Researchers aiming for a grant at Swiss institutions can no longer apply for grants to the European Research Council (ERC). This is a result of the acceptance of the initiative against mass immigration on 9 February 2014. According to the announcements made last Friday by the Federal Council and in coordination with the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) is immediately setting up temporary funding schemes. Applications with destination Switzerland, also by incoming researchers, are no longer accepted by the ERC, beginning with the call for Starting Grant proposals, which closes on 25 March 2014.
The high competitiveness and performance as well as the international nature of research and innovation in Switzerland must be maintained by other means until a new political agreement with the European Union can be reached. The temporary funding schemes of the SNSF covers the aims, scopes and funding levels of the three major ERC funding schemes:
The calls for these temporary schemes will be open to scientists who work in Switzerland or who are currently negotiating positions at institutions in Switzerland. The SNSF will set up the schemes, evaluation processes and administrative procedures during the next weeks.
Given that this is an emergency situation, there is no time to follow the usual decision procedures. In order to avoid that ERC grant applicants for Switzerland change their destination to EU, all the members of the NRC presiding board and the executive management have agreed to maintain the two upcoming ERC call deadlines for 2014, namely 25 March for the Starting Grant proposals and 20 May for the Consolidator Grant proposals. The SNSF will also launch a call for Advanced Grant proposals in autumn 2014 if the negotiations with the EU are not concluded in time.
The next steps will be the following: