Project funding: 242 million francs for research on self-chosen topics

© Constantine Johnny

Research on preserving biodiversity, emotional eating or the use of digital learning media: the SNSF has once again awarded project funding grants. 337 projects will receive a total of 242 million francs.

Species often show a delayed reaction to changes in the environment – even to efforts to protect them. It is crucial that we understand these dynamic reactions. Only then can we develop effective measures to protect species that are becoming extinct. Environmental scientist Helen Moor from EAWAG, the ETH Domain's water research institute, is investigating these time delays together with her project partners Benedikt Schmidt from the University of Zurich and Nicolas Bircher from the Department of Construction, Transport and Environment of the Canton of Aargau. The aim is to improve nature conservation guidelines for decision-makers.

Thanks to the support of the SNSF, this work can now be continued. Helen Moor's project is one of 337 new research projects funded by the SNSF under its project funding scheme.

862 applications evaluated

The SNSF is awarding 242 million francs to the projects selected from a total of 862 applications. Around 40% of the approved projects are in the life sciences, 33% in mathematics, engineering and the natural sciences, and 26% in the social sciences and humanities. Most of the researchers work at universities (60%). 33% are in the ETH Domain, and the remainder at universities of applied sciences, universities of teacher education and other institutions.

The success rate of the projects submitted was 39.1% – a slight increase compared to the last round in autumn 2022 (38.5%). 36.7% of the applications submitted by women were successful, compared to 40% for men. The share of applications submitted by women increased in the STEM or MINT subjects, but fell slightly in the life sciences and in the social sciences and humanities.

Integration of Sinergia

The SNSF awards project funding grants twice a year, investing about half of its budget in this funding scheme. In June 2023, we will integrate the Sinergia programme, including its budget of around 100 million francs per year, into project funding. This will bring collaborative and interdisciplinary research together in our largest funding scheme and allow us to provide better support for such project work.

Further examples of funded projects

Mathematics, natural and engineering sciences

  • The acquisition of basic acoustic patterns in songbirds and children is the focus of Richard Hahnloser from ETH Zurich, together with project partners in the USA. The project uses neurobiological and computer-based methods to investigate how these patterns influence language acquisition and musical learning.

Social sciences and humanities

  • How can learners' motivation be increased by the targeted design or selection of digital learning materials in the classroom at secondary level? Sascha Schneider from the University of Zurich is investigating this question.
  • Kristina Schulz from the University of Neuchâtel and Matthieu Gillabert from the University of Fribourg are studying the history of Switzerland and its relations with the colonial world. How did colonialism influence the circulation of goods, people, ideas and capital that were of fundamental importance to Switzerland?

Life sciences

  • The transition from the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic to an endemic state entails an "arms race" between population immunity and viral adaptation. Isabella Eckerle from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Geneva is investigating the emergence of new virus variants in this context.
  • Emotional eating – eating in conjunction with an emotional state – can lead to overconsumption as well as eating disorders. Daria Peleg-Raibstein from ETH Zurich is investigating the neurobiological mechanisms that increase susceptibility to uncontrolled overconsumption.