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Starting Grants awarded to 27 young researchers


Twenty-seven outstanding young researchers have received an SNSF Starting Grant. The funding level, duration and funding conditions are in line with those of the European Research Council (ERC). This transitional measure of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) offered the Swiss research community an adequate substitute for ERC grants.

The SNSF set up Temporary Backup Schemes (TBS) in March 2014. They enabled excellent researchers working or planning to work at Swiss research institutions to apply to the SNSF for grants comparable to the frontier research grants of the ERC.

This became necessary due to Switzerland’s exclusion from the Horizon 2020 programme - including the ERC schemes - from the end of February to mid-September 2014. When setting up the SNSF Starting Grants (StG) and the SNSF Consolidator Grants (CoG), the SNSF strove to define submission and evaluation procedures that are as close as possible to the ERC’s.

Success rate of nearly 20%

Results for the SNSF Starting Grants are now available. The SNSF evaluated 142 proposals (out of 145 submitted) in the two-phase evaluation procedure. After completion of the first phase, 55 applicants were invited to present their projects to a special evaluation panel and answer its questions. The final selection placed emphasis on the groundbreaking nature of the proposed research and the candidates' ability to conduct original research.

Following the interview stage, 27 proposals were chosen for funding: 5 projects in social sciences and humanities, 10 projects in life sciences and 12 projects in physical & engineering sciences. This represents a success rate of 19%. The share of women applicants was a little over 25% and that of successful female applicants was 22%. In addition, two of the funded applicants will move to Switzerland thanks to their grants.

More than CHF 40 million budgeted

The applicants were able to request up to CHF 1.5 million (without overhead) to cover the costs of these five-year projects. The total budget granted to the 27 funded projects amounts to CHF 40.6 million. The host institutions will receive an additional 15% to cover their overhead costs.

The 27 SNSF Starting Grants are distributed across the higher education institutions as follows: University of Basel 4, University of Bern 2, University of Fribourg 1, University of Geneva 2, University of Lausanne 1, University of Zurich 8, EPF Lausanne 4, ETH Zurich 3, Friedrich Miescher Institute 1, Paul Scherrer Institute 1.

Researchers based in Switzerland again became eligible to apply for ERC grants as of 15 September 2014. Consequently, the SNSF will not launch a call for SNSF Starting Grants again.


Swiss National Science Foundation
Communication division
Phone +41 31 308 23 87

The text of this press release and the lists of the funded projects and the panel members can be found on the website of the Swiss National Science Foundation.

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