Promotion of Early Career Researchers Career Steps

Funding / Fellowships


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 SNF fosters mobility at post-doctoral level with the Postdoc.Mobility fellowships. For shorter stays, an application to the SNF 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 SNF. With this new funding instrument, the SNSF will merge Eccellenza and PRIMA.

Advanced post-doctoral students can apply for support from the SNF 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.