SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowships (SPF)
Grants for early career researchers.
24 March 2023, Transitional measures 2023: The Federal Council is expected to decide on the required transfers of credit for the transitional measures 2023 in the first half of May 2023. SERI will provide information on the measures immediately after the decision. For this reason, we cannot answer any questions about a possible call for Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowships 2023 or the corresponding participation requirements.
Due to Switzerland's current status as a non-associated third country in the Horizon Europe programme, the Swiss government has mandated the SNSF to launch the SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowships 2022. This funding scheme is for people of any nationality who wanted to apply for a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship (MSCA PF) with Switzerland as their destination country.
The scheme is open to all research disciplines and topics.
This funding scheme will offer applicants with a PhD and no more than eight years of postdoctoral experience a position at a non-commercial research institution in Switzerland for 12-24 months.
The grant includes the postdoctoral fellow’s salary with social security contributions, financial contributions to research, and conference costs.
Photo: © Universität Basel, Christian Flierl
Important: Applicants whose applications were rejected in the SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowships 2021 call may submit a revised application, involving the same host institu-tion, if they have achieved an evaluation score of at least 6.3 out of 9. The same regulation applies under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie postdoctoral fellowships, where at least 70% of the maximum score is required.
The following criteria apply to the SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowships:
Draw up your SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowships application in accordance with the guidelines and submit it using the online platform mySNF. We recommend opening your application as early as possible to familiarise yourself with the requirements. We open the application website three months before the submission deadline. Please also note the conditions and requirements in the call document.
mySNF user account
If you are submitting an application to the SNSF for the first time: register on mySNF and request your user account. We will then send you your login information by e-mail. Please note: you must request your user account at least five working days before the submission deadline. If not, we cannot guarantee timely access to mySNF. The user account will be available to you for all applications and for lifetime management of approved projects.
Please also consult the Funding Regulations and the Organisational Regulations of the National Research Council:
Specific instructions for the SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowships evaluation procedure can be found in the guidelines and the call document:
- Guidelines for submission of a SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowships application (PDF)
- SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowships Call Document (PDF)
Receipt and verification at the SNSF:
Verification of formal requirements and eligibility
The National Research Council of the SNSF and the evaluation bodies it appoints are responsible for the scientific evaluation and for taking the relevant funding decisions.
Funding for SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowships
Federal funding for the SNSF Postdoctoral Fellowships 2021 was distributed as follows:
- Amount allocated to approved projects: CHF 18 million
- Amount paid directly to the research institutions where the supported researchers work, to cover indirect research costs (overhead): CHF 2.7 million (15% of the amount allocated to the approved projects)
- SNSF services: CHF 1.3 million
- Total: CHF 22 million
The financial resources provided by the government in the framework of the SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowships 2022 will be communicated on our website at the same time as the approved projects.
Administration of grants
Detailed information on grants administration can be found under the following link:
Formal requirements, ethical issues and research integrity:
Call Document, guidelines and template for research plan:
What is the grant award of a SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowship?
With the Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowships, the SNSF covers the recipients’ salary and social security costs. The average gross salary will be around CHF 105,000 per annum for a work-time quota of 100% (1 FTE). The SNSF and the HR office of the higher education institution where the grant holder is employed will define the precise salary for postdocs in accordance with the salary scales applied by the institution to researchers with comparable qualifications.
For guidelines on the rates for employees and for social contributions, refer to:
Annex 12: Salary ranges, guidelines for employees in SNSF-funded projects
and blankets amounts for social security contributions (PDF)
In addition to the recipients’ salary, project funds, including research costs directly linked to the implementation of the project, training and networking contributions, are also covered. Project funds must not exceed CHF 24,000 for a two-year grant. If the duration of the SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowship is less than 2 years, the maximum amount will be proportionately smaller.
Can an SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowship be conducted at different host institutions?
In principle, the SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowship is awarded for a continuous stay in Switzerland. It is permissible, however, to conduct the stay at different host institutions in Switzerland or abroad. Also, it is permissible to spend parts of the SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowship at institutions operating in the practical field (industry, administration, etc.; Intersectoral mobility). The total duration of such stays may not, however, exceed one third of the SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowship. During the period spent at another host institution, the grantee will remain employed at the (main) host institution in Switzerland.
Do I need as a researcher in the medical field to have a PhD to be eligible for an SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowship or is an MD also accepted?
At the time of the submission deadline, researchers must hold a doctoral degree (PhD) to be eligible as postdoctoral researchers. A medical doctor degree will be accepted only if it corresponds to a research doctorate or a comparable academic degree (PhD, MD-PhD), or if the researcher can show that, they have been appointed to a position that requires doctoral equivalency (e.g. postdoc position, professorship appointment thanks to a Staatsexamen or equivalent exam). Medical doctor degrees corresponding to basic medical training (e.g. MD, see also Annex V of Directive 2005/36/EC) will not be considered a doctoral degree.
