Postdoc.Mobility

Increase your research experience by making a stay abroad!

​Postdoc.Mobility fellowships are aimed at researchers who have done a doctorate and who wish to pursue a scientific or an academic career in Switzerland. A research stay abroad enables such researchers to acquire more in-depth knowledge, increases their scientific independence and enhances their research profile.

The fellowships include a grant for subsistence costs, a flat-rate for travel expenses and a possible contribution to research and conference costs. In addition, fellowship holders can apply for a return grant to finance their initial period of research after returning to Switzerland. The return grant includes a salary and social security contributions.

The funding period is in principle 24 months (fellowship) and 3 to 12 months (return phase).

  • Participation requirements

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    The main participation requirements are listed below.

    The precise periods are calculated on the basis of the relevant submission deadline.

    • A completed doctorate (PhD, MD-PhD) or completed medical studies in human, dental, veterinary, social or preventive medicine with a doctorate (MD), or completion of the doctorate within the next 9 months.
    • Submission up to 3 years after the doctoral exam (PhD, MD-PhD); the date of the examination, respectively the defence of the doctoral thesis is the relevant date.
    • Medical researchers without MD-PhD: submission up to 8 years after the state examination and at least 3 years of clinical activity after the state examination.
    • Swiss nationality, holder of valid Swiss permanent residence, residence or cross-border commuter permit, married to a Swiss national or co-habiting with a Swiss national in a registered partnership.
    • At least 2 years of research activity at a Swiss research institution (for foreign nationals).
  • How To

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    Submission of proposals

    Applications must be submitted via the mySNF platform. The mySNF platform will be opened for submission three months before the respective application deadline.

    Evaluation procedure

  • Documents

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  • Members of the evaluation bodies

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  • Supplementary measures

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  • Details

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    ​Eugen and Elisabeth Schellenberg Foundation

    Covers half of an Postdoc.Mobility fellowship of 2 years in the area of cancer research. The SNSF submits a suitable application to the foundation for the partial funding of a grant which is allocated to one of the advanced research candidates.

    Johanna Dürmüller-Bol Foundation

    Contribution i.a. to the Postdoc.Mobility fellowships. The grant is generally linked to the canton of Berne.

  • FAQ

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    a1) COVID-19. General information about staying abroad

    ​​​(Situation on 1.1.2022; first version: 11 March 2020)

    Researchers planning or conducting a stay abroad must follow the advice issued by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), as well as by the competent authorities in the countries in question.

    Fellowship holders who are already abroad must respect the directives issued by the local authorities. If they return to Switzerland, they must follow the instructions of the responsible cantonal authorities in Switzerland.

    The SNSF does not cover any costs for tests and quarantine measures or other costs related to the preventive measures against Covid-19. It is the fellowship holders’ responsibility to inform themselves about the applicable measures and the steps to be taken before their departure.

    a2) I am already abroad but I have no access to my host institute due to its closure. How should I proceed?

    It is the responsibility of the grantees to find a suitable solution so that they can continue their research.

    Please note that all changes must be communicated to the SNSF as soon as possible and that any change must be approved by the SNSF. Send your request to the following address: pm@snf.ch External Link Icon.

    • They can – if the host institute agrees – work from their home office in the host country for a period of 4 to maximum 6 months, in case the research can be done in these conditions. In any case and as soon as the situation permits, they should resume working at the host institute. The SNSF must be informed in advance if the situation at the host institute does not improve within a reasonable period of time and it becomes evident that conducting the research from the home office will exceed the authorized duration of 6 months. In this case, grantees are asked to consider the following two options:
    • They can find another research location, while respecting the travel guidelines issued by the authorities in Switzerland and in the country in question. A corresponding request for a change of host institute must be submitted to the SNSF (with a letter of invitation from the new host institute as well as a document describing the most important changes compared to the original research plan, if applicable).
    • They can ask for an (unpaid) interruption of their fellowship for a maximum period of 6 months.

    a3) I am not able to start or continue my fellowship because I cannot go to the originally intended host institute(s). How should I proceed?

    In the event that the fellowship holders are not able to travel to the intended research location, they are asked to consider the options described below. It is the responsibility of the grantees to find a suitable solution so that they can start or continue their research.

    Please note that all changes must be communicated to the SNSF as soon as possible and that any change must be approved by the SNSF. Send your request to the following address: pm@snf.ch External Link Icon.

