage, allowing applicants to submit their full proposal directly. "In doing this, we have simplified both submission and evaluation for SPIRIT applications. In addition, the time spent on reviewing has been reduced significantly. On the other hand, we have done away with the rolling submission system and introduced a fixed submission deadline," says Marc Zbinden, head of the Interdisciplinary and International Cooperation division.

From now on, the submission deadline will be 2 November every year. The SNSF will complete the evaluation process by the end of May the following year. The first call based on the new model will be launched in August 2021.

Researchers can continue to submit applications according to the existing model until 31 January 2021. In the phase in-between - from February till July 2021 - the SNSF will accept neither pre-proposals nor full proposals.

Mission unchanged

SPIRIT's vision and mission remain unchanged. The programme continues to strengthen cross-border research that involves researchers in Switzerland and in partner countries in the global South. No thematic limitations apply. SPIRIT is focused on equal opportunities and aims to raise awareness of gender-specific questions.

There is also no change to the funding conditions: each application can involve two to a maximum of four persons, at least one of whom must be based in Switzerland and one in a partner country. Researchers can submit a SPIRIT application even if they are already receiving an SNSF project funding grant. There needs to be a substantive thematic difference between the projects, however.

SPIRIT's overall budget for 2021 amounts to 6 million francs. The SNSF is expecting to fund about 12 projects.

SPIRIT programme