The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)

Supporting research to fight global threats

Knowledge is the key to the future. Research creates knowledge.

The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)

​As Switzerland’s foremost research funder, the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) plays a key role in promoting scientific research in all academic disciplines. In 2020, the SNSF awarded CHF 937 million to more than 6,000 projects involving 20,000 researchers.

The SNSF’s core task is evaluating project proposals submitted by researchers. We allocate public research money to the best projects that undergo a competitive evaluation. This helps maintain the high quality standards generally associated with research in Switzerland. In close collaboration with higher education institutions and other partners, we strive to create optimal conditions for the development of Swiss research and its integration into international networks. One of our main priorities is promoting early career researchers.

Research and innovation during the COVID-19 pandemic

As the coronavirus pandemic began to take hold in Europe in early 2020, the SNSF responded swiftly with initiatives aimed at fighting the global health crisis:

  • Special call for research on coronaviruses: Researchers supported by the SNSF are taking part in the global effort to better understand, diagnose and treat the illnesses caused by the new coronavirus: 45 projects submitted by researchers were awarded a total of CHF 11.9 million in a special call for projects on coronavirus research. The aim is to add new findings to our existing knowledge about the biology of SARS-CoV2.
  • National Research Programme “COVID-19” (NRP 78): A total of 28 research projects are tasked with developing innovative solutions and public health recommendations to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic. NRP 78 has an overall budget of CHF 20 million.

    All of these projects, as well as those funded by Innosuisse and the European framework programme Horizon 2020, are listed in the SNSF’s COVID-19 project registry.
    More information on funded projects can be found in the “News room” section of the SNSF’s website.

  • National Research Programme “COVID-19 in Society” (NRP 80): This NRP will be launched in autumn 2021. Its mission is to generate knowledge that will help us manage the current as well as future pandemics by analyzing social processes during the pandemic from a social science perspective. NRP 80 thus complements NRP 78 “COVID-19”, which focuses primarily on the biomedical and clinical aspects. The programme has a budget of CHF 14 million and will run for three years.

In addition to the above-mentioned initiatives, the SNSF supported SNSF grant holders by providing additional resources to bridge any gaps in funding.

With its range of schemes, the SNSF supports around 1,300 projects that could contribute to solutions to the current global health crisis or increase our preparedness for future public health challenges.

International response

The SNSF’s immediate responses to the pandemic were focused on national issues and challenges facing researchers in Switzerland. However, as a new member of the GloPID-R network, the SNSF has communicated and aligned its COVID-19 activities with the other members since the beginning of the pandemic. The aim here was to join forces, avoid duplication of effort and share initial data in workshops with supported scientists across Europe.

The initiatives outlined above were open to international researchers as co-applicants, thus allowing leading experts to develop projects together. The SNSF also promotes early and open access to data and publications for all COVID-19-related research projects. In addition, we have financially supported the World Health Organization’s global Solidarity Trial, which produced conclusive evidence in record time of the efficacy of repurposed drugs against COVID-19.

Learn more about the SNSF


EU Flag

The GloPID-R Secretariat is a project which receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101094188.