Support for young researchers

Updated 17 June 2021

The Rectorate want to support young researchers whose research activities have been significantly delayed by the containment phase related to Covid19 (March-April 2020). The support provided is based on the following principles:

  1.     Priority is given to young researchers funded on temporary contracts or grants in order to limit the impact on their career development.
  2.     Equity in the treatment of cases, regardless of the source of funding : DIP, SNSF or other third party funds.
  3.     Encouragement for research project leaders to take the necessary steps with funders, SNSF or third party funds to obtain an extension.
  4.     Flexibility in the evaluation deadlines for assistant professors, whether or not they are subject to conditional pre-tenure.

Young researchers who consider that the period of lock-down has significantly delayed their research work and whose hiring, contract or grant is temporary, may apply for an extension of their appointment, normally for two months.

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Regardless of where your funding comes from, this opportunity is opened to PhD students, postdoc or research and teaching fellows and scholarship holders. Applications must be supported by the dean's office or the interfacultary centre's management team, and the extension should ideally be funded by your research group, department, section or faculty. Where no such funding is available, requests can be forwarded to the Rectorate.

A case-by-case approach allows to take account of individual circumstances and to allocate available resources to those who have been affected most by the coronavirus crisis. To ensure fair and equal treatment, all cases are examined on the basis of whether the applicant was prevented from continuing their research for the duration of the lockdown according to the following criteria:

  • The coronavirus crisis has had a material impact on your research (i.e., you have been unable to collect data or to access facilities, databases or library or archive resources, or your data have been lost or become unusable).
  •  Your personal or family situation did not allow you to work remotely or prevented you from continuing your research.
  • You had to take on tasks that were unrelated to your research, as part of the University's response or to help your community (e.g., you were setting up online courses, recruited by a hospital or called up by the army).
  • You were unable to meet your pre-doctoral deadlines.

If you are funded by the cantonal authorities (DIP), your contract extension (normally of two months) is covered by your faculty or center. Hiring will be postponed unless there is a pre-existing contractual commitment.

If your funding comes from elsewhere (SNSF or other third-party funding), your contract extension should ideally be covered by the entity concerned. However, if your request is rejected, the head of research will reallocate funds from their internal budget. If this is not possible, they will be able to request funding from the section, department or faculty, or, as a last resort, the Rectorate, through the planned support fund.

These measures were drawn up following a consultation process involving the University's deans, centre directors, the Staff Committee and the Assembly. They are similar to those being taken by several other Swiss universities. The rectorate has set out the specific terms and conditions in a directive.

If your situation is urgent, please contact your supervisor and, if necessary, the Human Resources Division.