Fellowships and Mentoring Opportunities

The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) has defined gender equality as a target across all its funding activities and has implemented a range of measures to increase the share of women in research.

The career funding schemes include:

  • Gender equality grant: Offers additional individualised and flexible support to women for career development.

  • NCCR Flexibility Grants (formerly known as 120% support grants): This grants are aimed at postdocs and doctoral students who have to look after children at an important stage in their career and are therefore in need of more flexibility, either by providing funding for child care costs, or by financing the salary of a support person, allowing the grantee to reduce his/her work quota. You can find the application form and eligibility requirements here.
        - Open to postdocs and doctoral students
        - Support for children up to and including primary school age
        - Support person without having to reduce own activity rate

The career-funding scheme of the University of Basel includes the programmes Get on track and Stay on track. It is aimed toward highly qualified female postdoctoral researchers in the early stage of motherhood. It helps to take the form of temporary relief from certain duties of assistants, for example teaching, project lead, academic administration, and laboratory work. The support measures are scheduled to fit approximately with the duration of semesters.

Mentoring programmes

These programs make a significant contribution to equal opportunities at Swiss Universities by supporting young female researchers in planning their careers.

The NCCR Molecular Systems Engineering is providing targeted mentoring measures for female scientists applying for career grants such as Ambizione, SNSF Professorships, ERC-grants. The support comprises information about the application procedure and a presentation rehearsal with 2-3 dedicated PI's who will give feedback on structure and performance of the delivered presentation.

The University of Basel offers antelope. The program antelope is a new, concise and exclusive career program. It is aimed at highly qualified female doctoral students from all faculties. Over a 10-months period, the program will support 40 junior female scientists to systematically plan and promote their careers and prepare them for future leadership and management assignments.

The ETH Domain developed the program fix the leaky pipeline for students of ETH Zurich, EPFL, PSI, EAWAG, EMPA, and WSL. The program offers young female scientists (PhD students, Postdocs and others) the opportunity to reflect on their professional situations, develop a strategy for embarking or continuing on their career paths, receive targeted further training, and extend their personal and scientific networks.

And, since 2006, the SNSF has contributed to the programme Réseau Romand de mentoring pour femmes.

Another good source for mentoring contacts is the website of SVIN (Swiss Association of Women Engineers)


Hala Helmy, Managing Director