Aiming for a permanent professorship

The second call of the Eccellenza scheme has generated a great deal of interest. Based on the call, the SNSF will now fund 45 outstanding researchers.

With the introduction of Eccellenza in 2018, the SNSF increased its support for highly qualified young researchers. In 2019, the SNSF received 229 funding applications, which it evaluated in a two-stage evaluation process. 45 projects were selected for funding. On average, the researchers will receive 1.6 million francs over a period of five years; the overall funding amount is 72 million francs.

"We are delighted that so many researchers submitted an application in response to the second call," says Marcel Kullin, head of the Careers division of the SNSF. "It confirms that this scheme is of great importance for the promotion of early-career researchers."

Wide thematic range

Like the former SNSF professorship funding scheme, the 34 "SNSF Eccellenza Professorial Fellowships" will support researchers who are working towards obtaining a permanent professorship. The SNSF will cover their project expenses as well as their salaries at the predefined rate for assistant professors at their higher education institution. Among the fellowship holders is mathematician Mathilde Bouvel, the 2017 winner of the Marie Heim-Vögtlin prize, who will pursue a project in combinatorics at the University of Zurich. Another recipient is political scientist Diego Garzia, who will analyse political behaviour in national elections at the University of Lausanne.

With the 11 "SNSF Eccellenza Grants", the SNSF will support projects by researchers with assistant professorships which are already funded by the higher education institution and which offer the prospect of a permanent position (tenure track). Among the grantees is Marie Barberon, who will run a project in developmental biology on the transport of nutrients in plants at the University of Geneva.

40 per cent women

The 45 funded researchers will take up their posts at seven Swiss universities and both federal institutes of technology. 40 per cent are women. The full list of projects can be found on the Eccellenza web page.

"The Eccellenza grants and fellowships create ideal conditions for young researchers who want to run their own project and bring themselves into a good position to secure a permanent professorship," says Marcel Kullin. The promotion of academic careers is one of the SNSF's main priorities.