Interdisciplinary Seed Fund

One of the missions of EPFL is to perform world-class research. Many of the discoveries that have changed the world have involved the collaboration of scientists working in different areas of research. One of the strengths of EPFL is that its open organization and culture bring scientists from its different disciplines, across EPFL’s various Schools and Institutes, to easily meet, discuss – and at times come up with new ideas at the crossroads of their disciplines and research activities.

Current funding schemes make it more of a challenge to secure third-party funding for research projects that are based on interdisciplinary approaches. Often, preliminary proof-of-concept results are required if one is to convince the scientific community of a new approach that goes beyond the state of the art in more than a single discipline.

In order to overcome this barrier and promote the seeding of interdisciplinary approaches of research at EPFL, the EPFL Presidency has decided to dedicate funds in 2020 in the form of an Interdisciplinary Science Seed Fund.


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The EPFL Interdisciplinary Seed Fund will support projects that explicitly need an interdisciplinary approach and that are high-risk/high-gain in nature. This fund will thus be devoted to seeding new collaborative research efforts and demonstrating new concepts cross-fertilizing different areas of research.

The funding should be used for the launch of new activities.

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Main eligibility criteria
  • Only research entities of EPFL are eligible to apply. This includes research units, platforms and centres.
  • Applicants should be in a position to carry out research projects under their own responsibility and lead project staff both scientifically and as personnel (ex: Professors, MER, etc.)
  • The proposal should involve at least two investigators from two different disciplines. Please refer to the SNSF research disciplines to define if your project respect this criteria.
  • Maximum one project submitted per applicant.
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Available budget

The total requested grant will be in the range of at most CHF 200’000 for each project, the duration of which is max. two years. The associated units altogether are to provide an additional 50% of the total funds requested, divided as follows:

– Minimum half of it (or min. 25% of the total grant requested) should come from applicants themselves (labs, units, institutes, etc.) altogether. Applicants are free to agree between themselves on the amount of their respective own contribution as long as the respective commitment is relatively balanced.

– Maximum half of it (or max. 25% of the total grant requested) could be added by the respective deans upon agreement and should represent a total of max. 25% of the requested budget of each applicant.

– In case the deans would contribute less than 25% of the total grant requested, applicants should increase their own contribution.

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Call deadline

Submission deadline for the 1st call for proposals is December 16, 2019 (12:00 CET).

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Please read carefully all documents available in the application toolkit to prepare your application.

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