The PhD Booster Project

If basic research is vital for the development of new medical treatments, this work often remains unknown, misunderstood or unattractive for a wider public and especially for a large number of private donors. The PhD booster project is a creative and innovative fundraising programme of the Faculty of Medicine targeting private donors. It will promote the thesis of up to 5 PhD students in basic research in life sciences with the aim of raising a total of 250'000 CHF from private sources. Every selected PhD student will have the opportunity to benefit from a 50’000.-CHF grant from a private donor. The grants will be disbursed in 2019 and will cover 70% of one-year salary (35’000.-CHF) and the remaining 30% (15’000.-CHF) will be used as a credit for an international experience such as a stay in a lab abroad or the participation to an event.

The project in 3 steps

  1. Candidates will be auditioned by a board committee led by the doctoral school. They will have three minutes to present their thesis in a clear, concise and convincing way to a non-scientific audience.
  2. The 5 selected candidates will receive coaching to present their thesis in front of the camera. Videos will be produced and integrated to pill-shaped USB keys.
  3. The “pills” will be part of a medication box branded “Faculty of Medicine” along with a package insert explaining the aims of the campaign.

Conditions of participation

  1. PhD students in basic research in life sciences, at the end of the 1st, 2nd or in the 3rd year may apply.
  2. The thesis will be presented orally in English only.
  3. Candidates are requested to inform the thesis director about their participation.
  4. The selected 5 PhD students should agree with the following:
  • Prepare as well as possible for the video recording
  • Participate in the coaching sessions
  • Respect the process and the schedule
  • Prepare a 1-page summary of the thesis in French and English (only for selected candidates)
  • Provide a copy of the thesis report for the donor
  • Fixed funding requested up to CHF 50,000 per thesis
  • Play the game!

Why participate?

  • You can benefit from a 50’000.-CHF grant from a private donor, split into 70% of one-year salary (35’000.-CHF) and 30% (15’000.-CHF) for international experience.
  • You will have the opportunity to present your work to dozens of prospects and maybe catch their interest on a longer run! Initial feedback from some donors on this innovative project is already extremely positive. However, please note that the Faculty of Medicine is not in a position to guarantee  the 5 grants.
  • You will develop communication skills and outreach capacity, project presentation and persuasion skills that will be useful throughout your career.
  • You will be accompanied and coached throughout the entire process.

Selection criteria

A committee board composed of both scientists and non-scientists will judge the participants based on a 3-minute presentation,  according to the following criteria: 

  • Quality of the thesis project
  • Structure of the presentation and didactics
  • Outreach effort (accessible for a non-scientific audience)
  • Motivation and communication skills

To support the presentation, a maximum of 3 (non-animated) images in PPT format can be used


  • 20th June - Online Application deadline
  • 25th  June - auditions and selection  
  • July - Preparation and two coaching sessions (group and individual)
  • 1st to 15thAugust – Video recording
  • Mid-September – Launching of the campaign
  • October to December - Follow-up and PhD booster funding results
22 mai 2018