What's new in research funding?

More funds for Flexibility Grants, open-ended financing of open access book chapters, grants in case of care duties - three changes made by the SNSF. An overview of all the new clauses in SNSF regulations is available on the SNSF website.

The SNSF communicates important changes in its schemes via newsletter and social media and publishes them on its website. If necessary, it writes directly to researchers and higher education institutions. Now it has also created a page on www.snsf.ch that gives an overview of the latest changes in its regulations. "This makes it even easier for interested parties to find out about new opportunities and modified conditions," says Thomas Werder Schläpfer, member of the SNSF Executive Management.

Budget limitation lifted

For instance, the "first come, first served" principle ceased to apply to Flexibility Grants in January 2021. Flexibility Grants help parents to balance their professional and their family life. To improve its support for young researchers, the SNSF has lifted the budget restrictions. The grants will now be awarded initially for a period of up to 24 months. Moreover, researchers only have to submit a simple follow-up application to extend their funding until the end of the project. Applications that are submitted late in the year will no longer be rejected because of a lack of funds.

No limitations on book grants

An adjustment was made in open access funding as well. The SNSF covers so-called "book chapter processing charges" (BCPCs) for individual chapters even if the anthology as a whole is not freely accessible. This rule now applies until further notice, and not just as a temporary transitional provision. The SNSF is following developments in the area of BCPCs closely. Should open access anthologies become increasingly common, it might stop applying this special rule in the future.

Care covered

A further innovation benefits members of SNSF evaluation bodies as well as guests and referees at SNSF events. If they have care duties for children or other dependent persons, they can make use of the services provided under SNSF Care. With this measure, the SNSF contributes towards the cost of travel, room and board. The SNSF can also organise care for children and other dependent persons who need to come along, or it covers the care costs for those staying at home.

"We continually review and develop the processes involved in SNSF funding," says Thomas Werder Schläpfer. "Our focus is fully on improving conditions for researchers: every change in the regulations aims to help them conduct projects of high scientific value".