SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowships (SPF)

Grants for early career researchers.

Following Switzerland’s non-association to Horizon Europe as of 2021, early-career researchers with destination Switzerland are not eligible to apply for monobeneficiary schemes such as the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) individual postdoctoral fellowship.

The SNSF is therefore offering a comparable call for proposals as part of the transitional measures in 2021. Applicants of any nationality with destination Switzerland who intended to apply for a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) individual postdoctoral fellowship can submit their proposal.

The scheme is open to all research disciplines and topics.

This funding scheme will offer applicants with a PhD and no more than eight years of postdoctoral experience a position at a non-commercial research institution in Switzerland for 12-24 months.

The grant includes the postdoctoral fellow’s salary with social security contributions, financial contributions to research, and conference costs.

Photo: © Universität Basel, Christian Flierl

  • Participation requirements

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    Eligibility criteria

    The following criteria apply to the SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowships:

  • How To

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    Submission of proposals

    mySNF account:

    You have to submit your proposal to the SNSF via the electronic mySNF platform, for which you will need a mySNFExternal Link Icon user account.

    To guarantee timely access, new user accounts must be requested no later than two working days before the pre-registration deadline. The login information will subsequently be sent to you by e-mail. Your mySNFExternal Link Icon access will remain in place for future submissions or for the lifetime management of approved projects.

    Documents required for the application:

    Eligibility criteria for the host institution:

    Budget:

    SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowships cover the grantee's salary including social security contributions.

  • Evaluation procedure

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    Receipt and verification at the SNSF:

    Verification of formal requirements and eligibility

    The National Research Council of the SNSF and the evaluation bodies it appoints are responsible for the scientific evaluation and for taking the relevant funding decisions.

  • Administration of grants

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    Detailed information on grants administration can be found under the following link:

  • Documents

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  • FAQ

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    What is the grant award of a SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowship?

    With the Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowships, the SNSF covers the recipients’ salary and social security costs. The average gross salary will be around CHF 105,000 per annum for a work-time quota of 100% (1 FTE). The SNSF and the HR office of the higher education institution where the grant holder is employed will define the precise salary for postdocs in accordance with the salary scales applied by the institution to researchers with comparable qualifications.

    For guidelines on the rates for employees and for social contributions, refer to:

    Annex 12: Salary ranges, guidelines for employees in SNSF-funded projects
    and blankets amounts for social security contributions
    (PDF)

    In addition to the recipients’ salary, project funds, including research costs directly linked to the implementation of the project, training and networking contributions, are also covered. Project funds must not exceed CHF 24,000 for a two-year grant. If the duration of the SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowship is less than 2 years, the maximum amount will be proportionately smaller.

    Can an SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowship be conducted at different host institutions?

    In principle, the SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowship is awarded for a continuous stay in Switzerland. It is permissible, however, to conduct the stay at different host institutions in Switzerland or abroad. Also, it is permissible to spend parts of the SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowship at institutions operating in the practical field (industry, administration, etc.; Intersectoral mobility). The total duration of such stays may not, however, exceed one third of the SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowship. During the period spent at another host institution, the grantee will remain employed at the (main) host institution in Switzerland.

    Do I need as a researcher in the medical field to have a PhD to be eligible for an SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowship or is an MD also accepted?

    At the time of the submission deadline, researchers must hold a doctoral degree (PhD) to be eligible as postdoctoral researchers. A medical doctor degree will be accepted only if it corresponds to a research doctorate or a comparable academic degree (PhD, MD-PhD), or if the researcher can show that, they have been appointed to a position that requires doctoral equivalency (e.g. postdoc position, professorship appointment thanks to a Staatsexamen or equivalent exam). Medical doctor degrees corresponding to basic medical training (e.g. MD, see also Annex V of Directive 2005/36/EC) will not be considered a doctoral degree.

    Researchers who have defended their doctoral thesis but not yet formally been awarded the doctoral degree will also be considered postdoctoral researchers and eligible. An official document confirming that they have successfully passed the doctoral exam is required.

    Note that doctoral studies for attaining an MD-PhD degree cannot be funded under the SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowships call.

    As the recipient of an SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowship, can I work part-time?

    Researchers must commit themselves as grantees to a work quota of 100% (1.0 FTE). A part-time work quota corresponding to at least 80% (0.8 FTE) is possible if the grantee has clinical or care duties, or pursues courses at a higher education institution to further his/her career.

    For researchers doing clinical work: The salary share dedicated to research (at least 80%) is covered by the SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowship. The salary share for the work-time percentage dedicated to clinical work (up to 20%) must be covered by the research institution.

