Fondo Istituzionale per la Ricerca (FIR)

Fondo Istituzionale per la Ricerca (FIR) aims to promote long-term research development at Università della Svizzera italiana (USI). Funding through this strategic fund is limited in duration and is directed towards projects whose realization cannot be ensured with current resources or external financing.

The FIR 2024 call focuses on:

  1. Supporting early-stage postdoctoral researchers (with a PhD degree) to enable them becoming scientifically independent.
  2. Supporting doctoral schools.
  3. Supporting innovative and interdisciplinary projects with particular reference to sustainability.

The deadline will be on 30.09.2024, at 17:00 CET.

See the sections below for more details on each category.


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  • a) FIR Call 2024 - Support for Young Researchers

    The aim is to support young researchers with a Ph.D. in developing independent research and acquiring competitive funding.

    Postdoctoral researchers with at least 2 years of research experience and no more than 8 years experience after the date of their PhD defence. 
    Any extension to these time periods can be requested for the reasons listed in point 1.2 of the call document.

    Both internal researchers and external researchers invited by faculty members of USI to submit a specific project can participate.

    Since the call is fully funded by the Institutional Research Fund USI, affiliated institutes (IRB, IOR, IRSOL, FTL) cannot serve as hosts.

    Projects may include a period of mobility abroad.

    Duration and Funding:
    Up to 120,000 CHF for a duration of 24 months.
    The following costs are covered:

    • Salary of the Principal Investigator (up to 50%).
    • Research costs, personnel support, and travel expenses.

    Additionally, up to 20,000 CHF can be requested for additional costs related to mobility abroad.

  • b) FIR Call 2024 - Support for Doctoral Schools


    To strengthen doctoral training, particularly by offering courses and other skills development activities for doctoral candidates.


    Institutes and faculties at USI, possibly in collaboration with institutes from other universities.

    Duration and Funding:

    Up to 100,000 CHF for a duration of 36 months. Eligible costs include:

    • Organization of doctoral courses: fees, travel, and accommodation costs.

    • Networking events for doctoral candidates: travel and accommodation costs.

    Coordination costs must be covered by the institute managing the school. The participation of external doctoral candidates to USI is possible, but they will need to cover their own expenses.

  • 3) FIR Call 2024 - Innovative and Interdisciplinary Research Projects

    Consistent with the strategic planning of USI, the aim is to develop innovative and interdisciplinary research projects, with a particular focus on the sustainability field - broadly defined as research contributing to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. These projects should initiate new research lines that could potentially receive funding from external sources. The FIR contribution should be seen as seed money to kickstart these initiatives.

    Principal Investigators (PIs) and co-PIs who meet the criteria for submitting project funding to the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).

    Since the call is fully funded by the Institutional Research Fund USI, it is exclusively open to USI researchers, excluding affiliated institutes.

    Duration and Funding:
    Up to 100,000 CHF for a duration of 12 months.
    Eligible costs include:
    • Research personnel costs.
    • Costs for networking activities and workshops.

    Substantial co-financing is required from the hosting institute/faculty, which can come from the corporate budget or third-party funds.


  • FIR Call 2024 - How to apply

    In order to apply to one of the three calls, please download the relevant documents from the right section of this website (call document, application form, budget form).

    Fill out and submit your application form, together with all the necessary attachments in one single PDF file, to [email protected] by the 30th of September, 17:00 

  • Funding for specific needs in research through the FIR

    USI grants specific and limited funding for research activities through FIR.

    Potential beneficiaries
    Members of the teaching staff and intermediate body (MER and Group leaders) who have a work contract with USI.
    Incurred costs can include:

    • Purchase of data, software, hardware for specific needs
    • Seed money for researchers
    • Enhancement of sabbatical periods.

    The maximum funding is 20.000 CHF and is not repeatable for a period of two years.

    Evaluation criteria
    Additional value of the funds for the development of research activities and the acquisition of third-party funds.
    Absence of other funding possibilities.

    The motivated application must be submitted to the Research Service ( including a motivation for the request, indication of the contribution to the development of research, prospects for acquiring other funds, and the budget.
    Applications will be evaluated by a member of the USI Research Commission; based on this, the Vice-Rector for Research will formulate a proposal for a decision for the consideration of the Rectorate.

  • Supported Projects

    In 2022, USI received 11 proposals for young researchers and 3 proposals for doctoral schools. Considering the available funds, it was possible to finance the following projects:

    Support for Young Researchers

    Dr. Chuprikov, Safe and Modular Control Plane-aware Programming of the Network Data Plane;

    Dr.ssa Levin, Thermal Communities in Times of Climate Crisis; Berlin as Case Study;

    Dr. Pizzagalli, A digital biomarker for the responsiveness of the immune system to cell death;

    Dr. Riva, Performance boost for radiative magneto-hydrodynamics simulations in astrophysics;

    Dr.ssa Silchenko, PATHOLOGICAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR DIGITAL WELLBEING: Consumer Responsibilisation in Health(ism)-Driven Hyperdigital Marketplace;

    Dr. Zulian, Simulation of creeping flows and structure interaction on Terabyte size data.

    Support for Doctoral Schools

    Prof.ssa Mengis, Socio-Cultural Approaches in Business Studies: Theoretical Foundations and Theory-Building;

    Prof.ssa Hildebrand e Prof. Roesler, The doctoral school at AAM.

  • Q&A

    Is the FIR call also open to USI-affiliated institutes?

    No, as the FIR is not financed by the overhead of the affiliated institutes but only by the overhead generated by USI. The research Group of the Professor should be at USI.

    Support to Young Researchers call: What does it mean that a maximum of 50% of the PI's salary is covered?

    The FIR may cover a maximum of one FTE position at 50%. If the applicant wants a contract with USI for a higher percentage, he/she must cover the remaining percentage with other funds.

    Support to Young Researchers call: How do we calculate the time window of 2 to 8 years of postdoctoral experience to be able to apply to the call for young researchers?

    The time window is based on the submission deadline and is calculated on the PhD defence date.

    Support to Young Researchers call: Can the eligibility period be extended?

    Yes, for the reasons listed in the Support to Young Researchers call document.

    Support to Young Researchers call: How many references are necessary? Should they be sent separately by the referees?

    Two Reference letters are necessary.  They must be submitted separately. 

    Can the FIR cover publication costs?

    No, the fund does not cover expenses for publications.