Research as well as its context and funding are constantly evolving. The SNSF aims to anticipate and help shape these changes. To achieve this, we have defined four strategic priorities for the 2021-2028 period.
- We promote Diversity in Research
- We shape the Future of Research
- We convey the Value of Research
- We strengthen the Competence of the SNSF
Our multi-year programme 2021-2024 and our Action Plan are based on these strategic priorities. Binding objectives for this period are also set out in a service level agreement with the federal government.
In its multi-year programme for the attention of the federal authorities, the SNSF defines how it aims to promote Swiss research in the next funding period. It is considered in the ERI Dispatch issued by the Federal Council every four years and forms the basis on which the Swiss parliament awards funds to the SNSF.
The multi-year programme contains the following information:
- the challenges faced by research in the upcoming funding period
- the SNSF priorities and targets derived from the challenges
- the funding measures designed to achieve the targets
- the financial resources needed to implement the measures
Our multi-year programme 2021-2024 focuses on four priorities:
- foster excellence through diversity
- strengthen international leadership through collaboration
- support data infrastructures and services for an open science system
- enhance the value of research for society
What measures has the SNSF devised to achieve these goals? Read the multi-year programme:
For an overview of the four priorities, read our news article:
How will the SNSF implement its multi-year programme 2021-2024? In the Action Plan, the SNSF outlines its priorities, describes new measures and sets out the share of the budget allocated to each funding scheme.
The priorities are:
- Enhancing excellence through diversity.
- Strengthening competitiveness through cooperation.
- Supporting data infrastructures and services for open science.
- Making research more beneficial to the economy, policy-making and society as a whole.
Service level agreement
In the service level agreement the SNSF provides an account of how it uses the money received from the federal government. It is based on the Multi-Year Programme of the SNSF and the ERI Dispatch of the federal government.
The service level agreement contains the goals and performance indicators agreed between the SNSF and SERI for the relevant four-year period. Both parties to the agreement regularly check whether the relevant goals are met.
For important cross-cutting areas, the SNSF has issued binding mission statements and guidelines ("policies"):
External evaluations of the SNSF
The SNSF promotes scientific research of high quality in Switzerland. By the same token, it expects its own performance to meet high standards. External evaluations facilitate quality assurance and help to assess the SNSF's goal achievement.
Careers cohort study
How do the careers of postdocs who submitted an application for SNSF funding progress? In October 2018, the University of Bern started a cohort study on behalf of the SNSF. The study, which looks at a ten-year period, is expected to provide insights into factors and processes that influence career progression. One of the study's initial findings is that early-career postdocs find more time to do research work than more advanced researchers.
Evaluation of Doc.CH
Each year since 2013, the SNSF has awarded a grant to around 50 doctoral students in the humanities and social sciences. Doc.CH is an efficient funding scheme for which there is a clear need. This was the conclusion drawn by a study of the University of Bern in April 2019. On average, doctoral students with a Doc.CH grant need less time to complete their thesis. But the study also pinpoints some aspects where there is room for improvement.
Evaluation of the impacts of NRPs 59, 60 and 61
The mission of the National Research Programmes (NRPs) is to contribute to solving pressing problems of our time. An analysis of three NRPs in February 2018 highlighted the impact of the NRP funding scheme as a whole. According to the study, the NRPs produce an impressive degree of high-quality science. The study also shows that no general overhaul of the NRP scheme is necessary for the time being. As regards the "broader impact" of NRPs, a number of measures are recommended to enhance this key aspect.
Analysis of use-inspired basic research
In 2016/2017, the SNSF commissioned the consulting firm Technopolis to conduct a study of the funding category "use-inspired basic research". The study emphasises the complexity of use-inspired proposals due to their dual nature as both basic and applied science. It makes a number of proposals to facilitate better evaluation of use-inspired research.
Impact analysis of the National Centres of Competence in Research NCCRs (first series, 2001-2013).
Following the completion of the first NCCR series, the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) commissioned an impact analysis of the 14 NCCRs concerned. It was carried out by the Swiss Science and Innovation Council (SSIC) in 2015. The SSIC rates the overall structural impact of the centres of competence very highly. In its opinion, NCCRs are special in that they pursue both structural and ambitious scientific goals at the same time. The report recommends a number of low-key measures but does not see a need for any fundamental changes.
SNSF evaluations archive
International Advisory Board
The new international advisory board has started work. It consists of five re-nowned experts who are expected to think outside the box.