Practicalities for the USI community

How to apply at USI to career grants requiring institutional support

Several career grants which support the development of the academic career of excellent researchers, such as SNSF Ambizione, ERC and SNSF Starting and Consolidator Grants, SNSF Professorial Fellowships as well as other funding instruments promoted by private foundations, require specific support from the hosting institution. In these cases, the institution has to guarantee an academic position, either as group leader or as assistant professor.

Given these requirements, interested candidates must first undergo an internal evaluation prior to receive the USI institutional support.

Internal procedure

Interested candidates must submit their dossier to the SRIT to start the internal assessment, usually two months before the call deadline.

Applications will be first subject to a formal verification of the specific call eligibility criteria and of the scientific match with USI profile, then sent for an in-depth assessment to the Research Pro-Rector.

For calls that require the guarantee of a professorial position, the candidate will be invited to an online interview with the faculty members.

Should a positive support decision be reached, the applicant will receive the confirmation letter(s) needed for the application and will benefit of administrative support for the proposal’s preparation.

Who should apply to USI internal procedure

As a general rule, internal candidates without a professorial position, as well as external candidates, have to undergo the internal assessment to receive the university’s support.

Applications from internal candidates (without professorial position) are accepted only in exceptional cases, when they can demonstrate a clear scientific independence from the host and/or from their PhD supervisor. USI does not consider applications from researchers whose entire academic career (from doctorate onwards) is internal.

In the sections below, we present in more depth the internal evaluation procedure and criteria for some of the most common career fellowships. However, please be aware that the internal assessment is not limited to those grants but apply to all funding schemes requiring an institutional support.

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  • Ambizione

    Ambizione grants are aimed at young researchers who wish to conduct, manage and lead an independent project at a Swiss higher education institution.

    SNSF criteria

    • Ambizione projects award four-years grants to researchers with At least 12 months of postdoctoral research activity;
    • Maximum 4 years from the doctorate.

    USI criteria

    • They have an excellent academic early-stage track record, especially in terms of publications, and firm ambitions to pursue an academic career at USI.
    • Strong interest in scientific domains represented at USI.

    Documentation

    Potential candidates fulfilling all these requirements should send the following documents to the Research Service ([email protected]) by the 15th September:

    • A complete CV including publication list;
    • A cover letter indicating their specific research interests, the project idea, how they fit into USI scientific profile, the match with the institute in which they expect to be integrated;
    • Letters of support from USI professors interested in the application.

    Procedure

    • Applications will be first subject to a verification of the call’s eligibility criteria, then sent for assessment to the Research Pro-Rector.
    • Should a positive support decision be reached, the applicant will receive the two confirmation letters needed for the SNSF application and will benefit of administrative support for the proposal preparation.

     

    As per SNSF regulations, USI guarantees to successful candidates a position equivalent to that of USI group leader.

     

    Application process at a glance:

    Formal check eligibility criteria + scientific match > Evaluation by the Research Pro-Rector > Support decision > SNSF Application > Evaluation by the SNSF

    We underline that this procedure aims at identifying good candidates, which deserve support from USI when submitting their application to the SNSF; USI has no influence on the selection process at the SNSF, which is solely based on the scientific quality of applicants and projects.

  • SNSF Starting Grants (replacing Eccellenza 2022 and ERC StG 2022)

    The following information refers to the Starting Grants 2022 (currently closed). No information is available yet concerning a possible call in 2023.

    SNSF Starting Grants, which replace ERC Starting Grants, are aimed at highly qualified young researchers who wish to establish their scientific independence and who aspire to acquire a permanent academic position. Candidates must meet both the SNSF call requirements as well as the USI internal criteria listed below:

    SNSF Criteria

    Five-year grants are awarded to researchers who:

    • Have no prior relationship to Switzerland;
    • Have between 3 to 8 years of research experience after the PhD;
    • Conducted research stays of several years at an institution different from that where the doctorate was obtained, thereof at least 1 year abroad.
    • They have an excellent academic track record, especially in terms of publications, scientific independence, and firm ambitions to pursue an academic career.

    USI criteria

    • Candidates must demonstrate a strong interest in the scientific domains represented at USI. Please be aware that USI strongly favours candidates coming from outside.
    • Applicants have a clear match with USI scientific profile.

    Documentation

    Potential candidates fulfilling these requirements should send the following documents to the Research and Transfer Service ([email protected]) 3 months before the SNSF submission deadline:

    • A complete CV including publication list, including the information needed to verify the formal conditions set by the SNSF or ERC;
    • A cover letter indicating their specific research interests, the project idea, how they fit into USI scientific profile, the institute in which they expect to be integrated;
    • Letters of support from USI professors interested in the application.

