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Impact of Covid-19 on the Swiss Academic Job Market in the Social Sciences and Humanities

Currently, the academic job market does not seem to have been severely affected by the Covid-19 crisis. Early-career academic positions continue to be advertised by universities and research institutions.

Responses adopted by the Government and the National Funding Agency

  • The federal government set up the Swiss National Covid-19 Science Task Force to act as a scientific advisory body to the political authorities during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Task Force comprises an advisory panel and ten topic-based expert groups made up of professors from a wide range of Swiss higher education institutions and other institutions. Among other themes, they tackle legal, social, political and economic issues.
    See https://ncs-tf.ch/de/themen-expertengruppen

    No information on special subsidies for the Higher Education sector has been found.

Responses adopted by the Universities

Hiring freezes

  • 'ETH Professors must adjust their financial planning to the current situation. Delays resulting in additional costs will occur frequently. On the other hand, new employments are currently suspended. The next possible entry dates have been postponed to 1 July (EU/EFTA) and 1 October 2020 (third countries), respectively. Material costs may be saved. Moreover, even under normal operations the duration of a research project is usually not coextensive with the duration of funding. Professors can counteract by using their basic budgets' [1]

No further information on hiring freezes/furloughs/ pay cuts has been found.

[1] The Directive on the handling of Corona-related financing gaps in research projects with third-party funding (hardship regulations)

Impact on current ongoing research projects

The realisation of current ongoing research projects does not seem to be affected by Covid, the universities apply flexible policies: 

  • University of Basel:
    possibility of extension of postdoctoral studies/employment to be consulted individually. https://www.unibas.ch/en/News-Events/Coronavirus/For-employees.html

  • University of Geneva:
    possibility to request an extension of fixed-term employment contract or fellowship for teaching and research staff (CCER), applicable to doctoral students, postdoctoral researchers, senior assistants or recipients of a federal excellence scholarship. See https://memento.unige.ch/doc/0335 (in French)

  • For projects funded by SNSF (Swiss National Science Foundation) ending before 31 December 2020, a cost-neutral extension can be requested. If funds are not sufficient to cover the extension period, ECRs can apply for an additional contribution of two months.
    For projects ending after 31 December 2020, an application for a cost-neutral extension can be applied two to four months before the end of the project.
    More information

Special funding for research on COVID-19

Open calls for postdoctoral fellowships

In general, there is no information on cancellation of postdoctoral programmes due to Covid-19.
For example, applications are accepted for:

Other useful sources/databases

Collection of links to information on coronavirus generally and with regard to academia/research in particular, in German:

Page last updated on 04 August 2020