SNSF Advanced Grants
Grants for leading researchers
Pre-registration deadline : 01.10.2022
Due to Switerland's status as a non-associated third country in the Horizon Europe programme, the federal government mandated the SNSF to launch the SNSF Advanced Grants 2022 funding scheme. It is aimed at researchers who intended to apply for an ERC Advanced Grant.
The scheme is open to all research disciplines and topics.
Scientists of any nationality who want to pursue innovative, high-risk research in Switzerland can apply for an SNSF Advanced Grant.
SNSF Advanced Grants are awarded up to a maximum of CHF 2.175 million for a period of up to 5 years.
Important note: Applicants whose projects were rejected in the first step of evaluation for the SNSF Advanced Grants 2021 call are not eligible to take part in the SNSF Advanced Grants 2022 call. The same rules apply in the ERC Advanced Grants calls.
You must have a track record of outstanding research over the past ten years and be recognised as a leader in your field. These benchmarks should be matched by at least one of the following indicators:
- Several significant peer-reviewed publications in a responsible role that had a major impact in the research field(s).
- Major research monographs (for research fields where monographs are the norm).
- A substantial record of invited presentation at well-established international conferences, organisation of international conferences, granted patents, outreach activities, general contributions to science, other artefacts with documented use.
Any documented career break during the last ten years should be clearly explained in the CV.
Please consider the following important points when preparing and submitting a proposal:
- Extended synopsis and research plan
- CV and track record
- Host institution commitment letter
- Extended synopsis (Art. 5.1 Call Document)
- Research plan (Art. 5.2 Call Document)
- Resources (Art. 5.3. Call Document)
- CV (Art. 5.4 Call Document)
- Track record (Art. 5.5 Call Document)
- Commitment of the host institution (Art. 5.6 Call Document)
- Open access (Art. 2.4 Call Document)
For more information about the documents for upload, refer to section 5 of the Call document.
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 Advanced Grants call. It also ensures application of the SNSF’s best practices and compliance regarding conflicts of interest. The evaluation of the submitted proposals is based on the principle of competition. Discipline-specific panels will evaluate the proposals in a two-step procedure.
The applications are assessed and rated based on expert reviews and interviews, and ranked comparatively to the other applications.
- Evaluation panels and external reviewers (Art. 7.1 Call document)
- Evaluation procedure (Art. 7.2 Call document)
- Evaluation criteria (Art. 7.3 Call document)
- Evaluation form – SNSF Advanced Grants (PDF)
- Outcome and communication of decisions (Art. 7.4 Call document)
- Scientific steering committee
Funding for SNSF Advanced Grants
Federal funding for the SNSF Advanced Grants 2021 was distributed as follows:
- Amount allocated to approved projects: CHF 50 million
- Amount paid directly to the research institutions where the supported researchers work, to cover indirect research costs (overhead): CHF 7.5 million (15% of the amount allocated to the approved projects)
- SNSF services: CHF 2.5 million
- Total: CHF 60 million
Guidelines and regulations
Ethics and integrity:
Research activities and methods that have ethical implications or may raise questions requiring sound ethical assessment must be declared in mySNF. Hence, please take note of the Swiss laws and ethical standards. Furthermore, the rules of scientific integrity must be respected.
Can I apply for SNSF AdG 2022 if I previously applied for SNSF AdG 2021?
Applicants whose project was rejected in Step 2 of evaluation for the SNSF AdG 2021 call may apply under SNSF AdG 2022. However, if the application was rejected in Step 1, submission under the SNSF AdG 2022 call is not possible.
Can researchers with less than ten years of research experience apply for SNSF AdG 2022?
Researchers can apply for SNSF AdG 2022 even if they do not yet have ten years of research experience, regardless of the date of their PhD or PhD equivalent. All applicants should be active, established researchers and team leaders with an outstanding track record, which must be detailed in the application. For more information on the expected profile of applicants under SNSF AdG 2022, please refer to the call document.
Are only PhD holders eligible to apply for SNSF AdG 2022?
Yes, in principle an applicant should hold a PhD. Applicants without a PhD must generally have completed 3 years of research work (as their main job) since obtaining their higher education degree. Such research work will be regarded as equivalent to a PhD.
Can researchers from abroad also apply for SNSF AdG 2022?
Researchers from abroad can apply for SNSF AdG 2022. However, they must provide confirmation from their host institution stating that they will have a job of at least 50% (0.5 FTE) for the entire duration of the project, if the project is funded.
Can researchers submit an application if they plan to retire during the project period?
According to section 1.4 of the Funding Regulations (PDF), eligibility to submit applications ends with the conferral of emeritus status or with retirement. Retired persons or persons with emeritus status continue to be eligible to submit applications if employment of at least 50% (0.5 FTE) at the Swiss research institution is guaranteed. The employment must cover the entire duration of the project, irrespective of the project start date.
Can several researchers submit a joint application?
SNSF AdGs 2022 are limited to one applicant.
How does pre-registration work and can applicants still make changes afterwards?
Information from pre-registration is used to search for suitable members of the international evaluation panel. The following information is required: applicant details, host laboratory/institution, basic data I (incl. project title and disciplines), basic data II (summary and keywords). Changes can be made to the information up to the time of final submission. Applicants must send an email to email@example.com confirming completion of their pre-registration.
