Who is eligible for funding?

The main applicant and co-applicants need to be employed as PI/Group leader (or similar) for the entire duration of the project at a Swiss higher education institution (ETH-Domain, Universities, Universities of Applied Sciences), University Hospitals in Switzerland.


The main applicant is responsible for corresponding with SPHN and for setting up and managing the consortium (i.e. co-applicants and/or associated applicants) for his/her proposal (if applicable).


Associated applicants are employed at other research institutions (e.g. SIB, CSEM) and/or hospitals (e.g. cantonal hospital), and make a partial contribution to a project without taking responsibility for it.


Foreign reseach groups, other publicly funded institutions (e.g. eHealth Suisse, FOPH) and private entities can also act as associated applicants but must cover their own costs.

Are cost-neutral extensions of grants possible?

At the grantee’s request, SPHN may exceptionally extend the grant by a maximum of 12 months without provision of additional funding.

The extension must be requested before expiry of the grant period and requires a written justification.

Is it possible to include research groups located in a foreign country?

Under certain circumstances (e.g. no Swiss research group can provide the respective know-how), it is possible to include research groups located in a foreign country as associated applicants.


However, associated applicants located in countries outside of Switzerland are not eligible to receive SPHN funding and must cover their own costs.

Is it possible to include publicly funded institutions (e.g. cantonal or federal offices)?

Collaboration with publicly funded institutions which are not research institutions or hospitals (e.g. e-Health Suisse, FOPH) is possible. They should be listed as associated applicants. However, they are not eligible for SPHN funding and must cover their own costs.

Is it possible to include for-profit organizations as associated applicants?

For-profit organizations may participate as associated applicants.


However, they must cover their efforts with their own resources and provide written guarantee that:

  • their data and published results are accessible at all times without restrictions;
  • no commercial use is envisaged on the basis of this collaboration.
Who should provide a host institution commitment letter? Who should sign the letter?

A host commitment letter must be provided by the host institution management for each applicant (main applicant, co-applicants, and associated applicants) who requests funding from SPHN.


In the case that several applicants from the same institution are part of the same project proposal, the host institutions may provide one host commitment letter that covers the total amount requested by its applicants (example).


The letter should be signed by a person who is authorised to sign research grants/contracts at your institution (Authorised Legal Signatory for Research Contracts). Depending on your institutional bylaws, it can be the Dean, the Vice-Rector/Vice-President or the Head of the Grants Office.

Is there a maximum number of applicants that is allowed for a Driver Project, or a number range that is recommended?

Driver projects should involve the relevant medical/scientific/technological centres in the field. However, only applicants whose knowledge and expertise is necessary to the project should be included in the proposal.  


The SPHN call does not specify a maximum number of co-applicants. However, in alignment with the PHRT call for PM/PH research projects (see https://www.sfa-phrt.ch/about), such consortia are typically composed of 2-6 applicants.

Are joint SPHN-PHRT proposal also possible for infrastructure development projects or only for driver projects?

Yes, joint SPHN-PHRT proposals can also be submitted for infrastructure development projects.

Can each associated applicant request 20% of the total funding requested from SPHN or does the maximum of 20% refer to the associated applicants altogether ?

The funding requested for all associated applicants together should not exceed 20% of the total amount requested from SPHN.

Can I request funding for the generation/creation of health-related data (e.g. –omics data, images etc.)

Yes, but only if it is necessary to reach the primary goals of the SPHN initiative (e.g. interoperability). This limitation, however, only concerns funding through SPHN.


In case of a joint SPHN-PHRT project, the ETH SFA PHRT explicitly invites large scale data generation (www.sfa-phrt.ch). Projects should therefore collaborate with PHRT for large scale data generation. However, only ETH Domain research groups are eligible for PHRT funding. 

What are the rules for matching contributions?

Any contribution can be considered as matching fund. Although the composition of the contribution is not specified, usually a 50% cash-50% in-kind contribution is preferable. 


Only funds, which are transferred by the host institution to an account/credit line administered by the applicant are to be considered as cash contributions


“In kind” contributions are non-monetary resources, goods or services that are provided by the host institution for the project (e.g. salaries, costs for large or specific equipment). In kind contributions are valued in monetary terms.

What is the CV format?

Each applicant should provide a CV (max. 2 pages; see SNSF guidelines) and a publication list over the past 5 years.


Main achievements should be described in Part B (Section 2) under "International standing/track record of all applicants in their field of research and technology (max. 3 pages in total)".

How should I submit an application for a joint SPHN-PHRT project?

  1. Please submit only one single application file (as PDF or zip) with one common project plan (20 pages max).
  2. For creating the application, applicants can use either the SPHN or the PHRT template for the administrative and research part of the proposal. For the Part C (Project resources), applicants are requested to fill in both detailed budget templates (.xls) in order to specify the amount of contribution requested from PHRT and SPHN respectively.
  3. A host commitment letter has to be provided to SPHN, only if applicants (main- OR co- OR associated applicants) request funding from SPHN (which then also needs to be matched). In the case of a joint SPHN-PHRT project, an applicant requesting funds from PHRT but not from SPHN, does not have to submit a host commitment letter from the ETH-Domain institution.
  4. Please submit the same application to both programs by 15 September (CET 17h00): for SPHN via the online system and to PHRT via email.