Lead Agency process

The Lead Agency process allows researchers in Switzerland and a partner country to submit a joint research proposal to either of the two national funding organisations.

Project funding is the SNSF scheme that supports Lead Agency applications. SNSF rules apply to the subprojects in Switzerland. The participation requirements of the partner organisation apply to the subproject abroad.

A Lead Agency application can be submitted provided there are no thematic overlaps with project funding grants that are already under way.

Because of coordination activities with the partner organisation, the evaluation usually takes longer than for regular projects.

The Lead Agency process does not support trilateral applications. But you can collaborate with researchers from further countries by designating them "project partners", regardless of whether the SNSF has signed an agreement with the countries in question. No more than 20% of the Swiss budget can be allocated for project partners. The salaries of personnel employed by the partners are not covered.

Costs are calculated on the basis of the relevant national guidelines.

In most partner countries, the success rates are lower than the SNSF rates. These lower rates are applied to Lead Agency applications submitted to the SNSF.

Who the Lead Agency will be, and the corresponding application requirements, will depend on the agreement in place with the country in question. In general, one submission per year is possible either to the SNSF or to the partner organisation. Please consult the respective country pages.

Participating countries

The SNSF has signed a Lead Agency agreement with four countries or regions.

Detailed country information:

  • Before submission

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    • For administrative reasons, Lead Agency applications need to be submitted simultaneously to all of the funders involved.
    • The applicants need to meet the participation requirements and eligibility criteria defined by their funder.
    • The research plan must conform with the guidelines issued by the Lead Agency; it can be submitted unchanged to the partner organisations.
    • All other data and information must be in line with the guidelines of the funding agencies involved.
    • Costs are calculated on the basis of the relevant national guidelines.
    • Applications have to be submitted in English.
  • SNSF as Lead Agency

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    • If the SNSF is the Lead Agency, applications are submitted to the SNSF within the calls for project funding on 1 April or 1 October. Applicants cannot simultaneously submit any further project funding applications.
    • For administrative reasons, the applicants based abroad need to simultaneously submit to their respective funders the application to be evaluated by the SNSF as Lead Agency.
    • Please enter the applicants based abroad as co-applicants.
    • Enter the budget of the Swiss subproject in the data container "Requested funding". For the budget abroad, fill in the budget form and upload it to the data container "Lead Agency and other agreements".
    • CVs and lists containing the research outputs of all persons registered as applicants must be submitted according to SNSF guidelines.
    • A data management plan (DMP) needs to be submitted in accordance with SNSF guidelines. The DMP is entered directly in mySNF. It should include all research data that are expected to be generated or used during the project and must meet the SNSF guidelines on open research data.
  • Partner organisations as Lead Agency

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    • The deadline of the partner organisation is decisive for the submission.
    • Lead Agency applications can be submitted in the SNSF's project funding scheme at any time.
    • For administrative reasons, the application must be submitted via the mySNF platform no later than seven days after submission to the partner organisation.
    • Please enter the applicants based abroad as co-applicants.
    • Enter the budget of the Swiss subproject in the data container "Requested funding". For the budget abroad, fill in the budget form and upload it to the data container "Lead Agency and other agreements".
    • The CVs and research output lists of the Swiss applicants need to meet SNSF guidelines; it is not necessary to submit the CVs and research outputs of the applicants abroad.
    • If the project is approved, the applicants will have to submit the DMP via mySNF. This needs to be done irrespective of whether submission of a DMP is required by the partner organisation. The DMP should incorporate all research data that are expected to be generated or used during the project and must meet the SNSF guidelines on open research data.
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