7 misconceptions about SNSF research funding - and the reality behind them

In spite of detailed information and advice: some misconceptions about SNSF research funding continue to do the rounds. We’ll tell you what’s true.

1st misconception: "If I am already receiving financial support for a project, I can't apply for another grant."

The truth is: You can, actually. Holding grants for more than one project at a time is permissible. For instance, for two - thematically unrelated - projects in our project funding scheme, and for one further project each in a National Research Programme and under the SPIRIT programme. A substantial personal contribution by the applicant to each project is a precondition.

2nd misconception: "The SNSF only finances joint projects involving several research groups if the projects are interdisciplinary and involve breakthrough research."

The truth is: This condition only applies to the Sinergia programme, but not to project funding or other funding schemes. The SNSF is keen to promote collaboration between different research groups. Collaborative projects may be awarded higher grants, and some of our schemes facilitate joint projects with research groups abroad.

3rd misconception: "I have found the perfect employee. But I am not allowed to employ her for my SNSF-funded project because she did her doctorate more than five years ago."

The truth is: You are allowed to employ people who completed their doctorate more than five years ago. Such researchers are registered as "Other employees" and cannot benefit from any of the SNSF career promotion measures. Academics who do not intend to do a doctorate as well as technical and auxiliary staff also fall into this category.

4th misconception: "If I indicate in the application that my project concerns use-inspired basic research, this will reduce my chances of being funded by the SNSF."

The truth is: Use-inspired basic research has the same chances of being funded as basic research. The project's broader impact is considered during the evaluation. The SNSF will pay more attention to this aspect in the future. Industry experts may be appointed as evaluators if necessary. By implementing the DORA declaration, we want to guarantee that the usefulness of research for the economy and society is considered across the board.

5th misconception: "The SNSF demands that I publish all my project data. This means I cannot assure my test subjects that all data is confidential, and this will make it impossible for me to do research."

The truth is: We do expect that you make your data freely available. However, this requirement only applies if there are no legal, ethical or copyright issues, or confidentiality clauses or other reasons that stand in the way of publication. What is more, personal data can often be anonymised to prevent any inferences about a person's identity.

6th misconception: "SNSF demands that I publish my findings in open-access journals via the gold road. But, in my discipline, there are no suitable journals for this. Therefore I cannot meet the open-access requirement."

The truth is: You can also take the green road: first publish your results in a subscription-based journal, then upload the article to a public database after six months at the latest. For books, the deadline is twelve months. When choosing a journal or a publisher, please make sure that it supports green-road publishing.

The SNSF also accepts publication in journals with a hybrid business model but does not cover any of the costs - quite in contrast to its practice for open-access journals.

7th misconception: "I would like to apply for an Ambizione grant from the SNSF's career funding schemes. But, as I work at a university of applied sciences, I'm not eligible for one."

The truth is: All career funding schemes are open to researchers at universities of applied sciences and universities of teacher education. Some funding schemes even have special conditions in place for applicants from these institutions, thereby taking account of the specific settings of given research fields. That being said, the SNSF has not received many applications for career grants from universities of applied sciences and universities of teacher education until now. We therefore expressly encourage researchers at such institutions to submit more applications.