Postdoc.Mobility

Increase your research experience by making a stay abroad!

​Postdoc.Mobility fellowships are aimed at researchers who have done a doctorate and who wish to pursue a scientific or an academic career in Switzerland. A research stay abroad enables such researchers to acquire more in-depth knowledge, increases their scientific independence and enhances their research profile.

The fellowships include a grant for subsistence costs, a flat-rate for travel expenses and a possible contribution to research and conference costs. In addition, fellowship holders can apply for a return grant to finance their initial period of research after returning to Switzerland. The return grant includes a salary and social security contributions.

The funding period is in principle 24 months (fellowship) and 3 to 12 months (return phase).

  • Participation requirements

    Dropdown Icon

    The main participation requirements are listed below.

    The precise periods are calculated on the basis of the relevant submission deadline.

    • A completed doctorate (PhD, MD-PhD) or completed medical studies in human, dental, veterinary, social or preventive medicine with a doctorate (MD), or completion of the doctorate within the next 9 months.
    • Submission up to 3 years after the doctoral exam (PhD, MD-PhD); the date of the examination, respectively the defence of the doctoral thesis is the relevant date.
    • Medical researchers without MD-PhD: submission up to 8 years after the state examination and at least 3 years of clinical activity after the state examination.
    • Swiss nationality, holder of valid Swiss permanent residence, residence or cross-border commuter permit, married to a Swiss national or co-habiting with a Swiss national in a registered partnership.
    • At least 2 years of research activity at a Swiss research institution (for foreign nationals).
  • How To

    Dropdown Icon

    Submission of proposals

    Applications must be submitted via the mySNF platform. The mySNF platform will be opened for submission three months before the respective application deadline.

  • Documents

    Dropdown Icon
  • Members of the evaluation bodies

    Dropdown Icon
  • Supplementary measures

    Dropdown Icon
  • Details

    Dropdown Icon

    ​Eugen and Elisabeth Schellenberg Foundation

    Covers half of an Postdoc.Mobility fellowship of 2 years in the area of cancer research. The SNSF submits a suitable application to the foundation for the partial funding of a grant which is allocated to one of the advanced research candidates.

    Johanna Dürmüller-Bol Foundation

    Contribution i.a. to the Postdoc.Mobility fellowships. The grant is generally linked to the canton of Berne.

  • FAQ

    Dropdown Icon

    a) COVID-19. I hold a fellowship for a stay abroad or have applied for one, or plan to apply for one in the future. However, the location abroad lies in a region where there is a risk of infection by the coronavirus. What should I do?

    ​​​(Situation on 11.05.2021; first version: 11 March 2020)

    Researchers planning or conducting a stay abroad must follow the advice issued by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), as well as by the responsible authorities in the countries in question.

    Fellowship holders who are already in an affected region must respect the directives issued by the local authorities. In the event that they need to return to Switzerland, they must inform the responsible cantonal authorities in Switzerland and follow their instructions, including with regard to quarantine measures.

    Besides respecting the recommendations issued by the responsible authorities, the fellowship holder should monitor the situation in the areas in question and take appropriate measures should the risk level go up or their personal safety be threatened. The SNSF must be informed without delay.

    Options to be weighed by researchers

    We all know that conditions in Switzerland and abroad could change rapidly. Therefore, fellowship holders and candidates - whose personal situations may vary - have to take into consideration the following possibilities in order to find the most appropriate solution for the continuation of their research in the best conditions:

