Annual Call for Projects

Call for Projects 2020

The Swiss Network for International Studies (SNIS) offers project grants for pluri- disciplinary teams in international studies. The following definitions for international studies and pluri-disciplinary research apply:

The SNIS adopts an inclusive understanding of international studies. Therefore, research in international studies concerns issues that are pluri-disciplinary, relevant to the international agenda, and for which international cooperation is required to produce policy-relevant outputs. Investigated issues may combine political, economic, social, environmental, historical, legal, health, scientific, and development dimensions of complex societal questions.

Pluri-disciplinary research is concerned with the study of a research topic within one discipline, with support from other disciplines, bringing together multiple analytical dimensions.

The SNIS supports pluri-disciplinary projects in the social sciences and pluri-disciplinary projects that combine natural and social sciences. The SNIS does not support pluri-disciplinary projects that only consist of natural sciences. The SNIS does not fund individual grants, i.e. career grants.

Projects must run for two years and funding can range from 100’000 to 300’000 Swiss francs.

Thematically, submissions can be made for the following branches of the Call:

  • The general call: In any area of International Studies as defined above.
  • Special theme 2020: What promising new forms of global governance and cooperation in response to the changed geopolitical order? Opportunities and challenges for non-state actors.

There is no quota for the general call or the special theme, i.e. one will not be statistically penalized for submissions to either branch.

Phase 1: The pre-proposal

In the first round, research teams submit a pre-proposal that contains the description of the project as well as information on the submitting research team members. The SNIS Scientific Committee decides which applicants are invited to submit a full proposal. The success rate in the second round is approximately 40%. All participants in the first round can ask for a feedback for their applications.

Phase 2: The full proposal

In the second round, teams submit a full proposal. The SNIS Scientific Committee selects the winning projects and gives detailed feedback to those not retained.

Pre-proposal content and deadline

To complete a pre-proposal, applicants need to fill in a form on the SNIS submission platform. The different form fields correspond to the eligibility and evaluation criteria. Project coordinators must also provide a short biography (max. 500 characters), a list of relevant publications (maximum 10), and necessary administrative information.

Applicants also have to indicate ALL team members who will be involved in the project. All mentioned project members must have been personally contacted, and they must have given their consent for participating in the project.

The pre-proposal deadline is 15 January 2020. Results of the first round will be available on 20 March 2020.

Full proposal content and deadline

In the full proposal phase, applicants need to upload six individual pdf documents to the submission platform. Project coordinators have to provide the following documents:

  • Summary;
  • Research plan;
  • Team member information;
  • The appropriate dissemination strategy for the expected research results;
  • Partnership information;
  • Budget;
  • Institutional letter for Post-docs: Only if the project coordinator is a faculty member without a full-time contract.

The criteria for the evaluation of the full proposals are the same as for the evaluation of the pre-proposals.

The Jury will also take into consideration if the project team has met their previous questions/critiques.

The full proposal deadline is 14 May 2020. Results will be available on 30 June 2020.

IMPORTANT:

The deadlines of the first and second round are final, i.e., information provided after the deadline will not be considered.

Substantial changes of the project between the first and second round are prohibited.

Call for Projects

Submission status: Open

Contact Us About the Submission Process

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Relevant document

Criteria for the Selection of Projects

The SNIS differentiates between eligibility criteria (substantial and formal) that have to be met to allow for funding and evaluation criteria that are used to rank projects.

Substantial eligibility criteria

The two substantial eligibility criteria for the admission to the call are:

  • The project proposal meets the criterion of at least pluri-disciplinary research;
  • The project proposal meets the criterion of international studies.

To meet the criterion of international studies, project proposals must demonstrate that the issues investigated:

  • Are pluri-disciplinary in nature;
  • Are relevant on the international agenda;
  • Require international cooperation to produce policy-relevant outputs.

IMPORTANT: Projects in which there is simply an international collaboration between researchers from different countries are not qualified as ‘international studies’.

