swissuniversities Programme

Main content

swissuniversities programme: Doctoral programme 2017-2020

In 2016 swissuniversities (the Rectors’ Conference of the Swiss Universities, universities of applied sciences and universities of teacher education) launched a programme to promote new doctoral programmes during planning period 2017-2020. The programme comprises two projects: TP1 and TP2. TP1 supports the establishment of new, structured doctoral programmes, while TP2 will fund doctoral programmes in which universities of applied sciences and universities of teacher education are involved.

Doctoral programmes at universities (TP1)

TP1, “Doctoral programmes at universities”, is promoting new doctoral programmes during planning period 2017-2020. These programmes were granted funding by swissuniversities in 2016.


Project applications had to meet the following criteria:

  • Conformity with the Joint Position Paper by the Swiss Universities on the Doctorate
  • Interdisciplinarity: The doctoral programme is inter-university or inter-institutional (involving at least two groupings within a university unit).
  • Sustainability: The university will assume responsibility for the programme (if successful) when sponsorship ends in 2020.
  • Critical mass: The doctoral programme will achieve a critical mass involving at least 20 doctoral students.
  • Structured supervision: The programme will advance the scientific socialisation of its participants (community activity, networks, range of courses).
  • Specific emphases of the initiative: interdisciplinarity, and programmes in the area of the humanities and social sciences (programmes from other scientific areas may also receive sponsorship)


Programmes approved by the Rector’s Conference will be financed by swissuniversities in the form of a digressive contribution (intended as a type of start-up funding). The respective amount will comprise a maximum of 50% of the costs of the doctoral programme during the planning period.  Universities’ own funds may comprise both “real money” and “virtual money”:

Declaration of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI)

regarding institutions’ own funds [summary in English]: Universities or other institutions must contribute a minimum of 50% of total project costs. At least half of this must be in “real money”.

  • Real money comprises university funds made available for the project, with which the staff and external persons engaged in the project and the required consumables are financed. The expenditures mentioned should be charged directly to the project.
  • Virtual money comprises the value of existing infrastructure and the efforts of university members who have worked on the project but are not financed through it, and the efforts of staff who are financed by national sponsorship programmes (e.g. the SNF).

Funding restrictions

The following will not receive funding:

  • Central administrative and coordination offices*
  • Scholarships of any kind
  • Lump sum payments to doctoral students
  • Travel and accommodation costs for external doctoral students:

*In this regard please see swissuniversities regulations.

Application form

Project application had to be submitted to the Rector using the following form, and including the following information:

  • A short description of the programme (no more than one page) which includes a presentation of the theme; activities envisaged; and an estimate of the number of doctoral students who will take part
  • Details of the programme’s institutional integration; partner institutions; and networks
  • Year of programme start
  • A detailed budget for the entire duration of the programme, including means already available (must amount to at least 50% of the total)

Application form for TP1 (DOCX, 52 KB)


Ulrich Schutz

Cooperation between Swiss universities of applied sciences, universities of teacher education and universities in the context of doctoral studies (TP2)

TP2, “Cooperation between Swiss universities of applied sciences, universities of teacher education and universities in the context of doctoral studies”, will promote doctoral programmes run by the various types of Swiss university which involve joint doctoral student supervision. The doctoral degree will be conferred by a participating university.


The following cooperative projects will receive sponsorship in planning period 2017-2020:

  • Structured doctoral programmes
  • Cooperative research ventures: For example, joint research work by professors and doctoral students which is based upon collaboration between a university and a university of applied sciences or a university of teacher education. This research collaboration need not take the form of a doctoral programme or be linked to a doctoral programme.
  • Joint activities in the doctoral studies context: For example, workshops for persons who supervise doctoral students, or for the doctoral students themselves


swissuniversities funding will amount to a maximum of CHF 200,000.00 per year and must be at least equally matched by participants’ own funds. The following costs may not be covered by swissuniversities funds: doctoral student salaries; research projects; costs of Passerelle examinations.

Submission deadlines and approval procedure

The second call for proposals of this sponsorship programme was announced in April 2017. Proposals have to be submitted by the involved universities by October 31 2017.

For further information regarding the sponsorshiop programme and the preparation of a proposal with participation of ETH Zurich please contact Ulrich Schutz.

Page URL:
© 2017 Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich