The Swiss Government via the Federal Commission for Scholarships for Foreign Students FCS is offering Swiss Government Excellence PhD Scholarships for foreign researchers.
Scholarship program enables selected applicants to undertake a PhD research at one of the 10 Swiss cantonal universities, the two Swiss federal institutes of technology, the public teaching and research institutes or the universities of applied sciences.
Eligible universities and institutions
University of Basel / University of Bern / University of Fribourg / University of Geneva / University of Lausanne / University of Lucerne / University of Neuchâtel / University of St. Gallen / University of Zurich / Università della Svizzera italiana
- Federal Institutes of Technology
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETHZ)
- Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID)
The scholarship is only valid for full-time PhD studies in Switzerland. It is not valid for mixed PhD programmes (part time in Switzerland and part time in another country). “Cotutelle de these”: PhD students with an ongoing or planned doctoral project that is carried out within the framework of a formalized agreement between two universities (“cotutelle de thèse” cooperation between a Swiss and a foreign university) and under the joint direction of two supervisors are eligible for a 12 month research fellowship only.
Highly qualified postgraduate students (possessing the required degrees) from all academic fields are eligible to apply.
3 years maximum (starting in September)
Amount and additional allowances
- The scholarship amounts to a monthly payment of CHF 1’920.
- For non-EU and non-EFTA grantees only: the FCS pays mandatory Swiss health insurance.
- There are no family allowances.
- No financial support for fieldwork or for conferences.
- Scholarship holders from non-EU and non-EFTA countries receive a flight allowance (lump sum) for a ticket back to their country of origin (provided at the end of the scholarship).
- Special CHF 300 housing allowance (paid once at the beginning of the scholarship).
- One-year half-fare public transportation card.
- Support services and various trips, dinners and sightseeing tours organised for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship holders.
Eligibility criteria and specific conditions
- Master’s degree or equivalent university degree recognised by the Swiss university. The applicant must have achieved this degree before the start of the scholarship next September. As a proof, the degree has to be submitted to the Federal Commission for Scholarships before the start of the scholarship.
- Applicant’s date of birth after 31 December 1983.
- Applicants must provide a letter from an academic host professor (including her/his short CV) at the chosen Swiss university confirming why she/he is willing to supervise and support the PhD thesis. Without such support, the application will be rejected.
- Applicants for doctoral schools (doctoral programmes) *): in addition to all other application documents (including the support letter from a supervisor), the admission letter from the doctoral school is required with the application dossier.
- As this takes time applicants must plan accordingly and submit their application for admission to the doctoral school sufficiently in advance of the scholarship programme deadline.
- Please note: If the chosen doctoral school does not allow you to contact a supervisor before being admitted to the school, the application for the Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship is not possible.
- *) There are basically two different ways to achieve a doctorate degree (aka PhD). The first and best-known way consists in undertaking doctoral studies under the supervision of an academic mentor (supervisor). The second way consists in being admitted to a doctoral programme (aka doctoral school) which provides the framework for the following doctoral studies.
- Applicants must have a research proposal including a timeframe. This is the centrepiece of the application. The applicant must devote all required attention to it.
- Applicants must be in command of the necessary language skills required for the PhD studies/ research.
- Applicants who have been in Switzerland for more than one year at the beginning of the scholarship in September are not eligible.
- Applicants who have already benefited from a Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship are not eligible to apply for a second scholarship. Scholarship holders are expected to move to Switzerland during their grant period.
- PLEASE NOTE: The FCS application for a PhD scholarship and the application for admission by a Swiss University for a PhD study are two separate procedures.
- The admission to a PhD study at your chosen Swiss University is a conditio sine qua non for a potential attribution of a FCS scholarship - but no guarantee though for a positive decision by the Federal Commission for Scholarships for Foreign Students FCS. It is the applicant’s responsibility to manage both procedures in parallel.
The following aspects and selection criteria are primarily considered:
- The candidate: academic profile, research capacity and motivation.
- The research project: originality and methodological soundness.
- The academic context: quality and context of supervision and potential for future academic cooperation.
- Application deadline: 15 November 2018
- Beginning of the scholarship: 01 September 2019
Please submit 2 sets (=1 original + 1 copy) of application documents in exact order given below: The 1st set contains the original, signed documents plus the confidential letters of recommendation and, if applicable the attested translations in English. The other set is the copy of the 1st set except for the confidential letters of recommendation (only 1st set). No copies for 2nd set.
- Signed FCS application form (typed and printed) with photo.
- A full CV with list of academic publications, awards etc.
- A motivation letter (max. 2 pages).
- A complete research proposal (max. 5 pages, signed), using exclusively the FCS research proposal form.
- A copy of the letter from an academic host professor (including her/his short CV) at the chosen Swiss university confirming why she/he is willing to supervise and support the postdoctoral research.
Applicants for doctoral schools (doctoral programmes): In addition to all other application documents (including the support letter from a supervisor), the admission letter from the doctoral school is required with the application dossiers.
- Two confidential letters of recommendation from two different professors in the applicant’s field (use exclusively the FCS reference form – originals in sealed envelopes only for the 1st set). No copies for 2nd set.
- Photocopies of certificates and grade sheets from previously attended universities/colleges and diplomas with grades, starting with the most recent. If not in English, French, Italian or German with attested certified translations in English. Originals have not to be submitted.
- Signed medical certificate (use only the FCS health certificate form).
- Two copies of the applicant’s passport (main page with personal data). Dual nationals add copies of both passports. Applicants already in Switzerland during the application procedure add the “Permis B”.
Please do not put the documents into plastic folders or binders.