Funding Possibilities

SPIRIT – Swiss Programme for International Research by Scientific Investigation Teams

Spirit - Swiss Programme for International Research

The SPIRIT programme facilitates knowledge exchange between Swiss researchers and researchers in selected countries that are receiving development assistance. With SPIRIT, the SNSF is giving Swiss researchers more opportunities to collaborate with partners in many countries around the world.

Federal bilateral cooperation programmes

The Federal Council launched the bilateral programmes in 2008 to foster cooperation with non-European partners in the ERI sector. Based on the principles of mutual interest, joint funding and scientific excellence, they are designed to facilitate long-term and sustainable partnerships. The bilateral programmes consist of two complementary instruments: joint research projects with the BRICS countries as well as with Argentina, Japan, South Korea and Vietnam, and Leading House pilot activities with promising regions.

Joint research projects

Joint research projects (JRPs) are conducted on behalf of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) in cooperation with funding agencies in Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Japan, Russia, South Africa, South Korea and Vietnam. A JRP usually lasts between three and four years and enables Swiss researchers to address specific questions together with researchers from the partner countries. From 2017 to 2020, more than 100 JRPs received funding. As they have proved to be so successful, the bilateral programmes will be continued in the years 2021–2024. In consultation with its partner organisations, the SNSF regularly launches calls for proposals for larger bilateral research projects.

Leading House pilot activities

In the Leading House model, selected Swiss institutes of higher education are commissioned by SERI to set up cooperation instruments for start-up funding and innovative pilot projects under the framework of the bilateral programmes. This has proved to be a useful and efficient format for establishing privileged contacts and testing new instruments of research and innovation cooperation. Between 2017 and 2020, more than 500 pilot research and innovation activities with these new countries and regions received funding.

The following Leading Houses have been commissioned to run smaller pilot projects regionally in 2021 to 2024:

Leading Houses
Leading Houses

Calls International Cooperation in Research and Innovation via SERI

International calls published via the State Secretary for Education Research and Innovation (SERI)

Postdoc.Mobility by SNSF

Early Postdoc.Mobility fellowships are designed for postdocs at the beginning of their career who wish to enhance their scientific profile by working at a research institution abroad.
The fellowships include a grant towards living costs, a flat-rate for travel expenses and, if justified, a contribution towards research and conference costs as well as matriculation fees. In principle, these fellowships are awarded for 18 months, in justified cases for at least 12 months.

Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development - R4D

The Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development ( programme) is being implemented jointly by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). The joint programme supports relevant research for development aimed at solving global problems in poor countries. It consists of five thematic modules and a module for research without pre-defined topics. To stay informed you can subscribe to the programme newsletter.

map of r4d projects 2018
map of r4d projects 2018

Swiss - African Research Cooperation (SARECO)

The funding line to finance kick-start activities with partners in Africa intends to incentivize and further collaboration between Swiss and African researchers by focusing on the following kick-starting instruments: Exchange visits, Joint seminars, Joint Workshops.
Grants are available for the following countries: Cameroon, Ghana, Senegal, Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique, Zambia
Updates about calls for proposals and conferences are made available at the SARECO twitter account at:


REPIC is the interdepartmental platform for the promotion of renewable energy, energy and resource efficiency in international cooperation. REPIC is partially financing new, sustainable and effective small-scale projects from Swiss institutions with high replication potential.

Swiss Network for International Studies, SNIS

Researchers and scholars seeking to apply for any of the funding opportunitiesoffered by the SNIS can quickly find relevant information on current and up-coming call for projects and awards, as well as detailed information on formal requirements.

Current calls in the area of agricultural research for development, and relevant for researchers based in Switzerland.

Provided by the Swiss Forum for International Agricultural Research (SFIAR)

Nestlé Foundation

The Nestlé Foundation initiates and supports research in human nutrition with public health relevance in low-income and lower middle-income countries according to the World Bank classification.

Sight and Life

Sight and Life has recently instituted its new strategy and as such the grants (humanitarian, educational, conference grants) have been redesigned. The strategic focuses are micronutrient dietary improvement through supplementation and fortification; promoting partnerships and building capacity; and sharing knowledge for improved nutrition.

Other Funding Possibilities

Foundation Maps
Foundation Maps is a data visualization tool from Foundation Center that brings philanthropic data to life, making it easy to understand who is funding what and where around the world. Simple yet powerful filters zero-in on the issues and places that are most important to you, and interactive features reveal connections among organizations and highlight trends over time. - Foundation Center is the leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide.

IDEA-PhD Portal
The International Association of Universities’ (IAU) portal on doctoral education IDEA-PhD stands for Innovative Approaches to Doctoral Education in Africa. Besides many funding opportunities, you can find a lot of information about what it takes to ensure successful doctoral education and research.

ACCESS4.EU projects
This web portal provides European researchers with information about Research, Technology Development and Innovation (RTDI) programmes around the world, which are open to European participation.

AuthorAID - Funding List
AuthorAID is a free pioneering global network that provides support, mentoring, resources and training for researchers in low and middle income countries. AuthorAID provide travel and workshop grants twice a year. On the link below you find many more funding opportunities

IDRC - International Development Research Center
IDRC offers grants, funding, and awards to researchers and institutions to find solutions for global development challenges.

Link to various research grants

TWAS, the voice for science in the South
TWAS is a global science academy based in Trieste, Italy, working to advance science and engineering for sustainable prosperity in the developing world.

The UK Collaborative on Development Research
The UK Collaborative on Development Research (UKCDR) is a group of government departments and research funders working in international development.

CODESRIA (Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa)
CODESRIA offers many opportunities ranging from conferences, training workshops, research activities, job vacancies

START - grant and employment opportunities
START promotes research-driven capacity building to advance knowledge on global environmental change in Africa and Asia-Pacific - , both within and outside of START.

International Foundation for Science (IFS)
The objective of the IFS is to support developing countries in managing their natural resources in a sustainable way. It helps to reinforce the research capacity in these countries and to finance excellent research that is relevant to the mission of IFS.

Funding opportunities sourced by GDNet
Funding opportunities, grants and scholarships currently featured in the Regional Windows relevant to researchers and research institutes working on development issues in low and middle income countries.

European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP)
EDCTP aims to accelerate the development of new or improved drugs, vaccines and microbicides against HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, with a focus on phase II and III clinical trials in sub-Saharan Africa by supporting multicentre projects which combine clinical trials, capacity building and networking.

ICGEB Fellowships and Grants

ICGEB include five types of long and short-term PhD and Postdoctoral awards in the fields of genetic engineering and biotechnology available to scientists who are nationals of ICGEB Member States to perform research in Trieste, New Delhi or Cape Town. The ICGEB runs additional joint fellowship programmes with India and China.

ICGEB Research Grants are a dedicated source of funding aimed at financing projects addressing original scientific problems of particular relevance for the host country and of regional interest.


Commission for Research Partnerships with Developing Countries (KFPE)
House of Academies
PO Box
3001 Bern

+41 31 306 93 49

News on funding possibilities

Federal bilateral programmes for cooperation in research and innovation with non-European partner countries 2021–2024

The Dispatch on the Promotion of Education, Research and Innovation for the years 2021–2024 provides for a continuation of the bilateral cooperation programmes with non-European partner countries launched in 2008. is a centralised platform showcasing scientific and technological cooperation opportunities between Switzerland and the rest of the world.

Overview of SNSF's funding schemes