Promotion of Early Career Researchers Career Steps

Funding / Fellowships

In most cases, a doctorate is funded through the university's own resources (for assistant or doctoral posts, the so-called qualification positions) or through external funding, for example provided by the Swiss National Science Foundation (in the form of project funding or career funding). Employment or a grant is nevertheless not always guaranteed with a doctorate at the university - there are a number of different possibilities for completing a doctorate. The planning must take account of the graduate's personal situation and possibilities.

The Swiss National Science Foundation awards doctoral grants in the arts and social sciences which are received by the young researchers directly. The program is called Doc.CH. The Faculty of Humanities supports the preparation of an application to Doc.CH with financial contributions.

During a doctorate, it is worthwhile envisaging a stay abroad with a view to networking and extending your research horizons.

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 University of Bern supports early career scientists, who are currently preparing or have already obtained their doctorate, in activities serving to promote networking and profiling within the scientific community: The Fund for the promotion of early career researchers provides these early career scientists with resources to organize courses, continuing education and other networking measures.


In order to prepare a doctoral thesis within the usual time frame of four years, it is essential to focus on the necessary research work. Not all funding models offer the same preconditions in this respect. In certain academic fields, the average duration of a doctorate is more than four years. Depending on the funding model, it is possible to extend the doctorate by a limited amount of time.