    To meet the criterion of pluri-disciplinarity, project proposals need to demonstrate that:

    • The research question benefits from a pluri-disciplinary approach;
    • The research design is genuinely pluri-disciplinary;
    • The team is composed of experts from different academic backgrounds (it does not suffice that one person claims proficiency in many disciplines).

    The substantial eligibility criteria are checked by the SNIS Secretariat. All doubtful projects are submitted to the president of the SNIS Scientific Committee who decides which proposals can enter the call and which are refused.

    Formal eligibility criteria

    Formal eligibility criteria aim to guarantee the administrative solidity of SNIS funded projects and ascertain that the projects contain co-funding.

    The following formal eligibility criteria apply:

    • At least one Swiss university or other Swiss institution of tertiary education or research must be involved as the hosting institution in the project. The list of qualifying institutions can be found at: http://bit.ly/2dCPA7p;
    • The coordinator and co-coordinator submitting a project must be a faculty member (professor, assistant professor, post-doc, researcher) employed by a qualifying institution (see above);
    • During the project duration the coordinator needs to be employed by the hosting institution for work unrelated to the project with a contract of at least 40% FTE (full time equivalent post)
    • Each project needs to have a co-coordinator;
    • If the coordinator is a faculty member without a full-time contract at the hosting institution the co-coordinator must be employed by the same hosting institution with a contract of at least a 40% FTE not related to the project;
    • The coordinator of a project shall not be working on another on-going SNIS funded project at the time of submission. On-going means that the accounts of a project have not been fully closed on the day of the first-round submission deadline;
    • Co-funding (in-kind and monetary contributions combined) must amount to at least 25% of requested funds and shall not exceed 100% of requested funds.

    Formal eligibility criteria are checked by the SNIS secretariat. Projects that fail to meet the formal eligibility criteria are notified shortly after the deadline of the pre-proposals and will not enter the call.

    Evaluation criteria

    Evaluation criteria are subdivided into three aspects:

    1) Academic originality and rigor

    The quality of the proposal is evaluated according to:

    • The adequacy of the literature review;

    • The precise identification of a research gap;

    • The originality and clarity of the research questions / hypotheses;

    • The adequacy and completeness of the proposed research methods;

    • The adequacy and quality of the team members;

    • The adequacy between the research venture and the time / envelope funding available;

    • The clarity of the research plan.

    2) Collaboration

    The quality of the proposal is evaluated according to:

    – Inter-academic collaboration:

    • Involvement of different universities in Switzerland;
    • Involvement of researchers from abroad;
    • Involvement of PhD students and post-docs;
    • Involvement of local partners / researchers (for case / field studies).

    – Collaboration with IOs / NGOs:

    • Integration of the research topic with IOs’ / NGOs’ agendas;
    • Collaboration with personnel from IOs / NGOs (if applicable);
    • Quality and appropriateness of all other trans-academic partnerships (collaboration with non-academic partners such as private entities or any institutions that do not fall under IOs / NGOs).

    3) Projected outputs & dissemination 

    The quality of the project proposal is evaluated according to:

    • The ambition of the projected academic outputs;
    • The post-project data-sharing strategy;
    • The adequacy and depth of the projected dissemination / impact strategy;
    • The projected reach of the dissemination efforts.
    Use of SNIS Funds

    TRAVEL EXPENSES 

    Travel expenses should be reasonable, with clear added value to the project and complying with the rules of the institution managing the SNIS funds.

    INFRASTRUCTURE AND EQUIPMENT

    The SNIS neither funds infrastructure nor equipment.

    PUBLICATIONS 

    The SNIS does not fund publication costs but strongly encourages open-access for articles emanating from SNIS projects. Project coordinators are encouraged to use their discretionary research fund (see below) to pay for open-access to their project-derived, peer-reviewed articles where necessary.

    ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS

    The SNIS does not fund any institutional overheads. However, project coordinators are entitled to allocate 3% of the granted sum to their discretionary research fund. The SNIS encourages project coordinators to use this fund to pay for open-access to their project-derived, peer-reviewed articles where necessary. For all other expenses made with the discretionary research fund rules from the hosting institution apply [1].

