PRIMA: The road to a professorship

125 women researchers applied for financial support in response to the second PRIMA call. After a stringent evaluation process, the SNSF selected 19 projects for funding.

The 19 researchers will receive 1.3 million francs on average. This money will cover their own salary, their team members' salaries and other project costs for the next five years. Overall, the SNSF has awarded 26 million francs for PRIMA grants this year.

One of the funded projects was proposed by Lucia Kleint from the University of Geneva. By applying methods used in machine learning, she aims to reach a better understanding of eruptions on the sun and other stars. Kristy Deiner from ETH Zurich is measuring biodiversity based on environmental plant and animal DNA found in lakes. And Daniela Landert from the University of Basel is examining the techniques used in improvisational theatre.

More women professors is the goal

Women are still heavily underrepresented at professorial level across the Swiss higher education institutions. For this reason, the SNSF has devised the PRIMA funding scheme, which promotes excellent women researchers who show great potential. "A PRIMA project is the last stage on the road to a professorship," says Fritz Schlunegger, president of the Specialised Committee Careers. "The SNSF is delighted that the second call, too, was received so enthusiastically and that so many excellent researchers submitted a proposal."

Enhancing their academic profile

The 19 selected researchers will conduct a project with a team of their own, thereby enhancing their academic profile. If the researcher obtains a professorship at a Swiss higher education institution, she may take the PRIMA funds with her to her new workplace.

A third call has been open since 1 August 2019. Project proposals can be submitted until 1 November 2019.