ETH Zurich Research Grants

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ETH Zurich promotes world-class research that may result in fundamental new knowledge or technologies via a competitive internal Research Grant Program. In the focus of the funding program are grant applications that involve highly creative and original as well as high-risk approaches with the potential for exciting new discoveries in all disciplines represented at the ETH Zurich.

Grant applications that involve scientifically sound but relatively routine investigations are automatically assigned low priority.

ETH Zurich Research Grants should not be the primary and certainly not the only source of research funding for any ETH Zurich group. Rather, they should be a source of seed funding for step-out projects with high visibility and impact.

ETH Zurich Research Grants ("ETH Grants")

These grants are primarily intended to support highly innovative graduate student projects involving a single ETH Principal Investigator or a small number of colleagues. However, larger, collaborative and interdisciplinary proposals involving several ETH Zurich groups and with a clear scientific added value with respect to the combined contributions are also eligible for consideration.

The typical ETH Grant will comprise one PhD student with funding for the salary and for material costs. Requests for more than one doctoral student per Principal Investigator need to be well justified. Post-doctoral research positions will be funded only exceptionally. The maximum funding level for a project requesting support for a single ETH Zurich research group is CHF 500’000 over 3 years. Funding for interdisciplinary endeavors involving two or more ETH research groups is limited to a maximum of CHF 1’500’000 per project.

ETH Grants are not meant to be a substitute for regular SNSF grants but should complement SNSF funding in the area of high-risk / high reward research. Therefore, ETH Grant Principal Investigators are, in general, required to have at least one active SNSF grant or to hold one other substantial, peer-reviewed, active external grant, e.g., from the EU (for exceptions, see guidelines (PDF, 54 KB)). A Principal Investigator must also not submit more than one ETH Grant application per call.

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Detailed information on requirements for ETH Grant Applications is given in the guidelines. Applications not complying with the guidelines (PDF, 54 KB) will be rejected on formal grounds.

Submission procedure

Applications must be submitted electronically in pdf-format using the dedicated on-line system. Applicants must use the provided templates and follow the naming conventions for the individual documents. More information on the submission procedure is provided here.


Submission deadlines are March 1 and September 1 at 11.59 p.m. CET.

When to expect a decision

Notification of decisions made by the Vice President Research will normally be sent to the Principal Investigator within approximately 4 months of the submission deadline.

Personnel costs (valid 2016)

For PhD students and postdoctoral researchers, please use the following standard rates (percentage of employment: 100):

PhD students

  • first year: kCHF 53.4
  • second year: kCHF 55.1
  • third year: kCHF 56.9
  • Total: kCHF 165.4

Postdoctoral researchers

  • first year: kCHF 98.4
  • second year: kCHF 103.3
  • Total: kCHF 201.7

The rates include approx. 13.6 % and 14.0 % social security overhead for PhD students and postdocs, respectively. For other participants, please obtain from the personnel department (Personalabteilung) a salary estimate and enclose the calculation sheets in the proposal.

Successful projects will be awarded a lump sum based on salary costs valid at the time of approval. Adjustments of salary scales might be made in adherence to the general ETH Domain remuneration policy as defined by the ETH Board. Any extra costs associated with salary scale adjustments effected during the project funding period must be borne by the applicants.

Further information

For further information on the ETH Zurich Research Grant Program, please contact

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