SAMS » Funding » Young Talents in Clinical Research » FAQ

These FAQ apply to the YTCR 2022 call

Who can apply for a beginner grant?

The main target group of the YTCR program are residents (Assistenzärztinnen/-ärzte/médecins assistant.e.s) who have a strong interest and motivation for, but no substantial experience of, clinical research so far. Thanks to a beginner grant, which funds protected time for research, junior medical doctors can be freed from clinical duty for the desired percentage of work during the grant period, allowing them to take their first steps in patient-oriented research. 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, e.g. due to a maternity leave or another well documented reason, can be requested if the profile of the applicant still corresponds to the main target group of the program and her/his career prospects in academic medicine are considered as intact.


Can one apply for a beginner grant while already having a scientific track record?

Applicants who have shown an early interest for and have been involved in clinical research during their basic medical education (undergraduate medical studies and/or MD thesis) are considered as beginners and do 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 fulfil the participation criteria of the regulations and have previous experience in basic research do 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 mentioned above) do not belong to the main target group of the program anymore.


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?

Project grants can only be requested by recipients of a YTCR beginner 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 it 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 and applicants cannot apply for both types of support at the same time: Young medical doctors can start out in clinical research thanks to a beginner grant guaranteeing them protected time for research. Interested grantees then have the possibility to apply for a project grant to consolidate the acquired research skills during the next two years.


What is the earliest and latest possible start date of a grant?

For the 2022 call, beginner grants can start on 1 January 2023 at the earliest. The start of the grant can be postponed for up to 12 months, i.e. until 1 January 2024 at the latest.


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 well justified in the application.


In what language must applications be submitted?

Applications and all requested documents must be submitted in English.


What type of clinical research is 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 her/his next career steps.


The department responsible of the host clinic 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, in addition, 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, in accordance with their mentor and the department responsible of their clinic, the amount of protected time that best fits their research project and career objectives within the CHF 75’000.– that can be awarded. The percentage of salary reserved for research and the corresponding requested amount must be specified in the budget submitted with the application. The amount granted to cover research activities, including the social contribution of the employer, depends on the local salary range of each host institution and must be clarified by the applicant before the submission of the application.


For project grants, the amount of time reserved for research with the corresponding salary must be guaranteed by the host institution and described in the application. 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 (direct research costs for consumables and equipment as well as training fees must be covered by the host institution).


What kind of costs can be covered by a project grant?

A project grant covers the direct research costs necessary to the realization of 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 to the grantee, to consolidate the research experience gained during the beginner grant period. It is thus not meant to hire another researcher to realize the proposed project.


What is expected in term 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, offered e.g. by the CTU network, which best fit their clinical specialty and career objectives. The type of courses that they plan to attend and the expected degree must be specified in the application.




Dr. Sarah Vermij
Scientific coordinator
Tel. +41 31 306 92 79