ENAC Cluster Grants 2020

The aim of this grant is to foster new interdisciplinary research collaborations within the new ENAC clusters. This first call supports initiatives of early career researchers who are developing promising research topics addressing the challenges imposed by rapid environmental changes. The focus is on projects or ideas that need a first seed money to launch larger projects by developing new interdisciplinary collaboration within ENAC.

Topical focus of the call

The projects should address research questions within the clusters “Digitalization of infrastructure and cities” or “Sustainable territories”. A call for projects related to the cluster “climate change anticipation, mitigation and adaptation” in partnership with UNIL will follow.

The era of digitalization will provide a heretofore-unseen amount of data with a large potential for ENAC’s activities. Digitalization tools will provide new ways of designing, constructing and sensing infrastructure and buildings (e.g. smart cities). The latter are the backbone of any society and, due to the significant resources required to build, operate, maintain, modify and deconstruct them, a key factor in the transition towards a sustainable and resource-efficient society (see detailed description in proposal documents).

Cities generate 80% of the world’s GDP and CO2 emissions while consuming 75% of its resources, thus creating major opportunities for improving sustainability. Today’s cities are composed of intertwined systems involving stocks and flows of energy, information, materials, goods and people. Cities are undergoing rapid transformations in their composition and organization, triggered by the pervasiveness of technologies and the development of the sharing economy. Facing these rapid transformations, social cohesion and quality of life raise as fundamental challenge for the future of cities. Addressing these issues implies a renewing of our understanding of the city and the territory by adopting a system-of-systems approach. Considering city as a system-of-systems aims to develop a holistic vision of urban system by integrating the interdependencies of the mobility of people and goods, energy production and efficiency, urban planning, urban ecology and urban metabolism (see detailed description in proposal documents).

Who can apply for funding / who can be Principal Investigator (PI)?

ENAC early career researchers, such as PhD students, postdocs, scientific collaborators


50k CHF (without contribution of the labs) 
100k CHF (including 30% contribution by the labs)

Conditions for applying
  • At least 2 labs from 2 different ENAC institutes involved (1 PI per involved lab)
  • Support letters by the lab directors are required
  • PIs must be employees at ENAC
  • PIs can be involved in only 1 proposal
Evaluation criteria
  1. Unconventionality, originality and innovative aspect of the project
  2. Added value of the interdisciplinary collaboration
  3. Scientific quality
  4. Impact of the project and policy relevance
  5. Continued research funding strategy
Which type of expenditures can be covered ?
  • Salary costs (e.g. Postdocs, students), also for PIs
  • Operational costs (e.g. travel costs, invitation of experts, etc.)
  • Consumables, small equipment, software, etc.
Allocation of funds
  • The funds will be transferred annually after receiving a short report outlining the project progress and actual expenses
Selection process

All proposals will be blind-reviewed by two external experts. A committee composed of the following people will make the final decision: ENAC Dean, ENAC Associate Deans and one professor per ENAC institute

Project duration
  • 1 year up to 1 1/2 years
  • Submission deadline: 15 August 2020
  • Selection: September 2020
  • Project start: 1 October 2020
  • Project end: 31 March 2022 (at the latest)

Proposals should be submitted by 15 August 2020
to [email protected]

If you have questions, please write to: 
[email protected]