Funding opportunities for universities of applied sciences and universities of teacher education

The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) is gearing its funding opportunities as closely as possible to the needs of universities of applied sciences (UASs) and universities of teacher education (UTEs). Apply for funding of your research now! The SNSF offers a variety of funding schemes.

Do you want to start a new project? Advance your academic career? Extend your network of international partners? The SNSF funds around 3000 such applications each year.

Most research at universities of applied sciences and universities of teacher education is use-inspired. For this reason we have adapted our criteria for evaluating funding applications. Where use-inspired research is concerned, we add the criteria "broader impact". Additionally, we strive to include more experts from practice in the peer-review process. Note: the SNSF does not fund research conducted for directly commercial purposes.

We have adapted several funding schemes and created new ones. For instance, we now approve positions for doctoral students matriculated at a university abroad if there are no suitable partners in Switzerland for the relevant research field. Grantees of the Eccellenza funding scheme for assistant professors can use the grant to finance part of their salary. In tandem with Innosuisse, the SNSF has launched the BRIDGE programme providing support during the transition phase from research to innovation.

You can consult this website to find out more about funding schemes that are suitable for UAS and UTE researcher‪s. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the responsible person at the Administrative Offices of the SNSF by phone. They will be happy to answer your questions for you. Submit an application. Your research at the intersection of science and practice is of great significance for the economy and society.

  • Careers division

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    Do you lack the time and money needed to start a research project and get yourself into position for a professorship? Our career funding schemes can provide a solution. With an Ambizione grant, you will be able to take the first steps towards independent research. Eccellenza enables assistant professors to conduct their own project with their own team. PRIMA is geared to women researchers whose aim is to obtain a professorship. All career funding schemes allow you to conduct your research for a limited time at a private company or in the public sector.

  • Project funding

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    Half of all SNSF funding is invested in project funding. This scheme allows you to choose your own topic and aims. You are free to develop your own ideas, whether they concern basic or applied research. Your salary will continue to be paid by your institution. The SNSF grant can be used to finance your project team and your research costs.

  • Sinergia

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    If you are planning to start an interdisciplinary project with other research groups, Sinergia is the right scheme for you. The SNSF welcomes applications that bring together research groups from different institutions, including universities of applied sciences, universities of teacher education, universities, ETHs and others.

  • Bridge

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    BRIDGE is a joint programme of the SNSF and Innosuisse. BRIDGE strengthens cooperation between science, the private sector and society. It promotes collaboration between researchers at universities of applied sciences, universities of teacher education, universities, ETHs and other institutions.

    BRIDGE Proof of Concept is aimed primarily at young researchers who wish to develop an application or service based on their research results.

    BRIDGE Discovery is aimed in particular at established researchers who assess and implement the innovation potential of research results. Applicants from a UAS or UTE can request that their salary be complemented by Innosuisse.

  • National Research Programmes

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    National Research Programmes (NRPs) address pressing issues of national importance. The topics are specified by the Federal Council. The UASs and UTEs are generally well represented in NRPs with a strong orientation towards application.

  • International Cooperation

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    ​Scientific Exchanges

    The Scientific Exchanges scheme helps you to expand your scientific network. Organise a scientific event! Invite colleagues from abroad to Switzerland or visit them abroad!

    Bilateral programmes

    Set up a research project with a partner from outside Europe. The SNSF currently supports programmes with eight countries. Ideally, the project will involve groups from different institutions.

  • COST

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    The COST initiative promotes European networks in research or so-called COST Actions. Apply for SNSF funding or participate in a COST Action with a project that is already funded.

  • Selection of funding scheme

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    Which SNSF funding scheme is suits your planned project best? Our easy selection guide will give you the answer.

    ​Selection guide for research schemes

  • FAQ

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    a. What career funding schemes are best suited to UASs/UTEs?

