On track to a permanent professorship

Eccellenza offers 45 outstanding young researchers the opportunity to do research under optimal conditions for five years.

The SNSF’s career promotion options are about more than just financial support. Our Eccellenza funding scheme gives researchers the freedom to launch their own project with a team. This is crucial for assistant professors who aspire to a permanent professorship. As a result, they are more likely to remain in science and strengthen Switzerland as a research hub.

In 2020, 244 researchers applied to the Eccellenza scheme. Following a two-stage evaluation process, the SNSF selected 45 projects. On average, awardees will receive 1.6 million francs over a five-year period; the total amount awarded is around 72.5 million francs.

Broad range of projects

SNSF Eccellenza Professorial Fellowships promote young talent at the assistant professor or equivalent level. This year, 35 of the successful applications belong to this category. For example, Anne-Katrin Pröbstel will be carrying out research at the University of Basel on whether and how intestinal bacteria influence the autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis.

In addition, SNSF Eccellenza Grants support researchers who already have a tenure-track assistant professorship. Ten of this year’s funded applications are Eccellenza Grants. At the University of Zurich, Kerstin Noëlle Vokinger will be investigating approval procedures for specific cancer drugs and analysing how their cost is determined.

High success rate among women

The 45 recipients will take up their activities at ten Swiss universities. A complete list is available on the Eccellenza website.

Women account for 36% of the applications and 47% of the funded projects. That amounts to a success rate for women of 24%, which this year is significantly higher than that of men (15%). "The figures show that women are succeeding under the Eccellenza scheme", says Julia Cahenzli Jenkins, who heads up the funding scheme at the SNSF.

No new Eccellenza Grants in future

The latest call for applications was launched on 2 November and continues to offer Eccellenza Professorial Fellowships for researchers who do not yet have an assistant professorship. However, Eccellenza Grants are no longer offered. The SNSF will pay Eccellenza Grants approved in 2020 for their entire five-year lifespan.