The stepping stone to your professorship!
The last call for PRIMA projects was on 1 November 2021.
In March 2022, the SNSF announced that it would merge PRIMA and Eccellenza Professorial Fellowships under a new scheme, the SNSF Professorial Fellowships. However, as Switzerland is still not associated to the Horizon Europe framework programme, this plan was not implemented and the SNSF readjusted its funding portfolio.
For the time being, the SNSF Starting Grants are the most high-level career funding scheme. They target researchers who wanted to apply for a European ERC Starting Grant as well as those who were thinking of applying for a PRIMA grant or an Eccellenza Professorial Fellowship. The PRIMA budget will continue to be used exclusively for women also as part of the SNSF Starting Grants.
PRIMA grants are aimed at excellent women researchers who show a high potential for obtaining a professorship. PRIMA grantees conduct an independent research project with their own team at least at the group leader level within a Swiss research institution.
PRIMA grants cover the grantee's salary and project costs for a five-year period. With this competitive grant, PRIMA grantees can carve out a name for themselves and take the next step up the academic career ladder: a professorship. If a PRIMA grantee is appointed as a professor in Switzerland during the funding period, the remaining amount of the PRIMA grant will be transferred to the new place of work as research funds.
The main participation requirements are listed below. Please consult the PRIMA Regulations to determine your formal eligibility.
- have a doctorate (PhD) or at least three years of research activity after obtaining their higher education degree (equivalent qualification to a doctorate).
- have acquired at least two years of research experience after their doctorate or equivalent qualification to a doctorate.
- submit their application between two and ten years after their PhD defense or after the date of the equivalent qualification to a doctorate.
- have a medical exam (state examination or equivalent).
- have acquired at least three years of clinical work and at least 2 years of research activities after their medical exam.
- submit their application up to 14 years after their medical exam.
The time periods are calculated on the basis of the relevant submission deadline for PRIMA applications.
The applications must be submitted via the mySNF platform. The mySNF platform will be opened for submission three months before the respective application deadline.
PRIMA applications are evaluated in two phases.
Where can I find the information needed to create a proposal?
Regulations, guidelines and other important information can be found under "Documents".
Is it possible to extend the eligibility period in special circumstances?
The time window for submission of a PRIMA proposal can be extended if the applicant has suffered a delay due to one of the reasons stated in Clause 1.11 of the General implementation regulations for the Funding Regulations.
What is the difference between the academic age and the net academic age?
The academic age indicates how much time has passed since the doctorate. It is relevant for calculating the time window in accordance with the personal requirements (see Article 5 of the PRIMA Regulations). On the other hand, the net academic age indicates how much time you have been able to spend doing research since your doctorate; it is taken into account in the evaluation.
What can I enter in the forms to declare mobility and to calculate the net academic age?
Please refer to the guidelines and the instructions in the relevant forms. In the mobility statement, you should give reasons for your choice of research institution and set out your completed and planned mobility. In the form used to calculate the net academic age, you should indicate how much time you have been able to spend doing research since your doctorate.
My PRIMA grant is still ongoing. Can I apply for further career funding from the SNSF?
PRIMA grantees can apply for an SNSF Eccellenza Professorial Fellowship 18 months after starting their PRIMA grant at the earliest.
How many times can I apply?
Applicants whose request for a PRIMA grant was rejected may submit one further application.
Are any exceptions possible for PRIMA regarding the minimum of two years' research work required after the doctorate?
No exceptions can be granted. This requirement needs to be met by the submission deadline, with the date of the exam or thesis defence being the relevant date.
Can I submit a PRIMA proposal in parallel with an SNSF project?
You cannot submit a PRIMA proposal if you have an SNSF project under evaluation. If you have an approved or ongoing SNSF project, you cannot submit a PRIMA proposal for the same funding period.
Can I transfer my entire grant to a new research institution in Switzerland?
If you want to transfer your grant to another institution, including the funds covering your salary, contact the SNSF explaining the reasons for the move as well as its added value for your project or your career. A written request submitted by the grantee should include the following documents:
- Like the initial research institution, the new research institution must provide confirmation letters.
- The original research institution submits a written statement on the change.
The SNSF evaluates the request by taking into account the project’s feasibility or the relevance to pursue your career in the new institution.
What happens to my grant if I take on a new job outside of academic research?
You must inform the SNSF accordingly. The SNSF terminates the grant. The remaining amount of the grant must be refunded to the SNSF.