Swiss National Science Foundation

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The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF, German: Schweizerischer Nationalfonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung, SNF; French: Fonds national suisse de la recherche scientifique, FNS; Italian: Fondo nazionale svizzero per la ricerca scientifica) is a science research support organisation mandated by the Swiss Federal Government. The Swiss National Science Foundation was established under private law by physicist and medical doctor Alexander von Muralt in 1952.


The SNSF consists of three main bodies: Foundation Council, National Research Council and Administrative Offices. The Foundation Council is the highest authority and makes strategic decisions. The National Research Council is composed of distinguished researchers who mostly work at Swiss institutions of higher education. They assess research proposals submitted to the SNSF and make funding decisions. The National Research Council comprises up to 100 members and is subdivided into four divisions:

The divisions work together with local Research Commissions, which are based at institutions of higher education. These commissions act as a link to the SNSF and they offer a local perspective on applications emanating from their institution.

The administrative offices support and coordinate the activities of the Foundation Council, the Research Council and the Research Commissions. Their tasks include financial controlling of research funding, requesting and evaluating external reviews of proposed projects, maintaining national and international contacts in the area of research policy, representing the SNSF in relevant bodies and communicating with the public. The administrative offices are located in Bern.

In 2016, Angelika Kalt was appointed Director of the SNSF.[1]

At the helm of the SNSF are Jürg Stahl, President of the Foundation Council, Angelika Kalt, Director of the SNSF, and Matthias Egger, President of the National Research Council.

Funding schemes[edit]

Mandated by the federal authorities, the Swiss National Science Foundation supports basic science in all academic disciplines. It evaluates research proposals submitted by researchers and funds projects selected on the basis of scientific criteria. The SNSF provides fundings for research projects[2] and for research career,[3] among which fellowships, SNSF professorships and Marie Heim-Vögtlin grants (programme for the promotion of women in research). By awarding fellowships and special grants, the SNSF also supports young researchers. In addition, the SNSF supports international collaborations with specific programmes and collaborations[4] and it funds conferences and publications (mainly dissertations and habilitations).

Research Programmes and Centres of Competence in Research[edit]

The National Research Programmes (NRP) and National Centres of Competence in Research (NCCR) are the most important research programmes of the SNSF. Mandated by the Federal Council, NRPs generate scientific knowledge aimed at solving pressing problems. They generally run for up to five years and have an overall budget of eight to twelve million Swiss francs. Since 1975, the SNSF has launched over 69 NRPs. NCCRs aim to strengthen research structures in Switzerland. Each NCCR is based at an institution of higher education and consists of a centre of competence as well as a national and international network. NCCRs benefit from SNSF funding of 20 to 60 million Swiss francs over a period of ten to twelve years, as well as university and third party funding.[5]

National Centres of Competence in Research (NCCR)[edit]



  • National Centres of Competence in Research Trade Regulation - comprises 12 trade-related IP topics, seeks to aid regulators in promoting coherence within a fragmented system of international trade regulations, and is directed by Manfred Elsig, of the University of Bern.[8]
  • NCCR Affective Sciences
  • NCCR Chemical Biology
  • NCCR Democracy
  • NCCR Iconic Criticism
  • NCCR Kidney.CH
  • NCCR Mediality
  • NCCR Robotics
  • NCCR Trade Regulation
  • NCCR TransCure
  • NCCR Bio-Inspired Materials
  • NCCR Digital Fabrication
  • NCCR On the Move
  • NCCR PlanetS
  • NCCR RNA & Disease
  • NCCR SwissMAP

Research magazine Horizons[edit]

The research magazine Horizons (German title: Horizonte, French title: Horizons) is a joint publication of the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences (it was edited by the SNSF alone before 2012).[9] In four quarterly editions, it reports on the latest results and insights from all research disciplines: from biology, medicine, natural sciences and mathematics to social and cultural sciences. The magazine addresses a broad public interested in research issues and is available as a free subscription (as well as freely accessible on-line).

Horizons has been available in English online since the publication of its hundredth issue in March 2014.[10]


The Swiss National Science Foundation awards the Swiss Latsis Prize (funded by the Latsis Foundation).

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Angelika Kalt is the new Director of the SNSF - SNF". Retrieved 5 April 2019.
  2. ^ Projects funding of the SNSF Archived 26 June 2008 at
  3. ^ Career funding of the SNSF Archived 1 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ International programme of the SNSF Archived 2 December 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Switzerland: In-depth PESTLE insights, Switzerland Country Profile, 1 January 2011, archived from the original on 12 April 2016
  6. ^ Current NCCRs
  7. ^ Current NCCRs website
  8. ^ The NCCR Trade Regulation website
  9. ^ Research magazine Horizons, (page visited on 8 March 2014).
  10. ^ "Horizons - the Swiss research magazine: now available as an app and in English!", (page visited on 8 March 2014).

External links[edit]