    All hosting institutions of selected projects will have to furnish support letters confirming that they will oversee the accounting of the allocated budget (without charging VAT or institutional overheads), and that they will control for the orderly use of the discretionary research funds.

    [1] For an indicative list of appropriate and inappropriate uses of discretionary research fund money see https://provost.yale.edu/policies/appropriate-use-university-research-funds

    SNIS definition of international studies

    The SNIS adopts an inclusive understanding of international studies. Therefore, research in international studies concerns issues that are pluri-disciplinary, relevant to the international agenda, and for which international cooperation is required to produce policy-relevant outputs. Investigated issues may combine political, economic, social, environmental, historical, legal, health, scientific, and development dimensions of complex societal questions.

    SNIS definition of pluri-disciplinarity

    Pluri-disciplinary research is concerned with the study of a research topic within one discipline, with support from other disciplines, bringing together multiple analytical dimensions.

    SNIS definition of inter- and trans – disciplinarity

    The SNIS strongly encourages inter-, and trans-disciplinary research which go even further than pluri-disciplinary research.

    Inter- and trans-disciplinary research (IDR) is a mode of research by teams or individuals that integrates information, data, techniques, tools, perspectives, concepts, and/or theories from two or more disciplines or bodies of specialized knowledge to advance fundamental understanding or to solve problems whose solutions are beyond the scope of a single discipline or area of research practice.

    Roles of Team Members 

    Please note that all project members that are mentioned in the project proposal must have been personally contacted and they must give their consent for participating in the project.

    Coordinator

    Function

    The coordinator manages the project and is the primary contact for the SNIS and responsible for the successful conclusion of the project. There can only be one coordinator per project and SNIS funds can only be used to compensate coordinators that don’t have a full-time contract at the hosting institution.

    Salary provisions

    – If the coordinator has a full-time contract, SNIS funds cannot be used for the coordinator’s salary

    • The project contribution of a coordinator (not compensated with SNIS funds) can be counted as ‘in kind’ contribution to the project by the employing institution.

    – If the coordinator is a faculty member without a full-time contract, SNIS will fund up to a 50% of a full-time position for the coordinator.

    Co-Coordinator

    Function

    The co-coordinator is the deputy coordinator and acts as primary contact for SNIS in case of absence of the coordinator. There can only be one co-coordinator per project.

    Salary provisions

    – The same rules as for the coordinator apply.

    Principal Member

    Function

    The principal members are the principal research personnel. They can be members from the hosting or partner institutions (PhD students, IO / NGO members, other researchers, etc.); the hosting university is responsible to conclude a contract with their (own) principal members or the principal members’ institutions to ascertain / regulate the payments of salaries. Principal members cannot have a coordinating role in the project.

    Salary provisions

    Their salary can be paid with SNIS funds.

    – For PhD students: The salaries for PhD students paid with SNIS funds should correspond to the scales of the SNSF. If using the FNS scales is not possible due to specific salary scales and rules of the employing institution, scales and rules of the employing institution can be used. In this case, the team has to provide a full explanation of reasons.

    • The scales for PhD salaries are considered to be the remuneration for a 100% position of which a minimum of 60% should be dedicated to SNIS project-related work.

    – For all other research personnel: The SNIS can cover up to a 50% FTE position in accordance to the employing institution. The SNIS reserves the right to trim compensations to be comparable with good practice in the Swiss system of higher education and research.

    Associated Member

    Function

    Associated members can have important functions in the project, but they cannot receive compensations emanating from SNIS funds.

    General salary provisions

    The salaries paid with SNIS funds should correspond to the scales published by the SNSF. If using the SNSF scales is not possible due to specific salary scales and rules of the employing institution, scales and rules of the employing institution can be used. In this case, the team has to provide a full explanation of reasons.

    The SNIS reserves the right to trim compensations following good practice in the Swiss system of higher education and research.

    The employment level of a researcher involved in a SNIS project should allow for an orderly focus on project work, i.e., avoid economic duress. In general, employment levels covered with SNIS funds of less than 50% are allowed only if other funding sources are used to raise the combined employment level dedicated to the project to at least 50% of a FTE post.