Promotion of Early Career Researchers Career Steps

Funding / Fellowships

SNSF Starting Grant

The SNSF Starting Grants replace the ERC Starting Grants and the SNSF Eccellenza Professorial Fellowships for Swiss based applicants

The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) has received the mandate from the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) to launch transitional measures replacing the ERC Starting Grant Call 2022. The SNSF Starting Grant (SNSF StG) 2022 call targets researchers who have achieved scientific independence and contributed to impactful research in their field, and wish to conduct an independent research project at a Swiss higher education institution. The SNSF StG call combines the scientific criteria of the ERC StG (project) and those of Eccellenza (qualification of the applicant including the suitability of the higher education institution). Please note that the SNSF Starting Grants 2022 will replace the Eccellenza Professorial Fellowship 2022. Deadline for the SNSF StG Call is 01.02.2022.

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 25 January 2022 at the latest ( The mandatory template and instructions can be found on the University’s internal website: Dienstleistungen > Forschung > Hilfsmittel für Gesuche und Projekte > SNF > Resources for proposals > SNSF Starting Grant. External applicants should contact their host institute in order to obtain this important information.


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.

Successful post-doctoral students who have several years of experience in research and have spent several years at an institution other than that where the doctorate is being carried out and Assistant professors with tenure track (who have started the professorship no longer than 18 month ago) should consider applying for SNF Eccellenza.

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.

Excellent female researchers can apply for a PRIMA-grant of the SNF. PRIMA grantees lead their own research project at a Swiss higher education institution.

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.