    Procedure

    • Applications will be first subject to a formal verification of the call’s eligibility criteria and then sent to the Research Pro-Rector for assessment.
    • In the event of a first favourable assessment, the candidate is invited to an online interview with faculty members.
    • The final decision is taken by the USI rectorate.
    • Should a positive support decision be reached, the applicant will receive the confirmation letters needed for the SNSF application and will benefit of administrative support for the proposal preparation.

     

    As per SNSF regulations, USI guarantees to successful candidates a position equivalent to that of USI assistant professor.

     

    Application process at a glance:

    Formal check eligibility criteria + scientific match > Online interview > Support decision by the rectorate > SNSF Application > Evaluation by the SNSF

    We underline that this procedure aims at identifying good candidates, which deserve support from USI when submitting their application to the SNSF; USI has no influence on the selection process at the SNSF, which is solely based on the scientific quality of applicants and projects.

  • SNSF Consolidator Grants 2022 (replacing ERC CoG 2022)

    The following information refers to the Consolidator grants call 2022 (currently closed). No information is available yet concerning a possible call in 2023.

    SNSF Consolidator Grants, which replace the ERC Consolidator Grants, are aimed at highly qualified and established researchers who wish to consolidate their scientific independence in Switzerland. Candidates must meet both the SNSF call requirements as well as the USI internal criteria listed below:

    SNSF Criteria

    • Applicants have shown research independence and have produced several important contributions to science. They want to conduct ground-breaking and ambitious research in Switzerland.
    • Applicants have between 7 to 12 years of research experience after the PhD;
    • They have an excellent academic track-record, especially in terms of publications, scientific independence and firm ambitions to consolidate their academic career.

    USI Criteria

    • Applicants demonstrate strong interest in scientific domains represented at USI. Please be aware that USI strongly favours candidates coming from outside.
    • Applicants have a clear match with USI scientific profile.

    Documentation

    Potential candidates fulfilling all these requirements should send the following documents to the Research and Transfer Service ([email protected]) two months prior to the call’s deadline:

    • A complete CV including publication list, containing the information needed to verify the formal conditions set by the SNSF;
    • A cover letter indicating their specific research interests, the project idea, how they fit into USI scientific profile, the match with the institute in which they expect to be integrated;
    • Letters of support from USI professors interested in the application.

    Procedure

    Applications will be first subject to a formal verification of the call’s eligibility criteria and then sent to the Research Pro-Rector for in-depth assessment.

    • In the event of a first favourable assessment, the candidate will be invited to an online interview with faculty members.
    • The final support decision is taken by the USI rectorate.
    • Should a positive support decision be reached, the applicant will receive the confirmation letter needed for the SNSF application and will benefit of administrative support for the proposal preparation.

     

    Application process at a glance:

    Formal check eligibility criteria + scientific match > Online interview > Support decision by the rectorate > SNSF Application > Evaluation by the SNSF

  • Professorial Fellowships

    Professorial Fellowships are aimed at outstanding researchers who are on their way to becoming professors. Candidates must meet both the SNSF call requirements as well as the USI internal criteria listed below: 

    SNSF criteria:

    • They match the SNSF requirements for Professorial Fellowships concerning academic age (mobility is a requirement);
    • Between 3 to 10 years of research experience after the PhD ;
    • Connection with Switzerland

    USI criteria:

    • An excellent academic track-record, especially in terms of publications, scientific independence and firm ambitions to consolidate their academic career at USI;
    • They demonstrate a strong interest in scientific domains represented at USI;
    • Excellent fit within USI scientific profile.

    Documentation

    Potential candidates fulfilling all these requirements should send the following documents to the Research Service ([email protected]) by the 1st of November:

    • A complete CV, including publication list;
    • A cover letter, indicating their specific research interests, the project idea, how they fit into USI scientific profile, the institute in which they expect to be integrated;
    • Letters of support from USI professors interested in the application.

    Procedure

    • Applications will be first subject to a formal verification of the call’s eligibility criteria. Applications are then sent to the Research Pro-Rector for in-depth assessment.
    • In the event of a preliminary favourable assessment, the candidate will be invited to an online interview with faculty members.
    • The final support decision is taken by the USI Rectorate.
    • Should a positive decision be reached, the candidate will receive the confirmation letter(s) needed for the SNSF application and will benefit of administrative support for the proposal preparation.

     

    As per SNSF regulations, USI guarantees to successful candidates a position equivalent to that of USI assistant professor.

     

    Application process at a glance:

    Formal check + scientific match > Online interview > Support decision by the Rectorate > SNSF Application > Evaluation by the SNSF

    We underline that this procedure aims at identifying excellent candidates who deserve support from USI when submitting their application to the SNSF; USI has no influence on the selection process at the SNSF, which is solely based on the scientific quality of applicants and projects.

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Updated on: 27 June 2022