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SNSF Starting Grants: researchers seize the opportunity


Launched as a substitute for European funding schemes, the SNSF Starting Grants have met with a positive response: 145 researchers have submitted their applications to the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). The SNSF has also appointed a Commission for "Temporary Backup Schemes".

Supported by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), the SNSF has set up "Temporary Back-up Schemes". This transitional measure offers excellent researchers a temporary substitute for funding schemes of the European Research Council (ERC), from which Switzerland has been excluded. In the wake of the successful mass immigration initiative, the highly competitive and international nature of research in Switzerland must be safeguarded by specific measures until a new political agreement with the EU is reached.

145 applications for grants worth 1.5 million

An initial measure enabled researchers to submit proposals for SNSF Starting Grants to the SNSF until 25 March 2014, in keeping with the ERC deadline. All in all, 145 researchers seized this opportunity, requesting a total funding amount of CHF 219 million. The demand is thus in line with expectations and at a similar level as the previous years' submissions to the ERC (2013: 131 applications).

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The SNSF Starting Grants are aimed at promising young researchers with two to seven years' postdoctoral experience who are working or negotiating a position at a Swiss research institution. The maximum grant per project amounts to CHF 1.5 million for a running time of up to five years.

The SNSF Starting Grants are open to all scientific disciplines. The highest number of submissions was recorded in mathematics and in the natural and engineering sciences (68 proposals), followed by biology and medicine (52 proposals) and the humanities and social sciences (25 proposals). The SNSF will evaluate the submitted proposals in the coming months and make the corresponding funding decisions by the end of 2014.

SNSF Consolidator Grants: launch at the end of April

The call for SNSF Starting Grants will be followed by a call for SNSF Consolidator Grants, with the deadline for submission being 20 May 2014. The SNSF Consolidator Grants are aimed at promising young researchers with seven to twelve years' postdoctoral experience who are working or negotiating a position at a Swiss research institution.

Commission appointed for backup measures

The SNSF is working at full speed to form the bodies required for the evaluation of SNSF Starting and Consolidator Grants. As a first measure, it has appointed the Commission for Temporary Backup Schemes, which will be responsible for coordinating and conducting the backup measures as well as for ap-pointing and supporting the evaluation panels. The members of the Commission are:

Thomas Bernauer, professor of political science at ETH Zurich; member of the National Research Council of the SNSF (Programmes division) from 2004 to 2012; president of the Programmes division from 2011 to 2012

Jean-Pierre Eckmann, professor of theoretical physics at the University of Geneva; member of the National Research Council of the SNSF (Mathematics, Natural and Engineering Sciences division) since 2006

Gisou van der Goot, professor of cell and membrane biology at EPF Lausanne; member of the National Research Council of the SNSF (Biology and Medicine division) from 2002 to 2010

Martin Vetterli, president of the National Research Council of the SNSF (advisory role, without voting rights)

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Further reports about: CHF Commission Consolidator ERC Medicine SNSF Starting

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