Offering Unique Postdoc Fellowships
The Branco Weiss Fellowship – Society in Science is a unique postdoc program. It awards young researchers around the world with a generous personal research grant, giving them the freedom to work on whatever topic they choose anywhere in the world, for up to five years.
This research fellowship is designed to support postdoctoral researchers after their PhD and before their first faculty appointment. Those in current postdoctoral positions are also eligible. Ideally, fellows pursue unconventional projects in new areas of science, engineering and social sciences.
The fellowship program was initiated and financed by the Swiss entrepreneur Dr. Branco Weiss, who passed away in October 2010. The program is based at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH).
How to Apply
Apply with a groundbreaking research idea to secure financial support for up to five years, working at an academic institution of your choice anywhere in the world.
Applications for the 2020 fellowship intake are now open until January 15, 2020, 11.59 p.m. (CET). Read all about eligibility for the fellowship here.
The ideal applicant has the competencies to design a surprisingly novel and scientifically rigorous research project which blazes new trails, profiting from the freedom uniquely offered by the fellowship.
You are eligible for the 2020 campaign if:
- You officially hold a PhD on January 15, 2020
- You have obtained your PhD a maximum of five years prior to January 15, 2020
- You do not hold or have held a faculty-equivalent position (e.g. assistant professor or lecturer)
- Your project departs from the mainstream of research in your discipline
- You have a record of outstanding scientific achievement
- You demonstrate in the proposal a willingness to engage in a dialogue on relevant social, cultural, political or economic issues across the frontiers of your particular discipline
If you have applied before and were not selected, you are welcome to apply again.
The following reasons for delays after attaining your PhD are acceptable:
- parental leave (max. one year per child)
- inability to work due to illness or accident
Applicants must explain their reasons for applying for an extension and provide the relevant documents. The number of weeks that the research work was interrupted is accepted as an extension.
The fellowship is awarded in two installments:
- The pioneer phase: the first two years of research
- The exploitation phase: the remaining three years
At the end of the pioneer phase, a review is conducted. This evaluates the project, its continued originality, and the productivity of the fellow. Branco Weiss Fellows are encouraged to seek faculty positions during their exploitation phase; success hereby will not terminate the fellowship.
A Branco Weiss Fellowship consists of CHF 100,000 per year. It may be used to cover all legitimate costs of research (i.e. salary and/or equipment, travel expenses, consumables, personnel, etc.).
Applications for the 2020 fellowship intake are now open. Apply here.
Please have the following documents (pdf files) ready for uploading:
- Letter of motivation including a statement explaining why your research differs from the mainstream (max. 1 page)
- Your proposed research project (max. 4 pages, including abstract, references extra)
- Your CV (max. 4 pages)
- Copies of your three best publications (no doctoral theses, no books, only individual book chapters)
- Application overview (download template here), including a reasoning of why you believe that you are a perfect candidate for a Branco Weiss Fellowship (max. 1000 characters)
Please note that letters of support do not have to be submitted upon application. Timelines and budgets are not necessary.
In preparing the description of your intended research, you may wish to give emphasis to the idea or concept forming the heart of the work, the methods you are planning to use, and the potential impact of the outcome both for your own subject and for other disciplines. You should also seek to present links between society and science that you wish to explore and promote.
All documents must be submitted as PDF files (max. 5 MB each).
Before applying, please read the Fast Facts for Applicants carefully.
Every proposal is evaluated by the directorate, selected faculty members of ETH Zurich, and external reviewers. Short-listed candidates are invited for personal interviews, to be held in Zurich, Switzerland.
The following timeline applies for the 2020 fellowship intake:
- January 15, 2020, 11.59 p.m. CET: final deadline for applications via the online form
- May 2020: notification and invitation for a personal interview sent to final selection of candidates; notification sent to candidates whose application has been rejected
- June 2020: candidates interviewed by a panel in Zurich, Switzerland; final selection of fellows
- September 1 to December 31, 2020: fellows commence research projects