Who can apply for a beginner grant?
The main target group of the YTCR program are residents (Assistenzärztinnen and -ärzte, médecins assistant.e.s) who have a strong interest in and motivation for clinical research, and lack substantial experience in clinical research. A beginner grant funds protected time for research, which allows junior medical doctors to make their first steps in patient-oriented research as they are freed from clinical duties for a desired work percentage during the grant period. Candidates can apply up to 5 years after obtaining their medical degree (the YTCR submission deadline is the reference point). Exceptions to the eligibility window can be requested based on a well-documented reason, such as a maternity leave, if the applicant's profile still matches that of the main target group of the program and his or her career prospects in academic medicine are considered intact.
Can one apply for a beginner grant while already having a scientific track record?
Applicants who have shown an early interest and gathered experience in clinical research during their basic medical education (undergraduate medical studies and/or MD thesis) are considered beginners and belong to the main target group of the YTCR program, even if they have a scientific track record resulting from this period. Similarly, applicants who have experience in basic research and fulfil the participation criteria defined in the regulations belong to the main target group of the program, as long as they apply for a beginner grant to start out in clinical research. By contrast, applicants who have been actively involved in clinical research during their postgraduate training period (except for the MD thesis) no longer belong to the main target group of the program.
Can one apply for a beginner grant to realize a PhD or MD-PhD?
PhD and MD-PhD students in clinical research are not eligible to apply for the YTCR program. They need to be supported by other funding schemes.
Can one apply for a beginner grant to realize a MD thesis?
Applicants requesting support to realize their MD thesis during or directly after their undergraduate medical studies do not belong to the main target group of the program and are not eligible for support.
Who can apply for a project grant?
Only recipients of a YTCR grant can apply for a project grant. Recipients of other types of grants or fellowships are not eligible to apply for project funding within the YTCR program.
Recipients of a YTCR beginner grant who were supported during the funding period 2017-2020 and are PhD/MD-PhD students can apply for a project grant provided that the proposed project serves to broaden their research skills and is not a mere continuation of the beginner grant.
Can one apply for a beginner grant and for a project grant at the same time?
The program is conceived in two consecutive steps; as such, applicants cannot apply for both grant types at the same time: Young medical doctors can start out in clinical research with a beginner grant guaranteeing them protected research time. Interested beginner grant recipients can apply for a project grant to consolidate the acquired research skills during two additional years.
What is the earliest and latest possible start date of a grant?
For the 2023 call, beginner grants can start on 1 January 2024 at the earliest. The latest possible start date of the grant is 1 January 2025.
Project grants usually start immediately after the end of the beginner grant. The start of the grant can be postponed by a few months if the reasons for this delay are well justified in the application.
In what language must applications be submitted?
Applications and all requested documents must be submitted in English.
What types of clinical research are eligible for support?
Clinical research is defined here as research involving humans (patients and healthy people) as well as research on the causes and consequences of disease involving material of human origin and health-related personal data that aim to improve the prevention, diagnosis, cure, and care of diseases. The research fields eligible for support include quality-controlled scientific investigations on human physiology, pathophysiology or disease; epidemiologic and behavioral studies; outcomes or health services research; studies on the development of new technologies; and clinical trials.
What is expected from the mentor and from the host clinic?
The mentor must guarantee in a written confirmation 1) personal supervision of the grantee, 2) integration into the research activities of the host institution, and 3) access to the necessary infrastructure for the entire duration of the grant. The amount of financial support offered (consumables, etc.) must also be specified. In addition, the mentor is expected to comment on the project and to provide a position or funding options to support the applicant beyond the grant period for his or her next career steps.
The clinic director must guarantee in a binding letter that the requested research time will be freed up from clinical activities during the entire support period. For project grants, the portion of the salary reserved for research must additionally be confirmed in writing by the host institution.
How much time must be reserved for research during the grant period?
For beginner grants, applicants can request the amount of protected time that best fits their research project and career objectives within the CHF 75’000 that can be awarded, in agreement with their mentor and the clinic director. The percentage of salary reserved for research and the corresponding requested amount must be specified in the budget. The amount granted covers research activities, including the social contribution of the employer, and depends on the local salary range of each host institution. This must be clarified by the applicant before the submission of the application.
For project grants, the percentage of protected research time with the corresponding salary must be defined in the application and guaranteed by the host institution. The planned percentage of protected time must be realistic to attain the objectives of the research plan.
What kind of costs can be covered by a beginner grant?
A beginner grant covers the portion of the main applicant's salary reserved for research activities during the support period. The host institution must cover the direct research costs for consumables and equipment as well as training, conference, and publication fees.
What kind of costs can be covered by a project grant?
A project grant covers the direct research costs necessary to realize the project (costs for consumables, equipment, etc.). The salary of the main applicant reserved for research during the grant period must be covered by the host institution. A project grant is attributed ad personam, allowing the grantee to consolidate the research experience gained during the beginner grant period. The grant is thus not intended to employ another researcher to realize the proposed project.
What is expected in terms of theoretical training during the grant?
Grantees are expected to gain basic knowledge in clinical research during the support period. They are encouraged to attend courses that best fit their clinical specialty and career objectives, offered for instance by the CTU network. The type of courses that they plan to attend and the expected degree must be specified in the application.