In 2016, the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) supported around 3200 research projects involving more than 14,000 researchers from universities, universities of applied sciences, universities of teacher education and the ETH domain, and worked unceasingly for the promotion of research in Switzerland.
The SNSF awarded around 3200 research proposals funding worth CHF 937 million in 2016. The lion’s share of almost CHF 435 million was earmarked for project funding, the SNSF’s main funding scheme. It allows researchers to submit a project of their own choice and explore new ideas. In 2016, they submitted around 4% fewer projects than in the previous year, but the requested funds increased by 3.2% to almost CHF 1.1 billion. The SNSF approved 40% of the submitted proposals. This means that a thousand new ideas are being put to the test in this scheme alone and over 2000 international collaborations are envisaged.
Targeted and early support for young researchers
Educating highly qualified young researchers is paramount for the competitiveness of Swiss research. In 2016, the SNSF supported excellent young researchers in Switzerland with over CHF 200 million. Its aim is to promote earlier academic independence and, in collaboration with its partners, clearer career prospects. Matthias Egger, president of the Research Council, explains: "We have to make academic careers more appealing in this country, so that Swiss research can continue to compete internationally at the highest level. As the leading funder of basic research in Switzerland, the SNSF is expected to make a major contribution to this goal."
Open access to research data
The SNSF supports the open science movement whose aim is to make research data publicly accessible. "In a few years’ time, all publications funded by the SNSF and their data will be freely accessible," says Matthias Egger. "These research results are paid for by tax money and belong in the public domain."
The "Profile" of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)
Mandated by the Federal Authorities, the SNSF supports basic science in all academic disciplines. The annually published "Profile" is an extended annual report. In the current "Profile 2016-2017", the SNSF looks ahead - to open research data becoming the new normal - and it presents current plans and promising new ideas to build on. The Profile also offers the opportunity to reflect on the activities of the previous year and portray the Specialised Committees of the Research Council - though their work is "hard and unspectacular" it can give the careers of young researchers a boost just when they need it most.