The last submission deadline for Early Postdoc.Mobility took place on 1 september 2020.
As of 2021, the SNSF supports postdocs who wish to do research abroad with a single scheme: Postdoc.Mobility. The Early Postdoc.Mobility scheme is integrated into Postdoc.Mobility.
Details under "News" -> 17.9.2020.
Forms, regulations and guidelines
- Regulations Early Postdoc.Mobility (PDF)
- Information set "SNSF mobility fellowships" (PDF)
- SNF-Stipendien und Besteuerung in der Schweiz (German) (PDF)
- Bourses du FNS et imposition en Suisse (French) ()
- Fellowship rates (PDF)
- Useful information for stays in the USA (PDF)
- Funding Regulations (PDF)
- General implementation regulations for the Funding Regulations (PDF)
- Regulations of the National Research Council on the treatment of scientific misconduct (PDF)
a1. COVID-19. I hold a fellowship for a stay abroad or have applied for one, or plan to apply for one in the future. However, the location abroad lies in a region where there is a risk of infection by the coronavirus. What should I do?
(Situation on 11.05.2021; first version: 11 March 2020)
Researchers planning or conducting a stay abroad must follow the advice issued by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), as well as by the responsible authorities in the countries in question.
Fellowship holders who are already in an affected region must respect the directives issued by the local authorities. In the event that they need to return to Switzerland, they must inform the responsible cantonal authorities in Switzerland and follow their instructions, including with regard to quarantine measures.
Besides respecting the recommendations issued by the responsible authorities, the fellowship holder should monitor the situation in the areas in question and take appropriate measures should the risk level go up or their personal safety be threatened. The SNSF must be informed without delay.
Options to be weighed by researchers
We all know that conditions in Switzerland and abroad could change rapidly. Therefore, fellowship holders and candidates - whose personal situations may vary - have to take into consideration the following possibilities in order to find the most appropriate solution for the continuation of their research in the best conditions:
- They can ask the SNSF to postpone the start date of the stay if this is manageable for them and does not breach any of the travel guidelines issued by the authorities in Switzerland and abroad. Furthermore, regarding the start of the grant which has to take place within 12 months after the decision letter, they can extend the deadline for another 6 months; this will give them 18 months since the project was approved to request payment of the grant and to start their project; in such a case, they have to inform the SNSF about the extension by email or at a later stage via the "Request for release of funds" form in mySNF; the message will be sufficient, they don’t need to submit an application;
- They can find another research location, while respecting the travel guidelines issued by the authorities in Switzerland and in the country in question, and ask the SNSF to change their file accordingly (please include a letter of invitation from the new host institution in your request);
- They may ask the SNSF for permission to remain in Switzerland for a certain period of time (for example, 2-4 months) in order to find a solution, i.e. primarily to find a host institution in Switzerland. Regarding the duration, the SNSF will take account of each individual case to ensure that researchers are able to find a solution during this exceptional period. We will also ensure that the duration in Switzerland and the stay abroad are proportionate, with in principle a maximum of 1/2 to be conducted in Switzerland. For any such period conducted in Switzerland, researchers could consider continuing their research work using teleworking technology, provided their host institution (abroad) approves. The home office (teleworking) or the stay in Switzerland’s duration must in principle not exceed half of the fellowship's duration. In the event that this ratio of 1/2 may be exceeded, please check as quickly as possible all the other options mentioned in this FAQ, in particular to what extend another place of research can be found. In any case, you must inform the SNSF in due time if the period of home office or in Switzerland is likely to exceed the ratio of 1/2. Fellowship holders who can’t start their fellowship, for example by teleworking or linking with an institute in Switzerland, should contact the SNSF to discuss their situation if they have no other source of income to cover their living costs and do not qualify for any social insurance benefits.
- Researchers already based abroad who must interrupt their research are requested to contact the SNSF directly in order to establish to what extent a) a temporary suspension of their fellowship or b) teleworking (given the approval of the host institution) might be an option for them, or c) an extension is necessary (see below).
