Coronavirus: SNSF update
The Covid-19 pandemic has made research more difficult. But the SNSF is supporting researchers in every way it can. On this page, you will find all relevant information.
The crisis impacts the planning and implementation of many SNSF-funded projects or stays abroad. We thank all researchers for their flexibility in continuing their work even under difficult conditions.
From the beginning, the SNSF has supported researchers affected by the pandemic with a range of measures. We have adjusted conditions and deadlines and advised researchers on specific issues. As a temporary emergency measure, more than 600 projects nearing completion received a total of 13 million francs in additional funding in 2020, enabling them to achieve their goals despite the pandemic.
We are continually reviewing the situation of researchers and making adjustments to funding as necessary. For the latest information, please refer to the "updates for researchers". In justified cases, you can still apply for a cost-neutral extension of your project. Due to the limited financial resources, project extension grants are only awarded in exceptional cases. For answers to questions about deadlines and grants, visit FAQs research funding and specific FAQs about mobility grants (see above).
Funding of research on Covid-19
In March 2020, we launched the Special call on coronaviruses and, in April 2020, the Federal National Research Programme "Covid-19" (NRP 78), which primarily investigates biomedical and clinical issues. 36 projects from the special call started already in June 2020, and 28 NRP projects were added in August. Thanks to a donation, the SNSF was able to approve 9 additional projects. In April 2021, the Federal Council mandated the SNSF to implement the new National Research Programme "Covid-19 in Society" (NRP 80). The programme aims to explore the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy, politics and society. Further Covid-19 research projects are being funded under the "Project funding" scheme.
Updates for researchers
New NRP launched: COVID-19 in Society
The Federal Council has mandated the SNSF to implement the new National Research Programme "COVID-19 in Society" (NRP 80). The programme aims to explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, politics and society.
Election of Steering Committee of NRP 78 "Covid-19"
The SNSF Research Council has elected the Steering Committee of the National Research Programme "Covid-19" (NRP 78).
NRP "COVID-19": 28 new projects funded
New research has been launched to better control COVID-19. 18.6 million francs have been invested in projects that will investigate innovative solutions and develop public health recommendations.
Ready to meet the challenges
Many scientists are currently undertaking work on the Sars-CoV-2 virus. But hundreds of projects supported by the SNSF are already contributing to finding answers to the current health crisis.
Meeting challenges through basic research
New research ideas in NRP "Covid-19"
Researchers have submitted 190 applications to NRP "Covid-19": 155 in biomedicine, 19 in the STEM disciplines and 16 in the humanities and social sciences.
Snapshot of Swiss research on Covid-19
A new SNSF database lists Swiss research projects that are investigating solutions to the Covid-19 pandemic.
SNSF funds 36 coronavirus projects
Under the special call on coronaviruses, the societal and biomedical aspects of epidemics will be investigated with a total budget of 10 million francs. The projects will start as of 1 June 2020.
Coronavirus calls in Europe
Various partner organisations of the SNSF have also launched Covid-19 calls, some of which are open to researchers from Switzerland.
Call for proposals: NRP 78 "Covid-19"
Mandated by the Federal Council, the SNSF is launching a call for the National Research Programme "Covid-19" (NRP 78). The aim is to provide health care recommendations and innovative solutions to fight the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
News: NRP 78 “Covid-19”
Open science – not only in a crisis
For years, the SNSF and other organisations have been demanding open science as the new normal. The corona crisis drastically confirms the validity of this demand.
Career funding: no interviews for the time being
The evaluation processes of career funding schemes normally include an interview with candidates. Because of Covid-19, the SNSF has suspended these interviews. The evaluation bodies will adapt the processes to ensure that they can make a fair selection of the best candidates without conducting interviews.
Launch of National Research Programme "Covid-19"
The fight against the Covid-19 pandemic continues at pace. To channel existing research competencies, the SNSF is launching on behalf of the Federal Council a special National Research Programme (NRP) "Covid-19". This special programme will aim to generate recommendations for overcoming the corona crisis in Switzerland, thereby complementing the special call for coronavirus research already launched by the SNSF. Detailed information on submitting projects for the new NRP "Covid-19" is currently in preparation. The call will be open between 30 April and 25 May 2020.
Scientists to advise the government
The Swiss government has appointed a scientific advisory body to assist the authorities in overcoming the coronavirus crisis. The "Swiss National Covid-19 Task Force" is headed by Matthias Egger, president of the National Research Council of the SNSF and epidemiologist at the University of Bern. The members of the body are all experts in relevant fields. They will advise the federal government and the cantons based on the latest scientific knowledge. In addition, they are expected to define research topics and special measures. The task force combines initiatives and competencies of the SNSF, the ETH Domain, the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences and swissuniversities.
