2022 Branco Weiss Fellowship

January 15, 2022

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Fellowship & Research PostDOC

Location (s):

  • Worldwide


The Branco Weiss Fellowship is a worldwide fellowship program, founded in 2002 and coordinated by ETH Zurich. It provides a platform for exceptionally qualified researchers from all disciplines demonstrating a willingness to engage in a dialogue on relevant social, cultural, political, or economic issues across the frontiers of their particular discipline. The fellowship is international and transdisciplinary in nature.


A Branco Weiss Fellow is expected to work on a research project, which blazes new trails and profits from the unique freedom offered by the fellowship. A successful fellow also demon- strates the willingness to engage in a dialogue on relevant social, cultural, political, or economic issues across the frontiers of their particular discipline.

Branco Weiss Fellows belong to a diverse, dedicated, and intellectually stimulating group. They meet at least once a year to present and discuss their research projects.

The fellowship is financed by the late Swiss entrepreneur Dr. Branco Weiss and administered as a fund by ETH Zurich. The directors of the program, responsible for all scientific and operational aspects, are Heidi Wunderli-Allenspach, Rector at ETH Zurich (2007 to 2012) and former Full Professor for Biopharmacy at ETH Zurich; Angelika Steger, full professor of Computer Science at ETH Zurich; and Josef Zeyer, former full professor of Environmental Microbiology at the Institute of Biogeochemistry and Pollutant Dynamics at ETH Zurich. They are supported by additional faculty members of ETH Zurich to evaluate applications and conduct interviews with short-listed applicants.

The Branco Weiss Fellowship is domiciled and run by ETH Zurich. Founded in 1855 and located in the heart of Europe, ETH Zurich stands for world-class scientific experience, research for the benefit of society and industry, and the training of highly skilled professionals. A total of 21 Nobel Prize Laureates studied, taught, or carried out their research at ETH Zurich. Transferring knowledge from the university to the worlds of business, society, and politics is one of the strategic goals of ETH Zurich – equally important are first-rate education, excellent research, and maintaining a strong international network. The Branco Weiss Fellowship is just one of the means to achieve these ambitious goals.


Research projects should be conceived to last five years.

The first two years of a project are called the pioneer phase. At the end of the pioneer phase, a review and a site visit will be conducted. At this point, the project, its continued originality, and the productivity of the fellow will be evaluated. If the results of the evaluation and site visit are satisfactory, the fellow enters the exploitation phase for the remaining three years of the fellowship.

Branco Weiss Fellows are encouraged to seek faculty positions during their exploitation phase. Assuming an academic position will not result in termination of the fellowship.

How to Apply

Candidates that present an unusual research project that departs from the mainstream and that have a remarkable track record will be short-listed and could emerge from the annual selection process with an award for the prestigious grant.

Apply with a groundbreaking research idea to secure financial support for up to five years, working at an academic institution of your choice anywhere in the world.

If you are interested to apply for the 2022 fellowship you will need to have the following material and information for your online application starting October 2021:

  • Letter of motivation including a statement explaining why your research differs from the mainstream (max. 1 page)
  • Your proposed research project (max. 4 pages, including abstract, timelines and tentative milestones, references extra)
  • Your CV (max. 4 pages)
  • An invitation letter by your prospective host, stating why you are invited to the host group and why your research project is supported
  • Copies of your three best publications (no doctoral theses, no books, only peer-reviewed journal articles or individual book chapters)
  • Application overview (pdf download), including reasons why you believe that you are a perfect candidate for a Branco Weiss Fellowship (max. 1,000 characters)

Please note that letters of support do not have to be submitted upon application. Budgets do not have to be submitted.

In preparing the description of your intended research, you may wish to give emphasis to the idea or concept forming the heart of the work, the methods you are planning to use, and the potential impact of the outcome both for your own subject and for other disciplines. In your proposal, you should also seek to present links between society and science that you wish to explore and promote.

All documents must be submitted as PDF files (max. 15 MB in total). Please use the following naming conventions for your documents and do not forget to add your family name:

  • FamilyName_ApplicationOverview
  • FamilyName_ResearchProposal
  • FamilyName _CV
  • FamilyName _MotivationLetter
  • FamilyName _HostLetter
  • FamilyName _Publication1
  • FamilyName _Publication2
  • FamilyName _Publication3

Opportunity is About:


Candidates should be from:

Description of Ideal Candidate:

The Branco Weiss Fellowship is designed to support postdoctoral researchers after their PhD and before their first faculty appointment. Those in current postdoctoral positions are also eligible.

The ideal applicant has the competencies to design a surprisingly novel and scientifically rigorous research project which blazes new trails, profiting from the freedom uniquely offered by the fellowship.

You are eligible for the 2022 campaign if:

  • You officially hold a PhD on January 15, 2022
  • You have obtained your PhD a maximum of five years prior to January 15, 2022
  • You do not hold or have held a faculty-equivalent position (e.g. assistant professor or lecturer)
  • Your project departs from the mainstream of research in your discipline
  • You have a record of outstanding scientific achievement
  • You demonstrate in the proposal a willingness to engage in a dialogue on relevant social, cultural, political or economic issues across the frontiers of your particular discipline

If you have applied before and were not selected, you are welcome to apply again.

The following reasons for delays after attaining your PhD are acceptable:

  • parental leave (max. one year per child)
  • inability to work due to illness or accident

Applicants must explain their reasons for applying for an extension and provide the relevant documents. The number of weeks that the research work was interrupted is accepted as an extension.


Deadline: January 15, 2022

Cost/funding for participants:

  • Ten fellowships each year.
  • A Branco Weiss Fellowship consists of CHF 100,000 per year.
  • It may be used to cover all legitimate costs of research (i.e. salary and/ or equipment, travel expenses, consumables, personnel, etc.).
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