SNSF Starting Grants 2022
Lead your independent project and your team in Switzerland.
Important note : The SNSF has clarified the requirement of the position of SNSF Starting Grant recipients. The goal is to better address specific situations at different institutions in Switzerland. See news dated 22.12.2021.
Following Switzerland's non-association to Horizon Europe, the SNSF has launched the new transitional measure 'SNSF Starting Grants' on behalf of the Swiss government. The SNSF Starting Grant Call 2022 is an integrative call which, in addition to the transitional measure for the 2022 ERC Starting Grants, also covers the SNSF Eccellenza Professorial Fellowships call 2022. Thus, the conditions of employment of the SNSF Starting Grants are similar to those for researchers who intended to apply to Eccellenza. International and Swiss-based applicants who intended to apply for an ERC Starting Grant to work in Switzerland or an SNSF Eccellenza Professorial Fellowship are welcome to submit an SNSF Starting Grant proposal to the SNSF.
The scheme is open to all disciplines and topics; researchers of any nationality may apply.
With an SNSF Starting Grant, grantees will lead an independent research project and direct a team of researchers in Switzerland. An SNSF Starting Grant comes after several years of research after the PhD, qualification equivalent to a PhD, or medical degree during which grantees have already achieved scientific independence and contributed to impactful research in their field.
Applicants can request a budget of up to CHF 1.8 million for a period of five years.
You meet the personal requirements for this call if:
After your PhD defence:
- You have at least 3 years of research experience
- You submit your application no more than 8 years after the date of your PhD defence.
After your medical degree (state examination or equivalent):
- You have at least 3 years of clinical work and at least 2 years of research experience
- You submit your application no more than 12 years after obtaining your medical degree.
After your PhD equivalent, defined as 3 years of research activity after obtaining the higher education degree:
- You have at least 3 years of research experience
- You submit your application no more than 8 years after obtaining a qualification equivalent to a PhD.
The time periods are calculated based on the submission deadline.
Higher education institution
A scientific Steering Committee, set up by the Presiding Board of the National Research Council, oversees the evaluation and funding activities related to the SNSF Starting Grant Call. It also ensures application of the SNSF’s best practices and compliance regarding conflicts of interest. It is composed of the president of the National Research Council, independent external experts of each research domain (humanities and social sciences; biology and medicine; mathematics, natural and engineering sciences) and members of the Specialized Committee Careers. The evaluation of the submitted proposals is based on the principle of competition. Discipline-specific panels will evaluate the proposals in a two-phase procedure.
The applications are assessed and rated based on the submitted documents for phase 1 and based on the additional external peer reviews and interviews for phase 2, and ranked comparatively to the other applications.
Guidelines and regulations
The general provisions of the SNSF apply to the SNSF Starting Grant Call 2022:
Ethics and integrity:
Research activities and methods that have ethical implications or may raise questions requiring sound ethical assessment must be declared on mySNF. Hence, please take note of the Swiss laws and ethical standards. Furthermore, the rules of scientific integrity must be respected.
Higher education institution:
If your salary at the level of a local assistant professor is covered by the SNSF Starting Grant, the Swiss higher education institution must be an accredited institution under the Federal Act on Funding and Coordination of the Swiss Higher Education Sector (HEdA). Please refer to the list of universities, higher education institutions and universities of applied sciences accredited under the HEdA published by swissuniversities.
If you already have a position as professor at a higher education institution in Switzerland for the duration of the SNSF Starting Grant, the higher education institution will cover your salary. The higher education institution must be established in Switzerland as a legal entity (public or private) under Swiss law.
Where can I find the information needed to create a proposal?
The Call document and other important information can be found under "Documents".
Is it possible to extend the eligibility period in special circumstances?
The time window for submission of an SNSF Starting Grant proposal can be extended if the applicant has suffered a delay due to one of the reasons stated in Clause 1.11 of the General implementation regulations for the Funding Regulations (PDF).
What is the difference between the academic age and the net academic age?
The academic age indicates how much time has passed since the doctorate. It is relevant for calculating the time window in accordance with the personal requirements (see Call document). On the other hand, the net academic age indicates how much time you have been able to spend doing research since your doctorate; it is taken into account in the evaluation.
What can I enter in the forms to declare mobility and to calculate the net academic age?
Please refer to the guidelines and the instructions in the relevant forms. In the mobility statement, you should give reasons for your choice of research institution and set out your completed and planned mobility. In the form used to calculate the net academic age, you should indicate how much time you have been able to spend doing research since your doctorate.
My Ambizione, PRIMA or Eccellenza grant is still ongoing. Can I apply for an SNSF Starting Grant?
You can submit an application for an SNSF Starting Grant while receiving an Ambizione, PRIMA or Eccellenza grant. The research projects must address clearly distinguishable topics.
Are any exceptions possible for an SNSF Starting Grant regarding the minimum of three years' research work required after the doctorate?
No exceptions can be granted. This requirement needs to be met by the submission deadline, with the date of the exam or thesis defense being the relevant date.
Can I have an SNSF Starting Grant and an SNSF project or Ambizione/ PRIMA proposal at the same time in evaluation?
You can submit an SNSF Starting Grant and an SNSF project or Ambizione/ PRIMA proposal. Both grants will only be funded if the research projects clearly address separate topics and you are in a position to make substantial contributions to each of the research projects.
I have an interdisciplinary project that I cannot easily categorize into one research field and a main and sub-discipline(s) on mySNF. What do I need to consider?
The interdisciplinary character of your proposal will be taken into account during the evaluation. Depending on the choice of research field, your proposal will be evaluated in one of the following three research domains: Humanities and Social Sciences, Mathematics, Natural and Engineering Sciences and Biology and Medicine. If your project is situated at the intersection between these domains, you should go to “Basic data I” on mySNF and choose the research field according to where you primarily want the proposal to be evaluated. The main referee will then be assigned from the selected research field, while the co-referees may be assigned from the further research field(s).
My application is linked to a research institution that does not offer assistant professorships; can I still apply for an SNSF Starting Grant 2022 without the guarantee of such a position during the grant?
Yes. For institutions that do not offer assistant professor positions, an equivalent position involving independent project and management responsibilities ("group leader position") is accepted.
What happens if I obtain a professorship and my salary is covered by the SNSF Starting Grant?
You must inform the SNSF accordingly. If the professorship is in Switzerland, you may generally continue to use the project funds. The remaining funds of your salary must be refunded to the SNSF.