    • They can ask the SNSF to postpone the start date of the stay if this is manageable for them and does not breach any of the travel guidelines issued by the authorities in Switzerland and abroad. Furthermore, regarding the start of the grant which has to take place within 12 months after the decision letter, they can extend the deadline for another 6 months; this will give them 18 months since the project was approved to request payment of the grant and to start their project; in such a case, they have to inform the SNSF about the extension by email or at a later stage via the "Request for release of funds" form in mySNF; the message will be sufficient, they don’t need to submit an application;
    • They can find another research location, while respecting the travel guidelines issued by the authorities in Switzerland and in the country in question, and ask the SNSF to change their file accordingly (please include a letter of invitation from the new host institution in your request);
    • They may ask the SNSF for permission to remain in Switzerland for a certain period of time (for example, 2-4 months) in order to find a solution, i.e. primarily to find a host institution in Switzerland. Regarding the duration, the SNSF will take account of each individual case to ensure that researchers are able to find a solution during this exceptional period. We will also ensure that the duration in Switzerland and the stay abroad are proportionate, with in principle a maximum of 1/2 to be conducted in Switzerland. For any such period conducted in Switzerland, researchers could consider continuing their research work using teleworking technology, provided their host institution (abroad) approves. The home office (teleworking) or the stay in Switzerland’s duration must in principle not exceed half of the fellowship's duration. In the event that this ratio of 1/2 may be exceeded, please check as quickly as possible all the other options mentioned in this FAQ, in particular to what extend another place of research can be found. In any case, you must inform the SNSF in due time if the period of home office or in Switzerland is likely to exceed the ratio of 1/2. Fellowship holders who can’t start their fellowship, for example by teleworking or linking with an institute in Switzerland, should contact the SNSF to discuss their situation if they have no other source of income to cover their living costs and do not qualify for any social insurance benefits.
    • Researchers already based abroad who must interrupt their research are requested to contact the SNSF directly in order to establish to what extent a) a temporary suspension of their fellowship or b) teleworking (given the approval of the host institution) might be an option for them, or c) an extension is necessary (see below).

    Extension of mobility fellowships

    Due the the COVID-19 pandemic, many researchers have needed to interrupt their work or are faced with unexpected obstacles. The SNSF expects that projects are organised or adapted to ensure completion by the date that was originally set. As a special measure, for the fellowships ending until 31 July 2021, fellowship holders can request a prolongation of up to two months if necessary. They can apply for this extension on mySNF as a supplementary grant with the reference "COVID-19". The grant should be requested via mySNF using the form "supplementary grant". It needs to be submitted two to four months before the end of the project. Regarding the fellowships ending after 31 July 2021, it will no longer be possible to apply for a supplementary grant "COVID-19".  However, in exceptional and duly justified cases, a supplementary grant may be requested for fellowships ending between 31 July 2021 and 31 December 2021. In which case, fellowship holders are requested to contact the SNSF at the following address for the evaluation of their request, no later than two months before the end of their project.​ ​

    fellowships@snf.chExternal Link Icon

    For holders of a Postdoc.Mobility return grant, duly engaged in Switzerland, the general provisions of the SNSF apply. These holders have to refer to the FAQ valid for the other SNSF funding schemes.

    Scientific reports

    Fellowship holder can extend the deadline for scientific reports for up to two months. All they need to do is send a message to fellowships@snf.ch. Any changes to the research plan that are a result of the exceptional circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic have to be mentioned in the scientific report.

    Any questions? Problems?

    In case of questions or problems, fellowship holders and candidates can contact fellowships@snf.ch.

    fellowships@snf.chExternal Link Icon

    b) Can I submit an application for a Postdoc.Mobility fellowship and for another career grant in parallel (for example, for Ambizione)?

    Postdoc.Mobility grants can only be requested for periods where no other funding has been awarded by the SNSF or third parties and no other career grants have been applied for. However, it is possible to apply for funding or for a return grant starting after expiry of the Postdoc.Mobility fellowship. During the evaluation process for a return grant, it is also possible to submit a parallel application for an Ambizione, PRIMA, or Eccellenza.

    c) As holder of an Early Postdoc.Mobility fellowship, how do I need to proceed in mySNF if I want to continue my research stay abroad or start a new project?

