Funding opportunities for experienced researchers

Experienced researchers are established scholars and scientists who independently conduct their own research and train staff. The following overview includes the most important national and international funding opportunities open to experienced researchers in all fields of research.

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  • Investigator-driven research

    SNSF Project funding The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) supports research projects in all disciplines that are carried out by researchers employed in Switzerland.
    Max. project duration 4 years; does not include the applicant’s own salary.
    Janice Casarella
    SNSF Lead Agency

    The Lead Agency process forms part of the SNSF's project funding scheme and the process is aimed at researchers in Switzerland who wish to conduct a cross-border research project. It simplifies the submission and evaluation of transnational applications.

    Lead Agency process countries are: Austria, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, Poland, Slovenia and Czech Republic.

    Janice Casarella
    SNSF Sinergia Sinergia promotes the interdisciplinary collaboration of 2-4 research groups that propose breakthrough research.
    Max. project duration 4 years; does not include the applicant’s own salary; 1 applicant may be based abroad if there are 3 or more applicants.
    Benedetto Lepori
    SNSF Eccellenza

    Grants for highly qualified young researchers who aspire to a permanent professorship.
    1. Eccellenza professorial fellowships: aimed at outstanding researchers (3-8 years from PhD) who have not yet obtained an assistant professorship.
    Max. project duration 5 years; applicant’s salary included.

    2. Eccellenza grants: aimed at researchers who have recently been appointed as assistant professors (0-18 months before submission deadline).
    Max. project duration 5 years; applicant’s own salary not included.
    See How to apply at USI (Internal deadline October 15th).

    Benedetto Lepori
    SNSF Prima Grants for excellent female researchers who aspire to a professorship (2-10 years form PhD).
    Max. project duration 5 years; applicant’s own salary included.
    See How to apply at USI (Internal deadline September 1st).
    Benedetto Lepori
    ERC Starting grant

    Highly competitive European funding scheme aimed at young researchers (2-7 years after PhD) who are ready to work independently.
    Max. project duration 5 years; applicant’s salary may be included.

    See How to apply at USI (internal deadline: 12 November 2021 - ERC StG tentative deadline: 13 January 2022).

    Martina Pestoni
    ERC Advanced grant Extremely competitive European funding scheme aimed at researchers who have a track-record of significant research achievements in the last 10 years.
    Max. project duration 5 years; applicants’ salary may be included.
    Martina Pestoni
    ERC Consolidator grant

    Extremely competitive European funding scheme aimed at researchers with 7-12 years of experience after PhD.
    Max. project duration 5 years; applicants’ salary may be included.

    See How to apply at USI (internal deadline: 17 January 2022 - ERC CoG tentative deadline: 17 March 2022)

    Martina Pestoni
    SNSF Bilateral programmes Bilateral programmes of the Swiss Confederation aimed at promoting and strengthening scientific cooperation between Switzerland and non-European countries. Researchers are funded by the partner organisation in the respective country. Janice Casarella
    SNSF Spirit Spirit promotes international research projects between Swiss researchers and researchers in selected countries that are receiving development assistance (2-4 applicants).
    Max. project duration 4 years; does not include the applicant’s own salary.
    Janice Casarella
    SNSF Spark Spark funds the rapid testing or development of new scientific approaches, methods, theories, standards, ideas for applications, etc. It is intended for projects that show unconventional thingking and introduce a unique approach.
    Max. project duration 12 months; applicant’s salary may be included.
    Janice Casarella
    Leading Houses

    Leading Houses (LH) contribute to the sustainable development of VET/PET research in Switzerland.

    Coordinated by one or more Swiss university chairs, each LH serves as a competence network and conducts research under the terms of a service level agreement with SERI.

    The 6 LH are managed as following: LH North Africa and Middle East: Haute École Spécialisée de Suisse occidentale (HES-SO);LH Sub-Saharan Africa: Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH), in collaboration with the University of Basel; LH Latin America: University of San Gallen (HSG);LH East and South-East Asia: ETH Zurich;LH Russia e Commonwealth of Indipendent States: University of Ginevra;LH Indian subcontinent and Iran: Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften (ZHAW)


    Janice Casarella
    Istituto Svizzero di Roma The Istituto Svizzero provides a research platform for exchange that connects the Swiss scientific community with Italy as well as internationally. It offers fellowships, summer schools and recidencies. Janice Casarella


  • Thematic research

    Horizon 2020 Swiss researchers can participate in European research projects funded via Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.

    Martina Pestoni

    SNSF NRP NRPs embrace research projects that contribute to solving the key problems of today. Calls are issued in the framework of thematically defined programs selected by the Federal Council. Benedetto Lepori
    COST Actions COST is an EU-funded programme that enables researchers to set up their interdisciplinary research networks in Europe and beyond. It operates by means of scientific networks known as COST Actions. Janice Casarella
    Interreg Interreg provides funding for interregional cooperation with a clear focus on regional development policies in the areas of innovation, knowledge economy, environment and risk prevention. Janice Casarella
    Joint Programming initiatives Joint programming initiatives are a pan-European instrument to tackle major societal challenges in Europe. Benedetto Lepori
    SNIS The Swiss Network for International Studies (SNIS) offers project grants for pluri-disciplinary research teams. Janice Casarella


  • Market-oriented R&D

    Innosuisse projects The Swiss Innovation Agency, Innosuisse, supports innovation projects carried out by research institution in collaboration with companies. Janice Casarella
    Bridge Discovery Bridge (a joint program of SNSF and Innosuisse) supports projects at the intersection of basic research and science-based innovation. Aimed at researchers who aim to explore and implement the innovation potential of research results. Janice Casarella
    ERC Proof of Concept Grants aimed at existing ERC grant holders willing to explore the commercial or societal potential of their work.
    Max. project duration 18 months.
    Martina Pestoni
    Horizon 2020 SME Instrument SME Instrument is aimed at Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and supports breakthrough innovation projects with a market-creating potential. Martina Pestoni
    AAL The Active and Assisted Living programme (AAL) is a funding activity that aims to create better conditions of life for the older adults and to strengthen the international industrial opportunities in the area of ICT. It funds cross-national projects that involve SMEs, research institutes and end-user organisations. Martina Pestoni
    EUREKA EUREKA is an intergovernmental network aiming at enhancing European competitiveness by fostering innovation-driven entrepreneurship in Europe, between industry, research institutes and universities. Janice Casarella


  • Other funds

    SNSF Scientific exchanges The SNSF funds research stays of max. 6 months in Switzerland or abroad and covers some costs for organising a scientific event (travel, room and board costs of participants). Janice Casarella
    SNSF Publication grants Publication grants are aimed at researchers in Switzerland who wish to publish research results for an academic public. Janice Casarella
    SNSF Agorà Agora aims to foster dialogue between scientists and society. It encourages researchers to communicate their current research to a non-specialist audience. Janice Casarella