Swiss National Science Foundation
The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) is a science research support organization mandated by the Swiss Federal Government. The SNSF 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:
- Division I: Humanities and Social Sciences
- Division II: Mathematics, Natural sciences and Engineering Sciences
- Division III: Biology and Medicine
- Division IV: Programmes (National Research Programmes / National Centres of Competence in Research)
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.
Mandated by the Federal Authorities, the SNSF 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 and for research career, 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 and it funds conferences and publications (mainly dissertations and habilitations).
Research Programmes and Centres of Competence in Research
The National Research Programmes (NRPs) and National Centres of Competence in Research (NCCRs) are the most important research programmes of the SNSF. Mandated by the Federal Council, the 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.
National Centres of Competence in Research (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. Over a period of ten to twelve years, NCCRs benefit from SNSF funding of 20 to 60 million Swiss francs as well as university and third party funding.
Research magazine Horizons
The research magazine Horizons (published in German and French) reports four times a year on the latest developments in all academic disciplines: from biology, medicine and social and cultural sciences to mathematics and the natural sciences. The magazine addresses a broad public interested in research issues and is available as a free subscription.
National Centres of Competence in Research (NCCR)
- National Centres of Competence in Research Interactive Multimodal Information Management - NCCR IM2.
- Swiss Nanoscience Institute - SNI.
- National Centres of Competence in Research Trade Regulation - NCCR Trade Regulation.
- National Centres of Competence in Research Material with Novel Electronic Proprieties - NCCR MaNEP.
- Projects funding of the SNSF http://www.snf.ch/E/funding/projects/Pages/default.aspx.
- Career funding of the SNSF http://www.snf.ch/E/FUNDING/INDIVIDUALS/Pages/default.aspx.
- International programme of the SNSF http://www.snf.ch/E/international/Pages/International.aspx