Promotion of Early Career Researchers Career Steps

Funding / Fellowships

SNSF Starting Grant

The SNSF Starting Grants 2024 - Grants for researchers who wish to conduct an independent scientific project and lead a research team in Switzerland

On behalf of the federal government, the SNSF is launching a new call this year within the scope of the SNSF Starting Grants transitional measure as Switzerland is still considered a non-associated third country in the Horizon Europe programme. SNSF Starting Grants 2024 is an integrative call. As a transitional measure it covers the ERC Starting Grants 2024 as well as the former SNSF funding schemes Eccellenza and PRIMA. Therefore, in 2024 there will be no separate calls for Eccellenza, PRIMA or the SNSF Professorial Fellowships, which were announced in early 2022 as a new scheme that merges PRIMA and Eccellenza. The SNSF Starting Grants 2024 call is open to applicants of all nationalities who wish to lead a research project at a Swiss host institution. They must have several years of research experience after their PhD, or equivalent qualification or medical degree, during which time they have already conducted research independently and contributed to significant research in their field. Researchers can apply for a budget of up to 1.8 million Swiss francs for a period of five years. Deadline for the SNSF StG call is 01.02.2024.

SNSF Starting Grant

Procedure for written confirmation of the host institution

SNSF StG applicants need a written confirmation letter from the host institute/department. This letter serves as the basis for a second confirmation letter, which will be issued and signed by the Vice-Rector for Research. Please note that the University of Bern's template must be used.
The letter signed by the institute must be sent electronically to the Grants Office by 22 January 2024 at the latest ( The mandatory template and instructions can be found on the University’s internal Website. External applicants can access the mandatory template and instructions here.


The search for suitable sources of funding to pay for salaries, expenses and research funds is a time-consuming activity. Even with a position of postdoctoral researcher designed to run for several years, it is necessary to find additional means of funding activities relating to individual research.

By means of an Ambizione grant, the Swiss National Science Foundation makes it possible to complete an independent research project lasting several years. An important prerequisite is the necessary mobility experience (at least 12 months in a different higher education institution from that where the doctorate is being carried out). The SNSF fosters mobility at post-doctoral level with the Postdoc.Mobility fellowships. For shorter stays, an application to the SNSF Scientific Exchanges scheme is also a possibility or to the Short Travel Grants of the University of Bern.

Excellent researchers can apply in the near future for a Professorial Fellowship of the SNSF. With this new funding instrument, the SNSF will merge Eccellenza and PRIMA.

Advanced post-doctoral students can apply for support from the SNSF to implemented their individual projects (project funding). It should be noted that this support is not to be used to finance a personal salary and that proof must be provided of employment for the planned project time frame.

In Europe, the funding sources for early career researchers include the Marie Skłodowska-Curie individual grants provided by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions, which enable experienced researchers (i.e. with a doctorate) to enhance their career and job prospects through an activity abroad. The renowned grants of the European Research Council are highly competitive and include the Starting Grants (for researchers with between 2 and 7 years' experience after completing their doctorate) and the Consolidator Grants (for researchers with between 7 and 12 years' experience after completing their doctorate).

The Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) aim to promote international exchange and cooperation with grants for researchers (doctoral students as well as postdocs) for up to one year. Many countries offer foreign scholarships for Swiss students and researchers, these scholarships are managed by Swissuniversities. Swissuniversities offers in addition an overview of many fellowships which lead abroad.

The foundation scene is confusing and extremely varied. Switzerland has a high concentration of foundations and depending on the specific needs in question, it is advisable to conduct a detailed search.



Through the UniBE Initiator Grants, the Office of the Vice President for Research offers a fellowship which supports post-doctoral students in preparing applications for major external funding for projects and individuals.