Extension of mobility fellowships
Due the the COVID-19 pandemic, many researchers have needed to interrupt their work or are faced with unexpected obstacles. The SNSF expects that projects are organised or adapted to ensure completion by the date that was originally set. As a special measure, for the fellowships ending until 31 July 2021, fellowship holders can request a prolongation of up to two months if necessary. They can apply for this extension on mySNF as a supplementary grant with the reference "COVID-19". The grant should be requested via mySNF using the form "supplementary grant". It needs to be submitted two to four months before the end of the project. Regarding the fellowships ending after 31 July 2021, it will no longer be possible to apply for a supplementary grant "COVID-19". However, in exceptional and duly justified cases, a supplementary grant may be requested for fellowships ending between 31 July 2021 and 31 December 2021. In which case, fellowship holders are requested to contact the SNSF at the following address for the evaluation of their request, no later than two months before the end of their project.
For holders of a Postdoc.Mobility return grant, duly engaged in Switzerland, the general provisions of the SNSF apply. These holders have to refer to the FAQ valid for the other SNSF funding schemes.
Fellowship holder can extend the deadline for scientific reports for up to two months. All they need to do is send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. Any changes to the research plan that are a result of the exceptional circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic have to be mentioned in the scientific report.
Any questions? Problems?
In case of questions or problems, fellowship holders and candidates can contact email@example.com.
b) Is it possible during the stay abroad of an Early Postdoc.Mobility fellowship to return or stay in a research location that is the same as the place where one was educated?
A further stay or return at the institution of education, where the bachelor’s or master’s degree (or equivalent) or the PhD was obtained, is formally not possible. However, a research stay at the same geographic location (e.g. city) but at a different institution (other than the institution of education) is formally possible. In this context, it should nevertheless be noted that the expected extent of mobility represents an important evaluation criterion. It is a primary aim of the mobility fellowships to promote the mobility and related aspects (promotion of the scientific independence, improvement of the scientific/academic profile).
c) What administrative concerns and possible additional costs must be borne in mind when choosing a host institution for an SNSF mobility fellowship?
You should clarify as early as possible whether a stay at the host institution is subject to any conditions. For example, some host institutions ask fellowship holders to contribute a sum of money towards the institution's overhead. The SNSF does not cover any overhead costs incurred at host institutions abroad, however. The host institution may also ask for funds to cover the research costs. The SNSF can contribute a maximum of CHF 3,000 per year towards research costs if certain requirements are met. Fellowship holders who bring their own financial contribution for covering living costs should generally receive adequate support from their host institution; this support should encompass, among other things, infrastructure as well as any consumables. In this context, please take note of the "Information set SNSF mobility fellowships (PDF)". Please also clarify your status at the host institution. Some host institutes, especially in France, demand that fellowship holders be officially employed at the institution and that the SNSF directly transfers the fellowship to the host institution. In such cases, it is possible that a large portion of the fellowship is spent on social security contributions. The amount that ought to be available to the fellowship holders to cover their living costs is therefore reduced. Another solution, which may enable to keep the fellowship’s amount unchanged, would be that the beneficiary of the fellowship considers with the host institution the possibilities of signing a “hosting agreement for volunteer researchers” (“convention d’accueil pour chercheur/chercheuse bénévole”, similar status as for Researchers Emeritus).
Some host institutes, especially in the USA, also require minimum rates for their researchers, which may depend on the academic age after the PhD. Please clarify this with the responsible offices at the host institute as early as possible. The fellowship rates defined by the SNSF are binding for the year of approval. If the host institution increases the financial requirements, the SNSF will not be able to adjust the fellowship accordingly. In such a case, the SNSF expects the host institution to cover any financial gap.
d) Where can I find information on insurance and tax issues?
e) Until when is it possible to postpone the beginning of the fellowship?
The mobility fellowship must be started no later than twelve months after the date of the ruling. Upon request, it may be possible to postpone the beginning for a further twelve months in case of important reasons such as an illness, an accident or family duties. The grantee must submit with her/his justified request a new confirmation letter from the host institute and eventually an updated research plan. Other funds received, for example another fellowship, do not represent a valid reason to postpone the beginning for more than twelve months.
f) My host institution has increased its minimum funding requirements. Does the SNSF cover the difference between the granted fellowship and the minimum requirement of the host institution?
No, the fellowship rates defined by the SNSF are binding for the year of approval. If the host institution increases the financial requirements, the SNSF will not be able to adjust the fellowship accordingly. In such a case, the SNSF expects the host institution to cover any financial gap.
The Early Postdoc.Mobility scheme will be integrated into Postdoc.Mobility at the end of 2020. The last submission deadline for Early Postdoc.Mobility is 1 September 2020. The first call for the Postdoc.Mobility scheme in its new form will be launched in autumn 2020.