Researchers who have defended their doctoral thesis but not yet formally been awarded the doctoral degree will also be considered postdoctoral researchers and eligible. An official document confirming that they have successfully passed the doctoral exam is required.
Note that doctoral studies for attaining an MD-PhD degree cannot be funded under the SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowships call.
As the recipient of an SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowship, can I work part-time?
Researchers must commit themselves as grantees to a work quota of 100% (1.0 FTE). A part-time work quota corresponding to at least 80% (0.8 FTE) is possible if the grantee has clinical or care duties, or pursues courses at a higher education institution to further his/her career.
For researchers doing clinical work: The salary share dedicated to research (at least 80%) is covered by the SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowship. The salary share for the work-time percentage dedicated to clinical work (up to 20%) must be covered by the research institution.
As the recipient of an SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowship, can I delay the start of the grant and, if yes, for how long?
Yes, a delay is possible until one year after the date of the SNSF decision letter.
I am a recipient of an MSCA grant. Can I apply for an SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowship?
Recipients of an MSCA grant can apply for an SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowship if the eligibility criteria are met. By the submission date and during the evaluation of an application, researchers must immediately inform the SNSF about any other applications currently being evaluated by the SNSF or third parties as well as about ongoing grants from the SNSF or third parties. (Funding Regulations (PDF), Article 18). The SNSF does not award any grants for research projects that are already being funded by the SNSF or third parties (Funding Regulations (PDF), Article 8, Paragraph 3, letter e). In other words, double funding for the same research project is explicitly excluded. Should the applicant receive another grant from the SNSF for the same project, they must decide which one to accept and which one to decline.
Under SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowships, may a supervisor have multiple grantees?
Yes, a supervisor can host multiple recipients of a Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowship, as long as support for each of them is ensured. However, the SNSF does not award any grants for research projects that are already being funded by the SNSF or third parties (Funding Regulations (PDF), Article 8, Paragraph 3). In other words, double funding for the same research project is explicitly excluded.
Under SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowships, the researcher has been living in Switzerland for more than one year. Is the researcher eligible to apply for an SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowship?
No, the researcher would not be eligible for an SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowship. In order to ensure the equal treatment of all applicants, the mobility rule is applied strictly. However, short stays for medical reasons (including entry quarantine due to Covid regulations) will not be taken into account for the assessment of the mobility rule. If the researcher had to relocate to Switzerland in order to obtain medical care during a significant period of time, this long stay will, however, be taken into account.
Under SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowships, how will the mobility rule be applied to periods of remote working/teleworking, when assessing eligibility?
In order to be eligible, the researcher cannot be in either of the two following situations:
- have resided in Switzerland for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately prior to the call deadline;
- have carried out his/her main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Switzerland for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately prior to the call deadline. In case of remote work performed from another country for an employer located in Switzerland, the place of main activity is considered as Switzerland.
Example: A researcher started a contract with a Swiss university in January 2021. However, the researcher worked for the Swiss university remotely from another country. As per the mobility rule in Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowships, the researcher will not be eligible.
The researcher exceeds the eligibility window of 8 years after the obtainment of the PhD degree with respect to the submission deadline. Can the researcher still apply for an SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowship?
In case researchers exceed the eligibility window with respect to the submission deadline, an extension may be requested. Researchers must explain their reasons for applying for an extension to the SNSF. In particular, the following reasons for delays are acceptable (see Clause 1.11 para. 2 of the General implementation regulations for the Funding Regulations (PDF)):
a. paternity, adoption or parental leave;
b. inability to work due to illness or accident;
c. care duties;
d. services that benefit the general public, particularly military or civilian service;
e. continuing education in connection with the applicant’s research activities, particularly internships or clinical work;
f. preparatory activities connected to the dissertation, e.g. participation in classes at a doctoral school.
The weeks during which the research activity was interrupted, reduced or not increased for an acceptable reason will be considered for the extension. The difference in percentage between the actual work-time percentage and 100% is recognized. If the research work is interrupted, the relevant weeks will be recognized for the extension in full (100%).
In the event of maternity, the relevant period is extended by 18 months per child. 6 If the applicant can prove that the delay exceeds 18 months, the additional time will be added to the said period.
Important notice: The SNSF will perform the eligibility assessment only after the submission deadline based on the whole dossier. In other words, a pre-eligibility check before the call deadline cannot be made.
Under SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowships, can researchers of any nationality apply?
Researchers for an SNSF Swiss Postdoctoral Fellowship can be of any nationality (including Swiss nationality), who have not resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Switzerland for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately prior to the submission deadline.