SNSF Doc.CH Grants in the humanities and social sciences (HSS)

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Proposals must be submitted via the electronic web portal:

In short

The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) awards grants to promising researchers who wish to write a dissertation on a topic of their own choice in the humanities and social sciences. Grantees are matriculated at a Swiss university as doctoral students and paid a salary by the university via the "Doc.CH (HSS)"- Grant, which is awarded for a period of two to a maximum of four years.

The two annual deadlines for application are 10 March and 10 September. Proposals have to be submitted online via the SNSF web portal

Submission: eligibility criteria

At the time of the submission deadline, the researcher has a degree (master or similar degree, acquired no more than two years prior to the submission deadline) from a Swiss higher education institution which entitles to start a doctorate in the humanities and social sciences at ETH Zurich; Swiss nationals with a foreign degree are also entitled to submit an application. Candidates must provide a positive assessment of their thesis and have excellent marks in their degree. Moreover, they have generally changed the higher education institution at least once between obtaining the bachelor degree and the matriculation as a doctoral student.

By the start of the "Doc.CH (HSS)"- Grant, all applicants must be certifiably matriculated as doctoral students and employed at ETH Zurich. For details regarding entrance and admission for a doctorate at ETH Zurich, please refer to the Doctoral Administration of ETH Zurich.

Please note that a "Doc.CH (HSS)"- Grant does not automatically grant admission to a doctorate at ETH Zurich, and you may need to take additional qualifying exams.

Duration of Grant

"Doc.CH (HSS)"- Grants are awarded for a period of two to four years; the first part of the grant is awarded for two years, the second for one to two years. After the first 18 months, a new application must be submitted to the SNSF for the second part of the grant. In principle, no further application for a supplementary grant to extend the second part may be submitted and the funding period of four years may not be exceeded.

Beneficiaries of "Doc.CH (HSS)"- Grants may start approximately seven months after the submission deadline and must carry out their dissertation at ETH Zurich. In certain cases, part of the work may be completed at a host institution abroad.

Application and evaluation

Proposals must be submitted electronically via according to the SNSF general guidelines and regulations. To access mySNF, a user account is required; new user accounts must be requested two weeks before the deadline at the latest. Once created, the login-information will be forwarded to the applicant by the SNSF.

For a full application, the following documents are mandatory:

  • A written confirmation from the Doctoral Administration of ETH Zurich regarding employment and admission to the doctorate at ETH Zurich.
  • Two letters of recommendation from (1) the main supervisor working at the ETH Zurich and (2) the co-supervisor working at another higher education institution in Switzerland or abroad; the letters should particularly comment on the candidate’s scientific qualifications, his or her own contribution to the dissertation topic and the feasibility of the proposed research project.
  • A letter of invitation from the host institute abroad if a research stay abroad is planned.

The National Research Council of the SNSF is responsible for awarding "Doc.CH (HSS)"- Grants both with regard to the first and the second part of the grant.

The evaluation procedure comprises two phases: In an initial phase, the ETH Zurich Research Commission scientifically assesses each proposal, selects the best applications and recommends them to the SNSF Research Council. Candidates whose applications are not recommended are informed in writing approximately two months after the submission deadline. In the second phase, those candidates whose applications were recommended following the first assessment phase are invited for a personal interview by the SNSF Research Council to present their research project and career plans orally and answer the questions of the panel members. Applicants will be informed about the second assessment phase in writing approximately four months after the original submission deadline.

Further information

For more detailed information about the specific requirements and the application process for "Doc.CH (HSS)"- Grants, please visit the SNSF-website or contact the SNSF at .

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