We have defined the deadlines and conditions for the extension of projects. Please read the FAQs, which are regularly updated.
Researchers whose project ends before 31 December 2020 will get a cost-neutral extension of a maximum of six months. If there isn’t enough money left for the extension period, you may apply for an extension grant - provided the project cannot be completed in the context of another SNSF project. For the time being, extension grants will last for up to two months.
For projects that end after 31 December 2020, please submit an application for a cost-neutral extension two to four months before the end of your project.
You can extend the deadline for scientific and financial projects for a maximum of two months.
Will there be a gap in your funding if you wait until 1 October 2020 to submit the application for continuation of your research? The SNSF can give you a grant to bridge the gap between 1 October 2020 and 31 March 2021.
We are here to help
In spite of the pandemic, the SNSF’s services for researchers are continuing as usual. Thanks to teleworking and video conferences, we are able to conduct the evaluation process in the different funding schemes as planned. We are moving dates where this is necessary. We would like to thank our staff, the members of evaluation bodies and the reviewers for their flexibility and commitment in the current situation. Researchers can find the latest information about special measures in response to the Covid-19 crisis and current calls on our website. If you have any further questions, please get in touch with the relevant division.
Calls for proposals
A host of ideas for coronavirus research
Within 20 days, researchers have submitted 284 applications for the special call. The majority are biomedical, but there are also 80 projects from the humanities and social sciences.
"Remove paywalls on scientific publications!"
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, swissuniversities, the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Consortium of Swiss Academic Libraries appeal to all publishing houses to make their publications freely accessible.
Requests will be dealt with at pace
Is the coronavirus crisis affecting your research? Do you need to extend the duration of your project or do you require additional funding? Please read the news we published on 19 March 2020. If you have any further questions, please contact the responsible division of the SNSF. We will deal with requests quickly and unbureaucratically.
Extension of mobility fellowships
Around 400 researchers will conclude their mobility fellowship between 30 April and 31 December 2020 (Doc.Mobility, Early Postdoc.Mobility, Postdoc.Mobility and Advanced Postdoc.Mobility). As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, many researchers cannot do their work or are limited in what they can achieve. The SNSF is therefore introducing a special measure that will allow affected researchers to extend their fellowship by two months. To cover the costs, it will make available 4 million francs. Researchers can apply for this extension on mySNF as a supplementary grant with the reference "Covid-19". (The mySNF platform will be upgraded in the next few days.)
Fellowship holders affected by the Covid-19 pandemic can also request an extension if their fellowship does not end by 31 December 2020 or if they need more than a two-month extension. Such applications need to be submitted two to four months before the end of the fellowship.
Pandemic: the SNSF provides flexible solutions for researchers
The Covid-19 pandemic has created problems for researchers. The SNSF is therefore offering whatever support it can. For example, it has moved the submission deadline for project funding proposals to 8 April 2020.
Special call for research on coronaviruses
The SNSF has launched a special emergency call for coronavirus research. The aim is to gain a better understanding of the virus and improve the clinical and public health response.
0a) Can I get a cost-neutral extension for my SNSF-funded project beyond the original end date?
The research activity should be organised in a way that enables you to keep to the schedule and the budget of the SNSF grant. You can make any necessary changes to your research plan on your own responsibility and without informing the SNSF. Should your project nevertheless be delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, you may be granted more time if your case is special and justifies an extension. For this purpose, please transmit an application for a cost-neutral extension two to four months before the end of your project.
This applies to all projects funded by the SNSF, whether in project or career funding, programmes, infrastructure funding or science communication. For information regarding mobility grants, please consult the relevant FAQs (see above).
0b) My project is delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic and needs to be extended? What can I do if there isn't enough money left for the extension period?
The research activity should be organised in a way that enables you to keep to the schedule and the budget of the SNSF grant. You can make any necessary changes to your research plan on your own responsibility and without informing the SNSF. Due to the limited funds available, supplementary grants for project completion can only be approved in exceptional cases.
If you should require a supplementary grant for project completion in spite of the changes, you can submit an application stating reasons. You have to mention in the application the measures you have taken to reduce the costs and time spent as well as any further changes to the research plan. Or you can explain why it was not possible to modify the research plan. Please submit this application two to four months before the end of the grant at the earliest.
0c) Does the SNSF take into account Covid 19-related delays in the eligibility time windows for application submission?
In principle, the exemption rule contained in Art. 1.11 of the General implementation regulations for the Funding Regulations applies. We take into account the reasons set forth in the regulations, mutatis mutandis, also for Covid-19-related delays in research. This includes delays due to illness, but also because of caring for sick relatives, or Covid-19-related assignments on behalf of the general public. Requests for exceptions must always be justified with reasons. The SNSF may request supporting documents (e.g. medical certificate, confirmation of assignment).