The Swiss government is stepping in to support individual researchers currently excluded from receiving grants from the European Union.
Hundreds of Switzerland-based scientists who had applied, or intended to apply, for European Research Council (ERC) grants have been badly hit by the fallout of a referendum last month which obliges the Swiss government to restrict immigration into the country. In response, the European Union suspended talks with Switzerland over its association with the EU’s €80 billion Horizon 2020 research programme, of which the ERC is a part.
To help frustrated ERC applicants who had planned to work in Switzerland, on 10 March the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) announced that it will step in with a temporary grant scheme of its own.
Applicants who intended to apply for an ERC Starting Grant can submit their unchanged proposal to the SNSF between 15 March and 25 March, the SNSF says. Scientists who intended to apply for ERC Consolidator grants have until 20 May to file their proposal with the SNSF. Substitute grants will be comparable in size to those provided by the ERC.
Calls for SNSF grants are open to all scientists who work in Switzerland or who are currently negotiating positions at Swiss research institutions. The transitional scheme will remain in place until a new political agreement is reached over Switzerland’s participation in EU-funded research.