Three researchers of ETH Zurich receive a SNSF Starting Grant

21.11.2014 | News

By:  Florian Meyer

Jennifer Rupp, Karsten Borgwardt and Joao Matos have received a SNSF Starting Grant. The funding level, duration and funding conditions are in line with those of the European Research Council (ERC).

Jennifer Rupp (D-MATL). (Photo: Giulia Marthaler/ETH Zurich)  
Jennifer Rupp (D-MATL) has been awarded a SNSF Starting Grant. (Photo: Giulia Marthaler/ETH Zurich)

The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) set up Temporary Backup Schemes (TBS) in March 2014. This became necessary due to Switzerland’s exclusion from the Horizon 2020 programme - including the ERC schemes - from the end of February to mid-September 2014. When setting up the SNSF Starting Grants (StG) and the SNSF Consolidator Grants (CoG), the SNSF strove to define submission and evaluation procedures that are as close as possible to the ERC’s.

Results for the SNSF Starting Grants are now available. The SNSF evaluated 142 proposals (out of 145 submitted). 27 proposals were chosen for funding. Three researchers from ETH Zurich have each been awarded a SNSF Starting Grant, as announced by the SNSF.

  • Karsten Borgwardt, Associate Professor at the Department Biosystems Science and Engineering (D-BSSE), for his project “Significant Pattern Mining”;
  • Joao Matos, Assistant Professor at the Department of Biology (D-BIOL), for his project “Rewiring the DNA repair machinery for genome stability and haploidisation”;
  • Jennifer Rupp, SNSF Professor at the Department of Materials (D-MATL), for her project “Beyond von-Neuman computing – Materials Functionalization and Integration of Threedimensionally stacked Multiterminal Memristive Oxides Replacing Existing Transistors for Neuromorphic Computing”.
Karsten Borgwardt. (Photo: MPI-IS/Däfler)  
Karsten Borgwardt has been awarded a SNSF Starting Grant. (Photo: MPI-IS/Däfler)

More than CHF 40 million budgeted

The 27 SNSF Starting Grants are distributed across the higher education institutions as follows: University of Basel 4, University of Bern 2, University of Fribourg 1, University of Geneva 2, University of Lausanne 1, University of Zurich 8, EPF Lausanne 4, ETH Zurich 3, Friedrich Miescher Institute 1, Paul Scherrer Institute 1.

Joao Matos. (Photo: Joao Matos)  
Joao Matos. (Photo: Joao Matos)

The SNSF Starting Grants have been awarded to 5 projects in social sciences and humanities, 10 projects in life sciences and 12 projects in physical & engineering sciences. This represents a success rate of 19%.

The share of women applicants was a little over 25% and that of successful female applicants was 22%. In addition, two of the funded applicants will move to Switzerland thanks to their grants.

The applicants were able to request up to CHF 1.5 million (without overhead) to cover the costs of these five-year projects. The total budget granted to the 27 funded projects amounts to CHF 40.6 million. The host institutions will receive an additional 15% to cover their overhead costs.

How to apply for an ERC Grant

Researchers based in Switzerland again became eligible to apply for ERC grants as of 15 September 2014. Consequently, the SNSF will not launch a call for SNSF Starting Grants again. ERC has published the Call for Starting Grants Applications. Deadline is February 3, 2015.

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