Application Process

Please note that the 36 fellowships available for this programme have already been awarded, therefore no further calls are expected.

How do I apply to EPFLinnovators? Click here to find out.

Applicants must fulfill the following eligibility criteria


In agreement with the Horizon 2020: 2016-2017 Work Programme for Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, applicants to EPFLinnovators must be Early Stage Researchers (ESR): “ESR shall, at the date of the deadline of the co-funded programme’s call, be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and have not been awarded a doctoral degree“.

The following eligibility criteria must be fulfilled:

1. Citizens of any nationality may apply. There are no restrictions concerning age, gender, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, political views, language or nationality of the candidates.

2. Applicants must hold a Master’s degree (or equivalent)

3. Applicants must fulfil the transnational mobility rules:

The applicant must not have resided or carried out her/his main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Switzerland for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the deadline for the submission of proposals. Exceptions to these rules are possible, for women (e.g. in case of maternity leave) or refugees, to ensure equal opportunities are provided to students whose scientific careers have been interrupted. The mobility rules mentioned above are adapted as follows for refugees: the applicant must not have resided or carried out her/his main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Switzerland for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the deadline for the submission of proposals, unless as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention (This is regardless of whether s/he was active in research at that time).

More information can be found in the document ‘Rules and Regulations for EPFLInnovators

Please see the timeline for the submission, evaluation and selection process for the EPFLinnovators below.

Applications for EPFLinnovators should be submitted via the online submission platform.

The deadline for the submission of applications is (1st call) 15 January 2018 (17:00 hr CET), (2nd call) 16 April 2018 (17:00 hr CET) and 15 January 2019 (17:00 hr CET).

For authentication, use your EPFL computer account if you have one, or otherwise you can create a temporary account. This authentication allows you to return to the form to complete it or to observe the status of your candidacy. The electronic submission form makes it possible to enter the data necessary for the application and to upload the required documents.

The following information should be submitted :

a) Indication of application to EPFLinnovators programme by ticking the dedicated box on the online platform
b) Personal details and academic background (curriculum vitae)
c) Selection of the doctoral program you wish to apply to
d) Three (3) reference letters (submitted online by the referees)
e) A pdf version of the following documents:
  • Official transcripts of diplomas and grades from all academic institutions of higher education listed in the application (after and not including high-school)
  • Certified translations of diplomas and grades into English if not originally in French, German, Italian or English.
  • Statement of objectives of maximum 2 pages which clearly explains the candidate’s motivation for the EPFLinnovators programme
  • A copy of passport or official identity document showing full name

Once you have uploaded all these documents and confirmed all the details you have provided, you will be asked to complete and submit your application by validating it.

Applications cannot be updated after the submission.

After the deadline, the doctoral programme committees (to which the candidates applied) verify the eligibility criteria, evaluate the applicant’s level of excellence and decide, based on a scoring system, on the admissibility of the candidate to their respective doctoral programme. A shortlist of the highest ranked applicants from all doctoral programmes are then proposed to EPFL laboratories for the candidate-project matching phase.

Thesis directors interested in supervising an EPFLinnovators fellow contact the candidate and conduct an interview with her/him, with the potential co-director from the non-academic sector.

All successful candidate-project matches are then submitted to the Intersectoral Excellence committee (IEC). The IEC makes a final ranking and, with the approval of the President of the IEC, prepares the final selection of the best candidates.

The Office of the Programme informs the candidates on the outcome of their application in May 2018 (call 1), August 2018 (call 2) and July 2019 (call 3).

Evaluation criteria

Applications will be assessed against criteria addressing the candidate’s ability and commitment to research, the quality of the project proposal, the quality and the degree of involvement of the non-academic partner, as well as the synergy between the research proposed and the profile of the candidate. Each candidate’s merits will be judged quantitatively as well as qualitatively. Detailed information on the evaluation criteria is also given in the document ’Rules and Regulations for EPFLinnovators’.

Both the doctoral programme committees and individual reviewers, members of the Intersectoral Excellence Committee (IEC) are asked to peer review the applications – within the guidelines of integrity of peer review, described in the ‘Directive concerning research integrity and good scientific practice at EPFL’ and to score the candidates measured by the following selection criteria.

In May 2018 (call 1), August 2018 (call 2) and July 2019 (call 3), the Office of the Programme informs the candidates on the outcome of their application. For more details, see the timeline.

The selected candidates can start immediately after they have received the decision letter and the formal requirements for their contract have been organized. EPFLinnovators should start at the latest on 1st December 2019.

EPFLinnovators should provide each year an annual report on the progress of their work to their thesis director, according to the regulations of their doctoral programme to which they are affiliated, as well as to the Office of the Programme. Templates for the annual report can be obtained from the doctoral programme’s administration.

The fellowship consists of a monthly contribution of 1’855 Euro to the salary of the PhD candidate at EPFL. The remaining part of the salary is provided by the thesis director, in compliance with the EPFL general salary scale for doctoral students. Co-funding cannot come from projects requiring time keeping.

The duration of an EPFLinnovators fellowship is 48 months and cannot be prolonged. Employment after the initially granted time must be financed from other sources.

  • Rebuttal period

All candidates have the right to a rebuttal procedure if they feel that there has been a shortcoming in the way their candidacy was evaluated and that this shortcoming affected the results of eligibility checks or the final decision. This procedure is not intended to call into question the scientific judgement of the external reviewers or the assessment by the IEC, but to address failings in the evaluation process.

A written request for rebuttal must be submitted within 30 days from the decision date to the Office of the Programme. The rebuttal request will be reviewed by the Office of the Programme to ensure that it concerns a procedural shortcoming rather than a judgement on the scientific evaluation conducted by the experts. If the rebuttal request is valid, it will be transferred to the IEC for further review and decision.

The candidate will be informed of the outcome of her/his rebuttal request within six weeks after the reception of his request by the Office of the Programme. Only one request for rebuttal per proposal will be considered. All requests for rebuttal will be treated confidentially.

Read the answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions

Funded by
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 754354.


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