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Increase your research experience by making a stay abroad!

Online Event 14 May 2024: slides (PDF)

​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 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. The permit should either be valid at the submission deadline (1 February or 2 August) or should have expired no more than 6 months before the submission deadline.
    • At least 2 years of research activity at a Swiss research institution (for foreign nationals).
  • Application submission

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    Draw up your Postdoc.Mobility application in accordance with the guidelines and submit it using the online platform mySNFExternal Link Icon. We recommend opening your application as early as possible to familiarise yourself with the requirements. We open the application website three months before the submission deadline. Please also note the conditions and requirements in the regulations.

    mySNF user account

    If you are submitting an application to the SNSF for the first time: register on mySNF and request your user account. We will then send you your login information by e-mail. Please note: you must request your user account at least five working days before the submission deadline. If not, we cannot guarantee timely access to mySNF. The user account will be available to you for all applications and for lifetime management of approved projects.

  • Evaluation procedure

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    You can find general information on the evaluation procedure at this link:

    Please also consult the Funding Regulations and the Organisational Regulations of the National Research Council:

    Specific instructions for the Postdoc.Mobility evaluation procedure can be found in the guidelines and the regulations:

  • 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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    a) 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, Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowships or SNSF Starting Grants.

    b) 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?

    With a Postdoc.Mobility fellowship, 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).

    c) Can I use the “net academic age” of the CV also for calculating the eligibility window?

    No, these two are not to be used synonymously. The net academic age is the amount of time you have actually been able to dedicate to research, after deducting interruptions and non-scientific work. The net academic age is taken into account in the evaluation. For more information, see the page "Your curriculum vitae - all about the CV format" and the document "SNSF net academic age (PDF)".

    The personal requirements are stipulated by article 6 of the Postdoc.Mobility Regulations (PDF). The time window may be extended if one or more of the reasons set out in Clause 1.11 of the General implementation regulations for the Funding Regulations apply. The reasons for extending the time window must be outlined in the application.

    d) What may I enter in the statement of mobility?

    In the statement of mobility, you are expected to justify the choice of the research institution and to present your past and planned mobility. Please also refer to the guidelines and the corresponding form. The content of the document will be part of the evaluation.

    e) 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..

    f) 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 their justified request a new confirmation letter from the host institute(s) and eventually an updated research plan (by e-mail to Other funds received, for example another fellowship, do not represent a valid reason to postpone the beginning for more than twelve months.

    g) How are the fellowship rates set?

    The SNSF fellowship rates are set each autumn by the Research Council for fellowships granted in the following year. The costs of living in the respective host countries as well as comparisons with fellowships from other funding organisations and salaries at US universities are taken into account. In addition, feedback from grantees from the final reports is also taken into consideration.

    h) 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.

    i) 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.

    j) Will my Postdoc.Mobility fellowship be taxed in Switzerland?

    Following a federal court ruling, most cantons consider the fellowships awarded by the SNSF to be taxable income in the year of approval or in the year of payment. The tax treatment of a fellowship is exclusively in the competence of the competent cantonal tax authorities. If you have any questions, please contact the relevant office directly. The tax authorities examine each individual case, generally on the basis of Circular No. 43 of the Swiss Federal Tax Administration FTA. If you need a confirmation of the payments made for your tax declaration, please contact the SNSF directly (pm@snf.chExternal Link Icon).

    The SNSF has made repeated efforts to have grants not taxed and has also had several exchanges with the relevant authorities. Unfortunately, there is no legal possibility for an adjustment of the current practice.

    k) Does my SNSF fellowship include contributions to the 1st and 2nd pillars?

    No, as these are not salaries and the SNSF cannot be the employer of the fellowship holders for legal reasons, no direct contributions to the 1st and 2nd pillars can be made. Under certain circumstances, however, you may be able to make AHV/IV/EO contributions during the fellowship. Please refer to Chapter 2 of the Information set “Postdoc.Mobility” (PDF) for further details.

    l) Am I eligible for unemployment insurance?

    Your entitlement to unemployment benefit is assessed on a decentralised basis by the unemployment insurance funds (ALK) based on your registration with the unemployment insurance. Please ask the insurance fund (ALK) in charge (Addresses at Link Icon), your municipality or the regional job centre (RAV) to provide you with the information you need. Important: insured persons who are exempt from the contribution duty are subject to special waiting periods before receiving any unemployment benefits (Article 18 paragraph 2 Unemployment Insurance Act [UIA]). In the case of continuing education (e.g. stay abroad based on an SNSF fellowship), the waiting period is 120 days (Article 6 Unemployment Insurance Ordinance [UIO]).

    In 2017, the National Council discussed a postulat External Link Iconto improve the unemployment insurance for the SNSF fellowship holders. However, the postulat was rejected.

    m) Is it possible to return to the place of research in Switzerland (after a Postdoc.Mobility fellowship) within the framework of a return grant?

    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.

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