The SAMS and the Swiss National Science Foundation, with the support of private foundations and in collaboration with the Swiss School of Public Health, award each year since 1992 a limited number of competitive individual MD-PhD grants. The aim of the program is to equip medical doctors interested in research with the skills necessary for a career as clinician and scientist.
MD-PhD grants enable particularly talented young physicians to complete a doctoral research training in natural sciences, public health sciences, clinical research or biomedical ethics at a Swiss university. Grants can be awarded for a minimum of 2 to a maximum of 3 years. The synopsis (see below) gives an overview of grantees.
Applicants must have successfully completed their studies in human, veterinary or dental medicine and be admitted as doctoral students in one of the local MD-PhD programs associated with the National Grants Program by the time of the grant start. They must have been residents of Switzerland for at least 2 years by the submission deadline. Complete participation requirements and evaluation criteria are described in the program regulations (revised in October 2022).
The evaluation, based on the National MD-PhD Grants Program regulations, takes place in two phases: the first selection is made by the local MD-PhD Commissions associated with the national grants program. Preselected applicants are then evaluated by and invited to an interview with the National MD-PhD Evaluation Committee which makes a funding recommendation to the program funders.
Submission of applications
Applications, written in English using the SAMS application form, must be sent to the local MD-PhD commission at which the applicant is or intends to be matriculated as doctoral student. Contact details of the local commissions associated with the National Grants Program can be found here: Local MD-PhD Commissions.
Next submission deadline: 15 December 2023
Interviews with the National MD-PhD Evaluation Committee: 14 May 2024 (invitation only)
Earliest start of the grant: 1 September 2024
Funders involved in the program
in alphabetical order
Monique Dornonville de la Cour Foundation (MDC)
Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences (SAMS)
Swiss Cancer Research (KFS)
Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)
Synapsis Foundation Switzerland (SSS)
Théodore Ott Fund (SAMS)
Zinkernagel Research Foundation (FSZ)
The Swiss School of Public Health provides ideational support to the national grants program.
Future of the program as of 2025
The SNSF, co-owner of the program with the SAMS, has announced its withdrawal as of 2025 to focus its portfolio on the postdoctoral level. The SAMS very much regrets this decision.
As selective instrument and seal of scientific quality, the national program contributes to the attractivity and visibility of the MD-PhD career track. Feedback from practice confirms the importance of individual funding to motivate talented young physicians to engage in research and to acquire a solid scientific foundation early on in their career.
The SAMS is further convinced that MD-PhD profiles, who are capable of bridging the gap between experimental research, patient-oriented research and clinical practice, are essential to deal with the increasing complexity of medicine.
While the program benefits from the valuable support of several partners, the SNSF finances more than half of the available grants. And it is, along with the SAMS, the only one to do so in all disciplines. Having no budget to replace this contribution, the SAMS has started to approach potential partners to avoid that the SNSF withdrawal means the end of the program as of 2025.
Foundations interested in supporting the National MD-PhD Grants Program are invited to contact the SAMS General Secretariat. Funding of the grants awarded until mid 2024 according to the current framework is ensured.