    • They have the possibility to postpone the start date of their fellowship by one year from the date of the decision, if this is possible for them. Due to the current pandemic situation, the SNSF also offers the possibility to postpone the start by 6 additional months; this gives them up to 18 months (from the date of the official decision) to submit the request for the release of funds and to start the project. Fellowship holders are requested to inform the SNSF about the postponement by e-mail or, at the latest, via mySNF through the form "Request for release of funds". If the start of the fellowship is postponed by 3 months or more, a new letter of invitation from the host institution must be attached to the "Request for release of funds" form. The release of funds must be requested via mySNF as soon as the start date is known and not earlier than 2 months before the start.
    • They can find another research location, while respecting the travel guidelines issued by the authorities in Switzerland and in the country in question. A corresponding request for a change of host institute must be submitted to the SNSF (with a letter of invitation from the new host institute as well as a document describing the most important changes compared to the original research plan, if applicable).
    • They can start the fellowship in their home office in Switzerland for a maximum of 4 to 6 months, provided that their host institute agrees and that their research can be started or continued under these conditions. As soon as the situation permits, they must continue the fellowship at the research location. In the event that access to their host institute or university is not possible or only partially possible due to closure or access restrictions, they may - with the consent of their host institute - start / work from their home office in the host country. If it is foreseeable that the maximum duration in the home office will be exceeded, they should check the other options mentioned in this FAQ (point a2) as soon as possible. In any case, the SNSF must be informed in advance if the time spent in the home office in Switzerland or abroad is likely to exceed the maximum duration of 6 months.

    In the event that none of the above options can be considered, grantees are kindly requested to contact the SNSF at the following address: pm@snf.ch External Link Icon.

    a4) Scientific reports

    Fellowship holder can extend the deadline for scientific reports for up to two months. All they need to do is send a message to pm@snf.ch External Link Icon. Any changes to the research plan that are a result of the exceptional circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic have to be mentioned in the scientific report.

    Extension of mobility fellowships

    As of 1 January 2022, it will no longer be possible to apply for an extension of the mobility fellowship with an additional grant "Covid-19".

    Postdoc.Mobility return grant

    For holders of a Postdoc.Mobility return grant duly engaged in Switzerland, the general provisions of the SNSF apply. These holders have to refer to the FAQ valid for the other SNSF funding schemes.

    b) Is it possible to postpone the start of the fellowship?

    The mobility fellowship must be started no later than twelve months after the date of the ruling. The chosen starting date can simply be indicated in the form “Request for release of funds” on mySNF. Please submit the form “Request for release of funds” via mySNF approx. 1 - 2 months before the definitive start of the fellowship. For a deferral of three months or more, please attach a new letter of invitation from the host institute(s) as well as a document describing the most important changes compared to the original research plan (not necessary if there is no change).

    Upon request, it may be possible to postpone the beginning for a further twelve months in case of important reasons such as an illness, an accident or family duties. The grantee must submit with her/his justified request a new confirmation letter from the host institute(s) and eventually an updated research plan (by e-mail to pm@snf.ch). Other funds received, for example another fellowship, do not represent a valid reason to postpone the beginning for more than twelve months.

    c) Can I submit an application for a Postdoc.Mobility fellowship and for another career grant in parallel (for example, for Ambizione)?

    Postdoc.Mobility grants can only be requested for periods where no other funding has been awarded by the SNSF or third parties and no other career grants have been applied for. However, it is possible to apply for funding starting after expiry of the Postdoc.Mobility fellowship or the return grant. During the evaluation process for a return grant, it is also possible to submit a parallel application for an Ambizione, PRIMA, or Eccellenza.

    d) As holder of an Early Postdoc.Mobility fellowship, how do I need to proceed in mySNF if I want to continue my research stay abroad or start a new project?

    Please check that you fulfill all participation requirements on the date of the submission deadline for Postdoc.Mobility. If this is the case, you need to create a new Postdoc.Mobility application in mySNF. In the container "Link to other SNSF projects", please enter the number of your Early Postdoc.Mobility fellowship. Please indicate (under "type of relationship") if the Postdoc.Mobility project is a scientific follow-up of the Early Postdoc.Mobility project or if it is a new project. If there is a gap between the end of the Early Postdoc.Mobility fellowship and the possible start of the Postdoc.Mobility fellowship, you have to mention if you will be financed or not and where you are staying during this interruption.

    e) I was awarded an Early Postdoc.Mobility fellowship for 18 months. Which funding period can I request for a Postdoc.Mobility fellowship?

    According to current practice, the funding period of 36 months comprising Early Postdoc.Mobility and Postdoc.Mobility fellowships may not be exceeded. As holder of an Early Postdoc.Mobility fellowship lasting 18 months, you would therefore have the option to request a Postdoc.Mobility fellowship for at the most another 18 months.

    f) Can I submit a Postdoc.Mobility application if I am a foreigner and already abroad with an Early Postdoc.Mobility fellowship?

    Yes, foreign candidates who are already funded by an Early Postdoc.Mobility fellowship and who therefore do not hold a valid Swiss permanent residence or residence permit anymore may submit an application for a Postdoc.Mobility fellowship in order to extend their research stay abroad (min 12 months; the funding period of 36 months abroad comprising mobility fellowships for Early Postdoc.Mobility and Postdoc.Mobility may not be exceeded), as long as they fulfill the requirements according to the Postdoc.Mobility Regulations. The beginning of the Postdoc.Mobility fellowship must start directly after the end of the Early Postdoc.Mobility fellowship. Exceptions can be considered if the Postdoc.Mobility application is submitted while the Early Postdoc.Mobility fellowship is still ongoing and the Postdoc.Mobility fellowship starts at the latest 6 months after the end of the Early Postdoc.Mobility fellowship. If there is an interruption between the end of the Early Postdoc.Mobility fellowship and the start of the requested Postdoc.Mobility fellowship, please clearly state in your application whether you are funded or not during this time and where you are staying during this interruption.

    g) I am abroad with a Doc.Mobility fellowship and I do not hold a valid Swiss residence permit anymore. May I still submit a proposal for a Postdoc.Mobility fellowship?

