Frequently Asked Questions


Do we have to upload a document to explain each budget line?

No, there is no need to upload a specific document to explain each budget line. Planned expenses must be described in the detailed research proposal.

In the budget calculator, why are there different columns for the personnel employed by the applicant based in Africa and by the EPFL co-applicant?

Personnel employed on the research project (PhD students, postdocs and other employees) must be hired either at the African host institution or at EPFL (personnel cannot be “shared” between institutions). The institutions are responsible for the personnel that they employ (establishment of contracts, social security, etc.). There are different columns in the budget calculator to allow the EXAF team to verify that the total amount for the EPFL personnel is below the maximum of CHF 210,000 and that the budgeted costs are in line with standard practises at EPFL and the host institution.

Please, note that hiring personnel at EPFL on the EXAF JFD project is not mandatory (the budget for the personnel employed at EPFL can be from 0 to 210,000).

I have a problem with the budget, which I cannot solve because the document is protected. What can I do?

The file is protected to ensure that budgets are coherently uploaded. You can copy/paste cells, but please do not click and drag cells to avoid problems with the automatic calculation.

If you experience any problem, please contact us: [email protected] 

We will be happy to solve your problem.

Are the expenses devoted to the betterment of the host institution included in the maximum budget (CHF 720,000)?

Yes, the amount aimed at the betterment of the host institution is included in the maximum budget (720,000 CHF). A maximum of CHF 20,000 per year can be dedicated to the betterment of the Junior Faculty grantee’s host institution.


Project for the betterment of the host institution

What kind of projects can be funded with the amount dedicated to the betterment of the host institution?

Very different projects can be imagined such as the development of a new analytical centre, the creation of a living lab, the elaboration of a new course or new series of practical exercises, or the renovation of teaching rooms. They should benefit the host institution at large and somehow be linked to the JFD research project (even remotely).

It is important that the funds available for the betterment of the host institution are dedicated to well-defined, auditable and tangible expenses. Please, note that the nature of the project and its cost-efficiency will be part of the selection criteria. Based on the objectives of the programme, projects that have a long-term positive impact on the whole institution are favoured.

For the betterment of my host institution, I was planning to build and equip a new laboratory room. In this case, is it possible to spend CHF 100,000 in one year rather than 20,000 per year for 5 years? In other words, is there some flexibility regarding the limit of CHF 20,000 per year?

 Yes, it is possible to spend the amount dedicated to the betterment of the host institution in one year. However, we need guarantees that the project is sustainable and that the overall EXAF project will continue after the achievement of the betterment project. For this reason, it is advised to plan such an expense from the second year of the project onwards (i.e., not in year 1). All details will subsequently be specified in the project contract agreement.



Can the personnel employed by the host institution complete a secondment in the laboratory of the EPFL professor?

Yes, but according to our guidelines, only the applicant can receive a living allowance for this secondment. On the other hand, the personnel employed at the host institution can attend conferences and workshops at EPFL or participate in short visits at the laboratory of the EPFL professor. Similarly, short visits at the laboratory of the professor based in Africa are possible for EPFL personnel. For such cases, planned expenses (including daily living costs) must be indicated in the budget line “travel, conference and workshop”.


Data Management Plan

I have a few questions regarding the Data Management Plan (DMP). Could you please give me more details? For instance, what is the purpose of this plan? Which level of details must be included in it? Finally, can we change the strategy described in the DMP after the beginning of the research project?

The data that you will generate as part of the EXAF-JFD programme is valuable, and the main purpose of a DMP is to ensure that your data is safe and accessible in the future. More specifically, the objectives of a DMP are:

  • To prevent data losses or stealing
  • To set up standardized procedures and good practices enabling any collaborators (at the Africa host institution and at EPFL) to work on the project
  • To estimate your technical and financial needs in terms of data management resources (servers, clouds, external hard drives, software, etc.)
  • To allow data to be easily reused for a future project

Depending on your research domain, you can decide to implement diverse data management strategies, and different levels of details must be described in the sections of your DMP. It’s important that the applicant based in Africa and the EPFL co-applicant(s) collaboratively design the DMP. EPFL co-applicants are kindly requested to share their expertise, if they have already completed such a DMP for another call for proposals.

The DMP will help you to plan your data strategy ahead of your project in order to anticipate your needs in terms of resources (servers, hard drives, data curation and preservation, softwares, etc.) and good practices (standardized documentation, metadata collection, naming convention, data security, open science, regular back-up, etc.). Once your DMP is created, you will be able to estimate the data management costs of your project and include it, if necessary, in your proposal.

Please note that you can adapt your DMP during the entire lifetime of the EXAF-JFD project. We kindly remain at disposal to assist you with the creation or the adaptation of your DMP.

For more information: Library_SNSF_DMP_Template