EPFL Science Seed Fund

EPFL 2017 – Alain Herzog

EPFL Science Seed Fund

One of the EPFL missions is to foster outstanding scientific research. World-changing discoveries have often involved the collaboration of scientists working in different research areas. Through its open organization and culture, EPFL encourages scientists to meet, discuss, and come up with new ideas at the crossroads of their research fields and disciplines.

Limited access to campus since mid-March 2020, however, has slowed down interactions and scientific exchanges between EPFL scientists. In order to restore scientific exchange and encourage new collaborations, the EPFL Presidency has decided to dedicate funds in 2022 to a Science Seed Fund.

The call for proposals is now open, with a deadline set on Thursday 30 September 2021 (17:00 CEST).

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The EPFL Science Seed Fund is intended to support projects that explicitly need a cross-expertise approach and that are high risk/high gain in nature. This fund is thus designed to foster novel collaborative research efforts, which will explore new ideas and concepts, cross-fertilizing different foci of research.

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Eligibility criteria
  • Applications must involve at least two investigators from two different EPFL research groups.
  • Applicants must be employed as professors or senior scientists (maîtres d’enseignement et de recherche – MERs) at EPFL for the full duration of the project.
  • Adjunct professors (“professeurs titulaires”) and MERs who are not financially independent must include a letter of commitment from their host professor or head of unit.
  • Applicants may only submit one application as either responsible applicants or co-applicants, and they may only apply for the 2021 EPFL Science Seed Fund or the 2021 EPFL Platform Technical Advancement Seed Fund.
  • The same consortium cannot submit the same idea to more than one of the following 2021 EPFL-wide calls: ECI Call for Interdisciplinary Imaging Projects and EPFL Science Seed Fund.
  • Applicants may not be part of the evaluation committee of the EPFL Science Seed Fund.


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Available funding

Applicants may request up to CHF 200’000.- per project for two-year projects. Eligible costs include and are limited to:

  • Personnel costs for personnel specifically hired to work on the project
  • Equipment
  • Research funds: i.e., consumables, direct costs of infrastructure use, open research data costs, open access publication costs, expenses of third parties (maximum 10% of the requested amount) as well as travel, conference, and workshop costs

Applicants must jointly provide an additional 25% contribution in cash from either their own resources (preferably reserves or, if not available, annual budget) and/or the deans’ reserves. Applicants who intend to request a contribution from their dean must contact their dean’s office before 31 August 2021 in order to obtain the letter of financial commitment from the dean that is required as part of the application.

No overheads shall be paid on the direct costs of the EPFL Science Seed Fund projects.

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How to apply

Please read carefully the application guidelines.

All required documents must be submitted via the online submission platform.

All documents must be submitted in English.

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Application deadline

The application deadline is Thursday 30 September 2021 (17:00 CEST).

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Selection process

Each application will be evaluated by three external experts based on criteria of excellence, impact, and implementation. The final decision will be made by a committee chaired by Anna Fontcuberta i Morral and Ambrogio Fasoli and also comprising professors from other Swiss universities.

Decisions will be announced in January 2022, and granted applicants will have to start their project within six months of the notice of the award, i.e., on 1 August 2022 at the latest.


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