17 women researchers funded with PRIMA


Leading a 5-year research project with your own team – a PRIMA grant makes it possible. In the 5th call, 17 out of 124 applications were approved.

Women are still heavily underrepresented at professorial level across Swiss higher education institutions. To counter this, the SNSF devised the PRIMA funding scheme, which promotes excellent women researchers who show great potential. They will work at least at the level of a group leader or as an assistant professor at a higher education institution.

25 million for salaries and project costs

On average, the 17 successful applicants will receive a grant of 1.5 million francs. The grant will cover their own salaries and the salaries of their team as well as other project costs over a five-year period. In total, the SNSF will spend 25 million francs on new PRIMA grants.

The 124 applications received represent a slight decrease of 5% compared to the previous year. In the STEM disciplines and in the life sciences, application numbers were down 25% and 22%, respectively. In contrast, applications went up by 14% in the social sciences and humanities.

Among the selected applicants is Caroline Dorn (University of Zurich). She analyses what exoplanets, which orbit a star outside our solar system, are made of. On the question of whether humans will ever reach other worlds, she writes on her website, "No. We belong on Earth. Enjoy this place!" Renewable energy can also be generated at sea, for example through solar and wind farms. Social anthropologist Jeanne Féaux de la Croix (University of Bern) examines the conflict potential of such technologies. And Katharina Röltgen (Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute) will use her grant to find out why the Covid-19 pandemic is less rampant in Africa than in other parts of the world.

Integration at highest career funding level

This is the last time the SNSF will award PRIMA grants in this form. "In the future, this important gender equality measure will be integrated directly at the highest level of SNSF career funding," says the Head of Careers, Marc Zbinden. The 25 million Swiss francs previously reserved for PRIMA will continue to be used for the targeted promotion of women on their path to a professorship.

Since 2018, a total of 94 female researchers have received a PRIMA grant. 13 of them have in the meantime become professors or lecturers.