    Please check that you fulfill all participation requirements on the date of the submission deadline for Postdoc.Mobility. If this is the case, you need to create a new Postdoc.Mobility application in mySNF. In the container "Link to other SNSF projects", please enter the number of your Early Postdoc.Mobility fellowship. Please indicate (under "type of relationship") if the Postdoc.Mobility project is a scientific follow-up of the Early Postdoc.Mobility project or if it is a new project. If there is a gap between the end of the Early Postdoc.Mobility fellowship and the possible start of the Postdoc.Mobility fellowship, you have to mention if you will be financed or not and where you are staying during this interruption.

    d) Can I submit a Postdoc.Mobility application if I am foreign and already abroad with an Early Postdoc.Mobility fellowship?

    Yes, foreign candidates who are already funded by an Early Postdoc.Mobility fellowship and who therefore do not hold a valid Swiss permanent residence or residence permit anymore may submit an application for a Postdoc.Mobility fellowship in order to extend their research stay abroad (min 12 months; the funding period of 36 months abroad comprising mobility fellowships for Early Postdoc.Mobility and Postdoc.Mobility may not be exceeded), as long as they fulfill the requirements according to the Postdoc.Mobility Regulations. The beginning of the Postdoc.Mobility fellowship must start directly after the end of the Early Postdoc.Mobility fellowship. Exceptions can be considered if the Postdoc.Mobility application is submitted while the Early Postdoc.Mobility fellowship is still ongoing and the beginning of the Postdoc.Mobility fellowship starts at the latest 6 months after the end of the Early Postdoc.Mobility fellowship. If there is an interruption between the end of the Early Postdoc.Mobility fellowship and the start of the requested Postdoc.Mobility fellowship, please clearly state in your application whether you are funded or not during this time and where you are staying during this interruption.

    e) I was awarded an EPM fellowship for 18 months. Which funding period can I request for a Postdoc.Mobility fellowship?

    According to current practice, the funding period of 36 months comprising EPM and PM fellowships may generally not be exceeded. As holder of an EPM fellowship lasting 18 months, you would therefore have the option to request a Postdoc.Mobility fellowship for at the most another 18 months.

    f) Is it possible during the stay abroad of a Postdoc.Mobility fellowship to return or stay in a research location that is the same as the place where one was educated?

    A further stay or return at the institution of education, where the bachelor's or master's degree (or equivalent) or the PhD was obtained, is formally not possible. However, a research stay at the same geographic location (e.g. city) but at a different institution (other than the institution of education) is formally possible. In this context, it should nevertheless be noted that the expected extent of mobility represents an important evaluation criterion. It is a primary aim of the mobility fellowships to promote the mobility and related aspects (promotion of the scientific independence, improvement of the scientific/academic profile).

    g) Can I use the Net academic age for calculating the eligibility window?

    No, these two are not to be used synonymously. The personal requirements are stipulated by Article 6 of the Postdoc.Mobility Regulations (PDF). The Net academic age indicates how much time you could devote to research since your relevant degree. This is taken into account in the evaluation.

    h) What may I enter in the Statement of mobility and the calculation of the Net academic age?

    Please refer to the guidelines and the corresponding forms. You are expected to present your past and planned mobility (Statement of Mobility) and how much time you could devote to research since your relevant degree (Net academic age). You can decide for yourself what you consider relevant here. The content of the documents will eventually form part of the evaluation.

    i) Is it possible during the return period in Switzerland of a Postdoc.Mobility fellowship to return in a research location that is the same as the place where one was educated?

    Concerning the return period, the regulations do not formally exclude the possibility to return to the place of education. However, such a choice could be critically evaluated with regard to the increasing independence expected from Postdoc.Mobility fellowship holders and with regard to the chances to pursue an academic career. The return period must be conducted at a Swiss higher education research center.

    j) What administrative concerns and possible additional costs must be borne in mind when choosing a host institution for an SNSF mobility fellowship?

