Swiss Government Excellence Postdoctoral Scholarships for Foreign Scholars

Each year the Swiss Confederation awards Government Excellence Scholarships to promote international exchange and research cooperation between Switzerland and over 180 other countries. Recipients are selected by the awarding body, the Federal Commission for Scholarships for Foreign Students (FCS).

The Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships are aimed at young researchers from abroad who have completed a master’s degree or PhD and at foreign artists holding a bachelor’s degree.

Types of scholarship

  • The research scholarship is available to post-graduate researchers in any discipline (who hold a master’s degree as a minimum) who are planning to come to Switzerland to pursue research or further studies at doctoral or post-doctoral level.
    Research scholarships are awarded for research or study at all Swiss cantonal universities, universities of applied sciences and the two federal institutes of technology. Only candidates nominated by an academic mentor at one of these higher education institutions will be considered.
  • Art scholarships are open to art students wishing to pursue an initial master’s degree in Switzerland. Art scholarships are awarded for study at any Swiss conservatory or university of the arts. Only those who have already been awarded a place to study may apply. This scholarship is available to students from a limited number of countries only.

Selection criteria

The FCS assesses scholarship applications according to three criteria:

  • Candidate profile
  • Quality of the research project or artistic work
  • Synergies and potential for future research cooperation

The FCS will select scholarship holders for the 2017–18 academic year by the end of May 2017. Scholarships for the 2018–19 academic year will be advertised online from August 2017.

Postdoctoral scholarships

The Scholarship is only valid for full-time postdoctoral research in Switzerland. It is not valid for mixed postdoctoral research (part time in Switzerland and part time in another country; no funding for field work).

Target group

Highly qualified postdoctoral researchers from all academic fields.


  • 12 months (starting in September) no extension possible.
  • Grant applications for stays lasting less than 9 months will not be treated as a priority. Grant applications for stays lasting less than 6 months will be rejected.

Amount and additional allowances

  • The scholarship amounts to a monthly payment of CHF 3,500.
  • Tuition fees are waived.
  • For non-EU and non-EFTA grantees only: mandatory Swiss health insurance is paid by the FCS.
  • Non-European grantees receive a lump sum for their airfare (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

  • PhD degree
  • No more than five years may have passed between the award of the PhD and the application deadline.
  • Applicants who are in Switzerland for more than one year at the beginning of the scholarship in September are not eligible.
  • Applicants must provide a letter (or email) from a professor at the Swiss host institution stating that they are willing and entitled to supervise the postdoctoral research. Without such confirmation, the application will be rejected.
  • 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 postdoctoral research.
  • Applicants who have already benefited from a Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship are not eligible to apply for a second scholarship.

Selection criteria

The following dimensions and selection criteria are primarily considered:

  • The candidate: academic profile and research capacity.
  • The research project: originality and methodological soundness.
  • The academic context: quality of supervision and the potential for future academic cooperation.
Application date
15 Nov 2016
Date of residence
1 Sep 2017
12 months
Europe Switzerland
Humanities Anthropology & Ethnology Archaeology Architecture Art & Art History Classical Studies Digital Humanities History Linguistics Literature Media Studies Music & Musicology Philosophy Religion & Theology Social sciences Business and Administrative Sciences Communication Sciences Demography Economics Environmental Sciences Gender Studies Geography International Relations Law Pedagogic & Education Research Political science Psychology & Cognitive Sciences Social Anthropology Sociology Other Agronomy Biology Chemistry Computer science Engineering Mathematics Medicine Physics
Required post-doc experience: 
between 0 and 5 years
Award granted
CHF 3.500/month