Society in Science – The Branco Weiss Fellowship 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 Society in Science fellowship program was initiated and financed by the Swiss entrepreneur Dr. Branco Weiss, who passed away in October 2010. The program belongs to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH).
How to apply
Candidates that present an unusual research project that departs from the mainstream and that have a remarkable track record will be short-listed and could emerge from the annual selection process with an award for the prestigious grant.
Simply 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.
The registration portal for the 2016 fellowship intake is now open, and will close on January 15, 2016, 11.59 p.m. (CET). To avoid server-overload, please submit your application at least 1 to 2 days before the deadline.
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 2016 campaign if:
- You officially hold a PhD on January 15, 2016
- 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
Please do not be disheartened if you have applied before and were not selected, you are welcome to apply again.
Your application will not be forwarded for evaluation if:
- You have not officially completed a PhD by January 15, 2016
- Your PhD was awarded more than five years ago, as of January 15, 2016
- You already hold or have held a faculty or faculty-equivalent position (e.g. assistant professor, lecturer)
- You were born before January 1, 1982
The five year 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. The review is conducted in accordance with a list of requirements, communicated to fellows at the start of their research undertaking.
Society in Science fellows can expect financial support for up to five years as well as the opportunity to work at any academic institution of their choice throughout the world. The fellows belong to a diverse, dedicated and intellectually stimulating group. They meet at least once a year to present and discuss their research projects to scientific and public audiences.
The amount granted is CHF 100’000/year. It may be used to cover all legitimate cost of research (i.e. salary and/or equipment, travel cost, consumables, personnel etc.).
Applications for the 2016 fellowship are now open. Apply here.
Please have the following documents (pdf files) ready for uploading:
- Letter of motivation positioning your research within your discipline and including a scientific vision explaining why your project differs from the mainstream (1 page max.)
- Your CV (4 pages max.)
- Your project proposal (4 pages max.) Please put your project abstract from the template ‘Application Overview’ at the beginning of the proposal.
- Copies of your three best publication
- Completed template Application Overview
Please have the following information ready when starting the application process:
- Bibliographical references of your three best publications
- Contact details of two references for potential letters of recommendation
Please note that letters of support do not have to be submitted upon application but will only be asked for once your application is taken further. Timelines and budgets are only required in case you are granted a fellowship.
To avoid server-overload, please submit your application at least 1 to 2 days before the deadline.
Every proposal is rated on its merits by the Society in Science directorate and strategy committee. Short-listed candidates are invited for personal interviews, to be held in Zurich, Switzerland.
The following timeline applies for the 2016 fellowship intake:
- January 15, 2016, 23:59 CET applications are closed
- End of April 2016: notification and invitation for a personal interview sent to final selection of candidates; notification sent to refused candidates
- May 25 and 27, 2016: interviewing of candidates with the directorateand the strategy committee in Zurich, Switzerland, and final selection of fellows
- September 1 to December 31, 2016: fellows commence research projects