Evaluation shows: Ambizione boosts researchers’ career progress and autonomy

Two mountaineers on the snow-covered crest of a mountain. © zvg

An evaluation report commissioned by the SNSF has come to the conclusion that Ambizione is an efficient and successful career funding scheme. Receiving an Ambizione grant positively effects the careers of young researchers.

Ambizione enables young scientists from Switzerland or abroad to conduct an independent research project at a Swiss higher education institution. After running the scheme for six consecutive years (from 2008 to 2013), the SNSF decided last year to commission a study on how Ambizione impacts grant holders and influences their scientific independence and career progress. The firm chosen to evaluate the funding scheme - INTERFACE Politikstudien Forschung Beratung - carried out an online survey among all Ambizione grantees and their host institutes as well as a number of interviews with former grant holders.

All important targets have been met

The SNSF is very satisfied with the conclusions of the report, which is compiled in English: Ambizione is an effective funding scheme that helps grantees to become more independent and boosts their careers. Being an award, it increases the visibility and competitiveness of grantees on the academic labour market. Hence, the scheme achieves its main goals. Satisfaction with Ambizione is by no means limited to grantees, the funding scheme is an asset for the host institutes as well. What benefits them in particular is the expansion of their scientific profiles and the additional research activities linked to Ambizione. Most of the survey's respondents are happy with the support they receive from host institutes, be it in the form of infrastructure or through additional funding.

Recommendation regarding the funding period

The evaluators have identified a need for action primarily with regard to the funding period, an element of the scheme that respondents were less satisfied with. In fact, one of the key recommendations to emerge from the report concerns extending the duration of Ambizione grants from three to four years. The SNSF already knew about this need among grantees. It will now closely examine the recommendation along with the other suggestions made in the report and formulate potential improvements to the scheme for inclusion in the forthcoming multi-year programme 2017-2020.