More resources for assistant professors

With the aim of maintaining the competitiveness of Swiss research, the SNSF is launching a new career funding scheme at assistant professor level.

"We have to make academic careers more appealing in this country, so that Swiss research can continue to compete internationally at the highest level. We need young researchers who are critical thinkers and question existing knowledge or develop it in novel ways - such research leads to innovation and is therefore crucial to Switzerland's economic prosperity and affluence," says Matthias Egger, President of the Research Council.

With this in mind, the SNSF is expanding its funding of highly qualified researchers at assistant professor level. In collaboration with the higher education institutions, it is creating clearer career prospects and promoting earlier scientific independence for young researchers. To support the creation of additional assistant professorships with tenure track (APTT) at higher education institutions, the SNSF will be issuing a call for SNSF Eccellenza Grants aimed at newly appointed assistant professors. Tenure track offers the possibility of obtaining a permanent professorship after a period of probation lasting several years. The promotion of young researchers aiming to obtain a professorship will continue in the form of SNSF Eccellenza Professorial Fellowships (replaces SNSF professorships).

The new SNSF Eccellenza funding scheme is aimed at highly qualified young researchers who are aiming for a permanent professorship. This scheme enables them to achieve their goal as leaders of a generously funded research project and team at a higher education institution in Switzerland. All in all, around 45 Eccellenza awards – both SNSF Eccellenza Grants and SNSF Professorial Fellowships - are expected to be made in 2018. "This will create direct and fair competition between upcoming researchers who are at the same stage in their careers," says Marcel Kullin, head of the Careers division of the SNSF.

SNSF Eccellenza Professorial Fellowships

These fellowships are aimed at excellent researchers in all disciplines who have a doctorate or equivalent qualification and who are pursuing an academic career, but have not yet won an assistant professorship. They can request their own salary at the local rates applicable to assistant professors as well as project funds of up to 1,000,000 Swiss francs for five years.

SNSF Eccellenza Grants

These grants are aimed at researchers in all disciplines who have recently been appointed as assistant professors with tenure track at a Swiss higher education institution. They can apply for project funds of up to 1,500,000 Swiss francs for five years.

Eligibility requirements

SNSF Eccellenza Professorial Fellowships can be appliedfor between three and eight years after completing the doctorate or equivalent qualification. Due to late communication as well as greater stringency with regard to the maximum limit, it has been decided thatsubmissions will be possible in justified cases until a maximum of 9 years for the first call(plus a further year pursuant to Article 1.11 of the General implementation regulations for the Funding Regulations).Clinical researchersare eligible to submit applications for the first call if they obtained their medical licence ("Staatsexamen")no more than 13 years ago(plus a further year pursuant to Article 1.11 of the General implementation regulations for the Funding Regulations).

Researchers applying for SNSF Eccellenza Grants must have been assured of an assistant professorship with tenure track beginning no later than the start of the project. At the submission deadline, they must not have been employed for more than 18 months as APTT.

First call in November 2017

The call for SNSF Eccellenza awards will be launchedon 15 November 2017, with the submission deadline being 15 February 2018. Regulations detailing the participation requirements, guidelines for applicants and further information will be available on the SNSF website as of 15 November 2017.