Do applicants need to submit additional documents (such as degree or birth certificate)?
It is sufficient to store the corresponding information in the appropriate data containers on mySNF.
When must the host institution commitment letter be submitted and who should sign it?
The host institution commitment letter must be submitted at the time of the final submission of the application, and not at the time of pre-registration. The document must be signed by a person who can legally represent the institution and thus authoritatively confirm the information in the host institution commitment letter (PDF).
What is the page limit of the research plan?
Under the SNSF AdG 2022 call, the research plan should not exceed 14 pages (not including the bibliography).
How does the two-step evaluation process work and will external reviewers have access to all my proposal documents during the process?
Under the SNSF AdG 2022 call, proposals are evaluated in two steps:
In Step 1, at least three panel members acting as referees independently evaluate the research project’s general scientific merit (based on the extended synopsis, max. 5 pages) and the applicant’s CV and track record. All panel members then discuss the proposal, and a ranking list is compiled based on the individual ratings of panel members. Based on the panel’s ranking list and the available budget, the SNSF AdG 2022 Steering Committee determines the number of proposals that advance to the next selection step (Step 2). Proposals that do not advance to Step 2 are rejected.
Proposals advancing to Step 2 will be assessed in detail by at least three panel members and external reviewers (based on the research plan and the applicant’s CV and track record). Based on the written assessments of the external reviewers and panel members, an interview with the applicant and the discussions at the panel meeting, the evaluation panel generates a ranking list of the Step 2 proposals. The panel submits the final ranking to the SNSF AdG 2022 Steering Committee, which formulates a funding proposal based on the ranking list and the available budget for approval by the SNSF Presiding Board.
Who can be considered as an external reviewer?
The SNSF makes every effort to ensure the high quality and international recognition of reviewers.
The SNSF currently pursues a policy of prioritising reviewers who are based outside Switzerland in order to reduce the risk of conflicts of interest in undertaking objective evaluations.
Should the applicant include a budget table and justification of resources in a separate document?
Under the SNSF AdG 2022 call, the requested budget needs to be entered in the data container “Requested budget” in mySNF (no specific budget table is required).
The justification of resources must be provided in a separate document (see Section 3.1 of the SNSF AdG call document (PDF)) and uploaded to the mySNF data container “Research plan and resources”. All eligible costs must be in line with the aims of the project for its entire duration and fully justified. Project costs should be estimated as accurately as possible. The evaluation panels assess the estimated costs carefully and are entitled to reduce unjustified budgets items. The applicant should not include any description of resources or budget details in the scientific part of the application.
How is overhead calculated?
SNSF AdGs are awarded up to a maximum of CHF 2,175,000. Overhead is calculated separately and paid directly to the host institution in keeping with SNSF practices (see Section 3. of the SNSF AdG call document (PDF)).
How are additional costs handled?
Applicants may request funding of up to CHF 870,000 over and above the maximum budget of CHF 2,175,000 as additional costs:
- for costs in connection with the move to Switzerland
- for the acquisition or use of scientific infrastructure/major equipment (these costs must be project-specific and not usable for other research groups); standard infrastructure and equipment are partially financed with overhead
- other major experimental and fieldwork costs, excluding personnel costs.
Additional costs may be requested regardless of whether the maximum budget has been reached.
Can applicants finance their own salary through the SNSF AdG?
Yes, this is possible.
Are there regulations on how much time applicants must spend working on the project?
Applicants are expected to dedicate a minimum of 30% of their working time to the project.
If I am awarded an SNSF AdG, will I still be able to apply for other SNSF grants?
Yes, holders of an SNSF AdG 2022 can submit proposals under other SNSF funding schemes (such as project funding or R’Equip), as long as the proposals address different topics and have different aims and methodologies.
How many parallel SNSF projects may applicants have?
SNSF AdG 2022 does not restrict the number of parallel projects since SNSF project funding is not linked to current ERC calls.
Will evaluation of applications under SNSF AdG 2022 take place independently of ERC frontier research grants?
Evaluation of SNSF AdGs takes place independently of ERC frontier research grants.
Can applicants hold an SNSF AdG in parallel with an ERC frontier research grant?
Applicants can apply for SNSF AdG 2022 and for an ERC frontier research grant in parallel. Should both proposals be funded, the applicant would have to choose one project. Applicants have 12 months from the date of the decision letter to choose which project to pursue. In general, funding is not available for projects that have already been funded by the SNSF or third parties. Researchers who apply for SNSF AdG 2022 must inform the SNSF about any existing ERC frontier research grants and parallel applications for funding, as well as any thematic overlaps.
Researchers with an ongoing ERC frontier research grant may not submit a proposal to SNSF AdG 2022 unless the current project concludes before the end of July 2024. An SNSF AdG 2022 project can only start once the ERC frontier research grant has been completed.
What is the success rate and the total budget allocated by the SNSF?
The funds allocated and the expected success rate are not communicated. However, the selection process will be very competitive, similar to the ERC frontier research grants.
When is the earliest and latest a project can be started?
The earliest possible start date is 1 August 2023. The project start date can be postponed for up to 12 months after receipt of the decision.