Open Access Government highlights how the SNSF is supporting science in Switzerland while attracting talented researchers into the field
The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) was established in 1952 and is mandated by the federal government. Supporting basic sciences across all academic disciplines, the SNSF is Switzerland’s key research funding organisation. The organisation finances over 3,200 projects involving 14,800 researchers each year.
The SNSF sees knowledge as the key to the future and with this research creates knowledge. The Foundation defines its ambitions and values informing its work: Quality, Independence, Reliability, and Fairness.
Recruiting talented researchers
One of the key areas of concern for the SNSF is encouraging young talent into the area of research. The SNSF supports over 4,000 doctoral students and around 2,500 postdocs through their projects and programmes, every year.
In their 2013-2016 Action Plan, the SNSF outlines the importance of ensuring the emergence of the next generation of researchers and says: “In Switzerland, careers in academia are filed with uncertainties which, particularly for Swiss researchers, reduce their appeal in relation to other career opportunities. Encouraging young talents to consider a career in research is, therefore, the uppermost priority of the SNSF.
“Supporting measures for project collaborators, redesigned mobility fellowships and doctoral programme in the humanities and social sciences are expected to create opportunities for young researchers at key stages in their careers.”
The Plan says: “Switzerland is a highly successful and attractive research location with excellent research groups working to the highest international standards, offering good infrastructure, well-above-average salaries and a high-quality of life.
“The large proportion of researchers from abroad is evidence of the fact that in the international battle for the best talents, Switzerland occupies a good starting position. Both its institutions of higher education and its funding organisations are called upon to ensure optimal framework conditions so as to continue to attract the most innovative researchers, increase the number of home-grown talents willing to pursue an academic career and be able to secure Switzerland’s position as a top research location in the long term.”
Another priority area for the SNSF was to offer flexible research to scientists in their quest for excellence.
“The pace, scope and impacts of scientific discovery in research are increasing at a tremendous speed. Today, new methods of investigation and technologies building on years of basic research are enabling researchers to tackle problems and issues that are significantly more complex than those encountered only 10 years ago.
“The goal of the SNSF is to support individual performance by offering flexible funding options for all disciplines and types of research and by working to ensure good framework conditions for international co-operation and mobility, participation in national and international collaborative projects and programmes, and access to infrastructure.”
Open Access Government