High demand for SNSF Consolidator Grants

The second transitional measure, launched by the SNSF to replace research funding at European level for a limited period, has met with a great response, as did the first. A total of 111 researchers have sub-mitted proposals for SNSF Consolidator Grants.

Since the acceptance of the Swiss popular initiative “Against mass immigration”, academics wishing to conduct research in Switzerland have been unable to apply for funding to the European Research Council (ERC). The SNSF therefore launched two transitional measures: first the SNSF Starting Grants and now the SNSF Consolidator Grants. A total of 111 researchers grasped the second opportunity by 20 May. The total funding requested in the applications amounts to CHF 216 million. As was the case with the SNSF Starting Grants, the demand for this measure has been in line with expectations, and is roughly equivalent to the submissions made to the ERC last year (2013: 105 applications from researchers in Switzerland).

Maximum of CHF 2 million per project

SNSF Consolidator Grants are aimed at researchers who have gained between seven and twelve years’ experience since their doctorate and have a promising track record. The purpose of the grants is to enable them to conduct independent research and consolidate their team. They work at or are in negotiations with a Swiss research institution. The maximum grant per project is CHF 2 million, over a period of up to five years.

Wide distribution of proposals across disciplines

The SNSF Consolidator Grants are open to applications from researchers in any academic discipline. The highest number of applications concerned mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering, with 56. Biology and medicine was next with 34 applications, followed by the humanities and social sciences with 21. A total of 103 applications came from researchers who  are already working at a research institution in Switzerland, while 8% are currently working abroad and would conduct their research project at a Swiss institution in the event that their application is successful. Approximately 40% of the applicants are Swiss nationals, reflecting the highly international nature of research in Switzerland.

Nine researchers from Switzerland who submitted applications to the SNSF also applied for ERC Consolidator Grants with the aim of moving their research location abroad.

The following higher education institutions were most often cited as the home institutions of applicants: University of Zurich: 19; ETH Lausanne: 16; University of Geneva: 14; University of Bern: 12; University of Fribourg: 8; ETH Zurich: 7; Paul Scherrer Institute: 7; University of Basel: 6; University of Lausanne: 5; University of Lugano: 3; University of Neuchâtel: 3; University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland: 2; EMPA: 2; other research institutions: 7.

The SNSF will evaluate the applications in the coming months and communicate its funding decisions in January 2015.