    Candidates working at a UAS/UTE can submit applications in all career funding schemes if they meet the formal requirements. All career funding schemes allow you to conduct your research for a limited time at a company or in public administration. We consider Ambizione, Eccellenza and PRIMA as particularly suited to researchers working at a UAS/UTE.

    b. What conditions to I have to meet if I want to submit an application in project funding?

    You need to hold an independent position at a work-time percentage of 50% or more. You must have held your doctorate for four years. Alternatively, you must have worked in research as your main occupation for at least seven years; three of those years will be regarded as equivalent to a doctorate.

    These and further conditions ensure that you have the necessary independence, time and infrastructure to run the submitted project and that you are integrated into your institutions.

    Project funding requirements

    c. When do I have to tick the category "use-inspired basic research"?

    Projects may be use-inspired in different ways, depending on the discipline. For this reason the SNSF does not offer a definitive definition of this category.

    Instead we have compiled a list of typical characteristics, such as: The project aims to solve a practical problem. The research group includes stakeholders from practice. The results will be made accessible to a lay public outside academia. If several of the above-mentioned characteristics are given, the project is likely to be use-inspired.

    Characteristics of use-inspired basic research

    d. What will change in the evaluation process if I tick the category "use-inspired basic research"?

    Use-inspired projects are more complex because they combine academic and practical aspects. The SNSF is currently implementing the recommendations made by an external evaluation team to assess use-inspired projects more adequately. As a result, it is attaching greater importance to the broader impact of projects that have been submitted as use-inspired basic research. At least one of the experts who writes a review should be from practice.

    Use-inspired: recommendations made by the external evaluators

    e. Can I use the SNSF grant to pay my salary?

    In project funding this is not possible. The salaries of the applicants are not part of the eligible costs, but the salaries of scientific and technical staff are covered.

    In most career funding schemes you can use the SNSF grant to pay your salary or part of it. If you obtain a BRIDGE Discovery grant, you can request that your salary be complemented by Innosuisse.

    f. What conditions do I have to meet if I wish to employ a doctoral stu-dent in my project?

    The SNSF approves positions for doctoral candidates at universities of applied sciences and universities of teacher education if there is a well-documented scientific cooperation with a university in Switzerland.

    Are there no suitable university partners in Switzerland in your field? In this case the SNSF also funds doctoral students who are matriculated at a university abroad.

    g. Can I also employ graduates with a bachelor's or a master's degree instead of doctoral students?

    Yes, you can employ graduates who don't intend to do a doctorate.

    h. Can I employ other staff on the grant budget?

    Yes, if they make a specific contribution to the project. But their salaries cannot be charged to the grant over a long, uninterrupted period. You cannot request any career measures for these employees.

    i. Can I hire technical staff for my project and at what work-time percentage?

    Yes, they are considered "further employees". Their work-time percentage must correspond to the actual time spent working on the project.

    j. Can I work with project partners?

    Yes, you can work with partners who will complete a small part of the overall work. Partners are not employed in the project and do not have any overall responsibility. You can charge the costs of their work to the project grant.

    Partners might include researchers working at universities and companies or in public administration and private organisations.

    If, in turn, you act as a project partner, your services will be paid for by the project grant.

    k. Can I submit an application if I have interrupted my scientific career in favour of working in a practical field? Does the SNSF offer any specific funding opportunities for such cases?

    You can submit a grant application if you are currently employed at a university of applied sciences or a university of teacher education.

    At this point in time we do not offer any schemes for researchers who wish to return to academic research.

    l. How successful are applications by researchers from universities of applied sciences and universities of teacher education in the evaluation conducted by the SNSF?

    The success rates vary depending on the research area and the funding scheme. In the humanities and social sciences, up to 40% of UAS and UTE applications obtain funding. In the career funding scheme Ambizione, the success rate climbed above 40% in 2017; in Sinergia, the success rate was over 20%.

    These figures suggest that the UASs and UTEs achieve success rates comparable to universities and ETHs. However, their success rates are considerably lower in other schemes. The adapted SNSF evaluation procedure is expected to improve this situation.

    Success rate compared to other higher education institutions

  • Other information

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