Seal of Excellence Fund (SELF)

Replacement funding for unsuccessful MSCA Postdotoral Fellowship applications.

Requirements A Horizon Europe Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Postdoctoral Fellowship (MSCA PF) application with the University of Bern that was unsuccessful but was awarded the EU "Seal of Excellence" (minimum score of 85). Matching funds from the institute/department at the University of Bern must be available.
Eligibility Supervisors (MSCA PF Supervisor) at the University of Bern who wish to hire these researchers at the postdoctoral level.
Funding amount
Salary costs of max. CHF 50,000/year as matching funds to the institute's own funds, as well as a lump sum for research costs of CHF 800/employment month.
Scope Salary costs to employ researchers for min. 6 months and max. 2 years at the University of Bern (i.e., own funds of the supervisor for an employment of min. 3 months must be available), research costs (consumables, services, etc.). Not funded: existing appointments.
Deadline The expression of interest in SELF must be submitted by the Supervisor to the Grants Office by 31 December of the year of submission of the MSCA PF application (i.e., prior to notification of MSCA PF evaluation results).

What is the aim of SELF?

The aim is to increase the chances of researchers at postdoctoral level to acquire a competitive career development grant within 2 years. In addition, SELF contributes to increasing the attractiveness of the University of Bern as a research location for excellent researchers at postdoctoral level from abroad.

What is supported?

The contributions are in principle the same amount as the financial investment of the institute/department. Thus the employment period that can be financed by the institute's own funds alone is roughly doubled. The detailed rules are listed in the SELF regulations (see documents below).

How does it work?

  • MSCA PFs have an annual submission deadline (mid-September). The evaluation by the European Commission is carried out by peer review. The results (also about the achievement of the "Seal of Excellence") are communicated to the applicants within 5 months (in January).
  • If the MSCA PF candidate receives the Seal of Excellence, the Grants Office will ask the supervisors if they would still like to hire the person. If so, the availability of matching funds must be confirmed. In addition, all required information regarding the proposed employment will be requested. The Grants Office will provide an online form for this purpose.
  • If the available SELF funds of the University of Bern are not sufficient to fund all applications, those candidates whose MSCA-PF application score is closest to the panel-specific score that would have resulted in EU funding will be supported first.
  • The Grants Office will transfer awarded funds to the Institute after employment has begun. Employment must begin within 1 year of notification of MSCA results and award of the Seal of Excellence.
  • If the employment at the University of Bern is terminated prematurely, the unused SELF funds must usually be reimbursed. A (partial) exception is granted if the employment arrangement is changed due to the successful acquisition of competitive third-party funding for career advancement by the SELF Fellows (e.g. SNF Ambizione). This also applies to a resubmission of the MSCA PF application if the Horizon Europe participation requirements are still met.