    You should clarify as early as possible whether a stay at the host institution is subject to any conditions. For example, some host institutions ask fellowship holders to contribute a sum of money towards the institution's overhead. The SNSF does not cover any overhead costs incurred at host institutions abroad, however. The host institution may also ask for funds to cover the research costs. Fellowship holders who bring their own financial contribution for covering living costs should generally receive adequate support from their host institution; this support should encompass, among other things, infrastructure as well as any consumables. In this context, please take note of point 10.2 of the Information set “Postdoc.Mobility” (PDF) as well as chapter 2.4.3 of the guidelines (PDF). Please also clarify your status at the host institution. Some host institutes, especially in France, demand that fellowship holders be officially employed at the institution and that the SNSF directly transfers the fellowship to the host institution. In such cases, it is possible that a large portion of the fellowship is spent on social security contributions. The amount that ought to be available to the fellowship holders to cover their living costs is therefore reduced. Another solution, which may enable to keep the fellowship’s amount unchanged, would be that the beneficiary of the fellowship considers with the host institution the possibilities of signing a “hosting agreement for volunteer researchers” (“convention d’accueil pour chercheur/chercheuse bénévole”, similar status as for Researchers Emeritus). Some host institutes, especially in the USA, also require minimum rates for their researchers, which may depend on the academic age after the PhD. Please clarify this with the responsible offices at the host institute as early as possible. The fellowship rates defined by the SNSF are binding for the year of approval. If the host institution increases the financial requirements, the SNSF will not be able to adjust the fellowship accordingly. In such a case, the SNSF expects the host institution to cover any financial gap.

    k) When can I submit an application for a return grant?

    ​Applications for return grants must be submitted by the official deadlines while the Postdoc.Mobility
    or the Advanced Postdoc.Mobility fellowship respectively is still ongoing.

    k) Until when is it possible to postpone the beginning of the fellowship?

    The mobility fellowship must be started no later than twelve months after the date of the ruling. Upon request, it may be possible to postpone the beginning for a further twelve months in case of important reasons such as an illness, an accident or family duties. The grantee must submit with her/his justified request a new confirmation letter from the host institute and eventually an updated research plan. Other funds received, for example another fellowship, do not represent a valid reason to postpone the beginning for more than twelve months.

    k) Do I have to submit a Data Management Plan for the mobility fellowships?

    No Data Management Plan needs to be submitted for the mobility fellowships.

    m) I am abroad with a Doc.Mobility fellowship and I do not hold a valid Swiss residence permit anymore. May I still submit a proposal for a Postdoc.Mobility fellowship?

    Yes, if at the time of the submission deadline you are abroad with an ongoing Doc.Mobility fellowship and you fulfill all the other participation requirements, you may submit a proposal even if your residence permit is not valid anymore. Please take note that beneficiaries of Doc.Mobility fellowships must continue their doctoral studies and obtain their doctorate at their home institution once the mobility fellowship has ended.

    n) Until when is it possible to postpone the beginning of the fellowship?

    The mobility fellowship must be started no later than twelve months after the date of the ruling. Upon request, it may be possible to postpone the beginning for a further twelve months in case of important reasons such as an illness, an accident or family duties. The grantee must submit with her/his justified request a new confirmation letter from the host institute and eventually an updated research plan. Other funds received, for example another fellowship, do not represent a valid reason to postpone the beginning for more than twelve months.

    o) Where can I find information on insurance and tax issues?

    ​The information set "Postdoc.Mobility" (PDF) gives you detailed information on tax and insurance issues as well as on other administrative matters.

    p) My host institution has increased its minimum funding requirements. Does the SNSF cover the difference between the granted fellowship and the minimum requirement of the host institution?

    No, the fellowship rates defined by the SNSF are binding for the year of approval. If the host institution increases the financial requirements, the SNSF will not be able to adjust the fellowship accordingly. In such a case, the SNSF expects the host institution to cover any financial gap.

  • News

    Dropdown Icon
  • Statistics

    Dropdown Icon