Further research fellowships in ten EU member states
The "Scientific Exchange Programme between the New Member States and Switzerland", or Sciex-NMS.ch for short, enables doctoral and post-doctoral students from the new EU member states to study in Switzerland for a limited period. The programme distributes total funds of CHF 47 million and is open to researchers from the twelve new member states, except Malta and Cyprus.
Gathering experience at different research institutes, including abroad, is often a necessary step en route to a successful postdoctoral qualification and academic career. However, many academics in the new EU member states are unable to undertake or complete research abroad because the cost of living is too high. The Sciex-NMS.ch fellowship programme enables young researchers to undertake research at a Swiss university.
International research cooperation – a win-win situation
Placements in Switzerland are intended to improve the individual skills of researchers and promote academic exchange in order to jointly develop pioneering research programmes. Switzerland brings its strengths in education and research to the table, while at the same time strengthening contacts with academic networks in the new EU member states. A prerequisite for applying for a fellowship is a partnership between the home and host universities.
From solar cells to invasive plant species: applied research thanks to Sciex-NMS.ch
In total, the programme, which was launched in 2009 and is scheduled to continue until 2016, will provide support for around 460 academics. The first researchers selected have already returned to their native countries.
One post-doctoral student who received a grant to study at a Swiss university was Edvinas Orentas (30) from Lithuania. He conducted research at the University of Geneva for eighteen months. Working in the field of solar energy, Orentas investigated how efficient solar cells can be manufactured quickly and cheaply in a consumer-friendly form.
Petr Dostal (37) from the Czech Republic also spent a post-doctoral year in Switzerland at the Institute for Biology in Bern. His research comprised creating a combined Swiss and Czech database of invasive plant species, and this now serves as a basic research resource in both countries.
Human capital as a factor of production: cooperation between Swiss and foreign universities
The partner countries also benefit from the fellowship programme as it increases an important factor of production: their human capital. In addition, networks in a large number of research disciplines are established, expanded and strengthened over the long term – which is also advantageous for Switzerland as a research location. The institutional partnerships often continue well beyond the period of the research placement itself.
The maximum length of stay at a Swiss university is two years. An upper limit was deliberately set to ensure that researchers did not lose the link to their home university. This fellowship programme aims to encourage knowledge transfer between the respective countries, not to contribute to a "brain drain".
The fellowship programme will therefore:
The Rectors' Conference of the Swiss Universities (CRUS) is responsible for coordinating the programme. It will be implemented by means of collaboration between foreign and Swiss universities and their respective mentors (professors).
The project in brief
Research and development
Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Hungary
Starting Point / Background information
In order to pursue an academic career, researchers often need to gather experience at a number of different research institutes, including those abroad. However, many academics in the new EU member states are often unable to undertake or complete research abroad because the costs are too high.
By supporting young academics from the new EU member states and the establishment and expansion of networks between Swiss and foreign universities, the programme makes an important contribution to strengthening research in the respective countries.
Organisation of time-limited research placements at Swiss universities
Fostering the individual research skills of young academics
Establishing networks between Swiss and foreign universities
Young academics from the respective new EU member states
Research institutes from the respective new EU member states
Total project budget (corresponds to amount of Swiss contribution):
CHF 46.8 million
Bulgaria: CHF 2 million
Estonia: CHF 2 million
Latvia: CHF 2 million
Lithuania: CHF 4 million
Poland: CHF 12 million
Romania: CHF 9.8 million
Slovakia: CHF 3 million
Slovenia: CHF 1 million
Czech Republic: CHF 7 million
Hungary: CHF 4 million
Responsibility for Project Implementation
Rectors' Conference of the Swiss Universities (CRUS)
Respective mentors of the collaborating universities
2009 - 2016