Research diversity as a basis for innovation

The SNSF is investing 206 million francs in 339 new projects of its project funding scheme. They cover the full range of research topics and generally last four years.

In spring 2020, the SNSF received over 1000 applications for project funding. 998 thereof could be forwarded for scientific evaluation to the National Research Council. At the end of the evaluation procedure in autumn, 339 projects were approved for funding, which corresponds to a success rate of 34%.

Staff salaries and various project costs

In total, the SNSF is investing 206 million francs in the new projects, or 608,000 francs per project on average. The grants cover the salaries of doctoral students, postdocs and other staff as well as research costs. "Receiving financial support enables project leaders to push forward with their research on topics of their own choosing. The hundreds of projects will create the basis for scientific, economic and social innovation," says Thomas Werder Schläpfer, member of the SNSF Executive Management.

Equal success rate for men and women

Of the 339 projects, 81 are led by women. They achieved a success rate of 33%, which is almost the same as the rate of men (34%). The share of women varies strongly between disciplines. While they hold 10% in economics, they reach 31% in basic medical research.

The approved projects are distributed almost evenly between the three main research areas: 38% are in biology and medicine, 32% in mathematics, natural and engineering sciences, and 30% in humanities and social sciences.

The project funding scheme offers financial support to established researchers (see box). Of the successful applicants, 20% are under 40 – which shows that age isn't the only factor in securing an independent research position. And 24% were successful with their first application to the SNSF.

Largest funding scheme

Twice a year, the SNSF awards project funding grants. In total, it selected 671 new projects worth 411 million francs in 2020. Project funding is therefore still by far its largest funding scheme.

Independent research position is a must

Who can apply for the SNSF project funding scheme? Applicants must have an independent research position. This means that you manage your own research projects, which must include a significant contribution of your own. For the duration of the project, you must hold at least a 50% position (0.5 FTE) at a higher education institution or other research institution and have access to the necessary infrastructure. Applicants who submit a joint application need to meet the requirements individually.

Project funding scheme of the SNSF