    Yes, if at the time of the submissions deadline you are abroad with an ongoing Doc.Mobility fellowship and you fulfill all the other participation requirements, you may submit a proposal even if your residence permit is not valid anymore. Please take note that beneficiaries of Doc.Mobility fellowships must continue their doctoral studies and obtain their doctorate at their home institution once the mobility fellowship has ended.

    h) Is it possible during the stay abroad of a Postdoc.Mobility fellowship to return or stay in a research location that is the same as the place where one was educated?

    A further stay or return at the institution of education, where the bachelor's or master's degree (or equivalent) or the PhD was obtained, is formally not possible. However, a research stay at the same geographic location (e.g. city) but at a different institution (other than the institution of education) is formally possible. In this context, it should nevertheless be noted that the expected extent of mobility represents an important evaluation criterion. It is a primary aim of the mobility fellowships to promote the mobility and related aspects (promotion of the scientific independence, improvement of the scientific/academic profile).

    i) Can I use the “net academic age” for calculating the eligibility window?

    No, these two are not to be used synonymously. The personal requirements are stipulated by Article 6 of the Postdoc.Mobility Regulations (PDF). The “net academic age” indicates how much time you could devote to research since your relevant degree. This is taken into account in the evaluation.

    j) What may I enter in the statement of mobility and the calculation of the net academic age?

    Please refer to the guidelines and the corresponding forms. You are expected to present your past and planned mobility (statement of Mobility) and how much time you could devote to research since your relevant degree (net academic age). You can decide for yourself what you consider relevant here. The content of the documents will finally form part of the evaluation.

    k) What administrative concerns and possible additional costs must be borne in mind when choosing a host institution for an SNSF mobility fellowship?

    You should clarify as early as possible whether a stay at the host institution is subject to any conditions. For example, some host institutions ask fellowship holders to contribute a sum of money towards the institution's overhead. The SNSF does not cover any overhead costs incurred at host institutions abroad, however. The host institution may also ask for funds to cover the research costs. Fellowship holders who bring their own financial contribution for covering living costs should generally receive adequate support from their host institution; this support should encompass, among other things, infrastructure as well as any consumables. In this context, please take note of point 11.2 of the Information set “Postdoc.Mobility” (PDF) as well as chapter 2.4.3 of the guidelines (PDF). Please also clarify your status at the host institution. Some host institutes, especially in France, demand that fellowship holders be officially employed at the institution and that the SNSF directly transfers the fellowship to the host institution. In such cases, it is possible that a large portion of the fellowship is spent on social security contributions. The amount that ought to be available to the fellowship holders to cover their living costs is therefore reduced. Another solution, which may enable to keep the fellowship’s amount unchanged, would be that the beneficiary of the fellowship considers with the host institution the possibility of signing a “hosting agreement for volunteer researchers” (“convention d’accueil pour chercheur/chercheuse bénévole”, similar status as for Researchers Emeritus). Some host institutes, especially in the USA, also require minimum rates for their researchers, which may depend on the academic age after the PhD. Please clarify this with the responsible offices at the host institute as early as possible. The fellowship rates defined by the SNSF are binding for the year of approval. If the host institution increases the financial requirements, the SNSF will not be able to adjust the fellowship accordingly. In such a case, the SNSF expects the host institution to cover any financial gap..

    l) My host institution has increased its minimum funding requirements. Does the SNSF cover the difference between the granted fellowship and the minimum requirement of the host institution?

    No, the fellowship rates defined by the SNSF are binding for the year of approval. If the host institution increases the financial requirements, the SNSF will not be able to adjust the fellowship accordingly. In such a case, the SNSF expects the host institution to cover any financial gap.

    m) Is it possible during the return period in Switzerland of a Postdoc.Mobility fellowship to return in a research location that is the same as the place where one was educated?

    Concerning the return period, the regulations do not formally exclude the possibility to return to the place of education. However, such a choice could be critically evaluated with regard to the increasing independence expected from Postdoc.Mobility fellowship holders and with regard to the chances to pursue an academic career. The return period must be conducted at a Swiss higher education research center.

    n) When can I submit an application for a return grant?

    Applications for return grants must be submitted by the official deadlines while the Postdoc.Mobility fellowship respectively is still ongoing.

    o) Do I have to submit a Data Management Plan for the mobility fellowships?

    No Data Management Plan needs to be submitted for the mobility fellowships.

    p) Where can I find information on insurance and tax issues?

    The information set "Postdoc.Mobility" (PDF) gives you detailed information on tax and insurance issues as well as on other administrative matters.

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