    As the recipient of an SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowship, can I delay the start of the grant and, if yes, for how long?

    Yes, a delay is possible until one year after the date of the SNSF decision letter.

    I am a recipient of an MSCA grant. Can I apply for an SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowship?

    Recipients of an MSCA grant can apply for an SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowship if the eligibility criteria are met. By the submission date and during the evaluation of an application, researchers must immediately inform the SNSF about any other applications currently being evaluated by the SNSF or third parties as well as about ongoing grants from the SNSF or third parties. (Funding Regulations (PDF), Article 18). The SNSF does not award any grants for research projects that are already being funded by the SNSF or third parties (Funding Regulations (PDF), Article 8, Paragraph 3, letter e). In other words, double funding for the same research project is explicitly excluded. Should the applicant receive another grant from the SNSF for the same project, they must decide which one to accept and which one to decline.

    Under SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowships, may a supervisor have multiple grantees?

    Yes, a supervisor can host multiple recipients of a Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowship, as long as support for each of them is ensured. However, the SNSF does not award any grants for research projects that are already being funded by the SNSF or third parties (Funding Regulations (PDF), Article 8, Paragraph 3). In other words, double funding for the same research project is explicitly excluded.

    Under SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowships, the researcher has been living in Switzerland for more than one year. Is the researcher eligible to apply for an SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowship?

    No, the researcher would not be eligible for an SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowship. In order to ensure the equal treatment of all applicants, the mobility rule is applied strictly*. However, short stays for medical reasons (including entry quarantine due to Covid regulations) will not be taken into account for the assessment of the mobility rule. If the researcher had to relocate to Switzerland in order to obtain medical care during a significant period of time, this long stay will, however, be taken into account.

    *Please note: As the deadline set for this year’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Postdoctoral Fellowships is 12 October 2021, researchers are also eligible to apply for an SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowship if they would have been able to meet the mobility rule on 12 October 2021 and apply under the MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships scheme.

    Under SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowships, how will the mobility rule be applied to periods of remote working/teleworking, when assessing eligibility?

    In order to be eligible, the researcher cannot be in either of the two following situations*:

    • have resided in Switzerland for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately prior to the call deadline;
    • have carried out his/her main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Switzerland for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately prior to the call deadline. In case of remote work performed from another country for an employer located in Switzerland, the place of main activity is considered as Switzerland.

    Example: A researcher started a contract with a Swiss university in January 2020. However, the researcher worked for the Swiss university remotely from another country. As per the mobility rule in Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowships, the researcher will not be eligible.

    *Please note: As the deadline set for this year’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Postdoctoral Fellowships is 12 October 2021, researchers are also eligible to apply for an SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowship if they would have been able to meet the mobility rule on 12 October 2021 and apply under the MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships scheme.

    The researcher exceeds the eligibility window of 8 years after the obtainment of the PhD degree with respect to the submission deadline. Can the researcher still apply for an SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowship?

    In case researchers exceed the eligibility window with respect to the submission deadline, an extension may be requested. Researchers must explain their reasons for applying for an extension to the SNSF. In particular, the following reasons for delays are acceptable (see Clause 1.11 para. 2 of the General implementation regulations for the Funding Regulations (PDF)):

    a. paternity, adoption or parental leave;

    b. inability to work due to illness or accident;

    c. care duties;

    d. services that benefit the general public, particularly military or civilian service;

    e. continuing education in connection with the applicant’s research activities, particularly internships or clinical work;

    f. preparatory activities connected to the dissertation, e.g. participation in classes at a doctoral school.

    The weeks during which the research activity was interrupted, reduced or not increased for an acceptable reason will be considered for the extension. The difference in percentage between the actual work-time percentage and 100% is recognized. If the research work is interrupted, the relevant weeks will be recognized for the extension in full (100%).

    In the event of maternity, the relevant period is extended by 18 months per child. 6 If the applicant can prove that the delay exceeds 18 months, the additional time will be added to the said period.

    Important notice: The SNSF will perform the eligibility assessment only after the submission deadline based on the whole dossier. In other words, a pre-eligibility check before the call deadline cannot be made.

    Under SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowships, can researchers of any nationality apply?

    Researchers for an SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowship can be of any nationality (including Swiss nationality), who have not resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Switzerland for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately prior to the submission deadline*.

    *Please note: As the deadline set for this year’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Postdoctoral Fellowships is 12 October 2021, researchers are also eligible to apply for an SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowship if they would have been able to meet the mobility rule on 12 October 2021 and apply under the MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships scheme.

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