Strong interest in SNSF transitional measures
Since Switzerland became a third country not associated to the EU's Horizon Europe programme, the SNSF has offered transitional measures for Swiss researchers on behalf of the government. 2600 proposals have already been received.
Since June 2021, Switzerland has been considered a non-associated third country in Horizon Europe, the EU's framework programme for research and innovation. On behalf of the Swiss government, the SNSF has launched five transitional measures: SNSF Advanced Grants, SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowships, SNSF Starting Grants, SNSF Consolidator Grants and the Quantum Transitional Call. These schemes are aimed at supporting researchers in Switzerland who no longer have access to certain essential parts of the Horizon Europe programme (about one third), as well as at strengthening science in Switzerland as a whole.
What is the status of these measures?
The first three transitional measures introduced (SNSF Advanced Grants, SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowships, SNSF Starting Grants) have all launched their second call for proposals. A total of eight calls have been launched since 2021. To date, the SNSF has received more than 2600 applications and awarded funding to 190 projects under these measures. In each call, the SNSF received more applications from researchers in Switzerland than the original instruments at the European level, including the European Research Council (ERC). For example, for the SNSF Advanced Grants 2021, the SNSF received 232 applications, more than double the number of applications that scientists in Switzerland submitted to the ERC Advanced Grants 2020 (108).
The transitional measures of the SNSF correspond as far as possible to the European calls. Panels composed of international experts, comparable to the panels in the original European instruments, evaluate the applications based on the same criteria.
Funding for the SNSF transitional measures is provided by the government. In 2021 and 2022, it amounted to 292 million Swiss francs. (A detailed breakdown of the budget can be found on the website of the SERI.) The funds approved by Parliament for the Horizon package at the end of 2020 were made available for this purpose.
However, these measures cannot fully replace the Horizon Europe framework programme. The SNSF is therefore advocating a rapid and full association of Switzerland to the European programme.