Postdoctoral Excellence Programme (PEP)

The Botnar Research Centre for Child Health (BRCCH) supports scientifically outstanding and innovative research to improve the health and well-being of children and adolescents worldwide. 

The BRCCH now launches a new initiative, the Postdoctoral Excellence Programme (PEP),  to foster the next generation of scientific leaders who will conduct interdisciplinary and step-changing research to address critical unmet needs and challenges in global paediatric medicine and health. This Call is open to eligible "Host Principal Investigators" with highly translational and ambitious proposals that they wish to bring to life together with a highly talented and aspiring Postdoctoral Fellow.

Research proposals are required to align with the scope of at least one of the following research focal areas:

BRCCH invites applications from  researchers from its four partner institutions:
University of Basel, ETH Zurich, University Children’s Hospital Basel and Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute. Applications must be led and submitted by a Host Principal Investigator from the partner institutions. Applications must identify a postdoctoral fellow. Projects are expected to be 3 years in duration and supported with up to CHF 350'000 (depending on exact salary range at respective home institution).

Application deadline

Deadline closes on Wednesday January 13th, 2021 @ 17:00 CET. 

How to Apply

An application needs to be submitted by the Host Principal Investigator affiliated with one of the BRCCH partner institutions.  Applications need to submitted online via BRCCH grant application system https://brcch.optimytool.ch/en/.  Applications sent via email or post will not be considered.

You will be prompted to provide the following:

  • Cover page
  • Application including research proposal and budget overview
  • Host / Co-Host Principal Investigator details:
    • CV / biosketch and publications list
    • Letter of Confirmation(s) from institutions of Host PIs and Co-Host PIs
  • Postdoctoral Fellow details:
    • CV and list of publications
    • Three reference letters

Once submitted, you will receive an email confirmation of receipt.

 

Questions?

Check out our FAQs section below.  For further questions, email us at contact@brc.ch or reserve a meeting during our virtual Grant Clinic, happening November 3-4 and December 7-9,  to chat with the BRCCH scientific officers. Please reserve your time slot here.

Download

  • PEP Call Description
  • PEP Application Template
  • Template for Letter of Confirmation

FAQs

APPLICANT REQUIREMENTS

  • Applicants (i.e. Host Principal Investigators) are required to submit an online  application encompassing a detailed research proposal, relevance of the project to the BRCCH and the Call’s scope, strategy plan for translation to the clinic / public health setting within a realistic time frame and importance of the project for LMICs. 
  • Submitted PEP applications need to align closely with at least one of the following research areas as described above:
    • Paediatric Digital Health 
    • Advanced Bioengineering for Paediatric Medicine
    • Essential Paediatric Medical Devices
    • Ethics, Policy and Implementation Research in Paediatric Health
  • Applications must provide a strong rationale for the project’s potential for translation and adoption into medical practice or in a public health setting. 
  • Projects with a clear path to application and implementation in LMICs are of particular interest to the BRCCH. 
  • PEP research projects are intended to be 3-years in duration, with up to 350,000 CHF in funding per award. Research proposals that are less, or more than, 3 years in duration will not be considered.
  • Project funding must be used to support a research project that is intended to be conducted by a postdoctoral fellow. Host Principal Investigators are welcome to consider eligible postdoctoral researchers that are currently located nationally or internationally.
  • Applications need to be submitted by the Host Principal Investigator.
  • PEP funding will be allocated directly to the main Host Principal Investigator to support his/her postdoctoral fellow.  
  • Only applications in which a postdoctoral fellow has already been identified will  be considered for peer-review. 
  • The postdoctoral fellow will be required, for the duration of the PEP project, to be employed directly by the Host Principal Investigator and to hold a primary affiliation with one of the four BRCCH partner institutions (University of Basel, ETH Zurich, UKBB or Swiss TPH). 
  • Collaborative applications involving more than one Host Principal Investigator are possible (e.g. involving a Co-Host Principal Investigator based abroad). However, this is on the condition that the main Host Principal Investigator holds a primary affiliation and in-house research activities within one of the four BRCCH partner institutions. 
  • In cases where research activities are proposed to be conducted abroad, it is essential to clarify the situation with the personnel department of your home institution (social security, accident insurance, etc.) at an early stage. Please contact the HR department responsible for your team.
  • Important note for current BRCCH consortia: Awardees of previous BRCCH research initiatives (i.e. MIP 2019 and FTC Call for COVID-19) are only eligible to submit an application if the aims and context of the proposed work are entirely independent of previously funded projects.

ELIGIBILITY OF APPLICANTS

  • Any senior researcher (e.g., group leader, professor) affiliated at a department at University of Basel, University Hospital of Basel, UKBB and Swiss TPH who can guarantee employment at one of these institutions for the entire duration of the grant.
  • Spin-off companies and members of other affiliated institutions (e.g. Friedrich Miescher Institute) cannot be Host-Investigators but may participate as Co-Host Investigators.
  • Any senior researcher (e.g., group leader, professor) from an ETHZ department who can guarantee employment at ETHZ for the entire duration of the grant.
  • Spin-off companies and members of other affiliated institutions (e.g. EMPA, Paul Scherrer Institute) cannot be Host-Investigators but can participate as Co-Host Investigators.
  • The leading Host PI (e.g., group leader, professor) is required to hold a primary affiliation and in-house research / laboratory activities within one of the four BRCCH partner institutions, University of Basel, ETH Zurich, UKBB and Swiss TPH, for the entire duration of the funding period. PIs affiliated outside of these institutions cannot be considered as a lead host.
  • Non-tenure and tenure-track professors who wish to apply as a leading Host PI are responsible for acquiring a letter of confirmation from their institution that confirms guarantee of their salary and access to the necessary infrastructure for the entire funding period of the PEP grant.
  • An applicant can only submit one application as a leading Host PI. 
  • It is possible for an application to include a Co-Host Principal Investigator (Co-Host PI) who is based in the BRCCH partner institutions or at an external institution (including institutions abroad). 
  • In this case, the research proposal is required to provide detailed information on the aspects of the work that will be conducted within the BRCCH host institution and in the co-hosting institutions, as well as a description of the infrastructure, size and support that will be provided by the co-hosting laboratory based abroad.
  • If an application will involve a research stay abroad for the postdoctoral fellow, it is the sole responsibility of the leading Host PI to clarify the respective requirements (social security, accident insurance, visa requirements etc.) with the human resources department of his/her home institution at an early stage. Please contact the HR department responsible for your research group.
  • Postdoctoral fellows can be resident in Switzerland or abroad prior to the Call.
  • Candidates are required to have a completed doctorate (PhD) or to reach completion within 3 months after notification of awarded funding, or to have completed medical training with a doctorate degree (MD).
  • Postdoctoral fellows that have completed their doctoral degree in the laboratory of the Host / Co-Host Principal Investigator cannot be considered.
  • Fellows are required to have no more than 3 years’ postdoctoral experience in an academic or industry setting by time of notification of awarded funding.
  • For medical researchers, fellows are required to have no more than six years’ experience after the state examination by time of notification of awarded funding.
  • Postdoctoral fellows will be required to hold primary employment within the research group of the leading Host Principal Investigator for the entire duration of the project.
  • An applicant can only submit one application as a Postdoctoral Fellow.
  • It is possible for an application to include a Co-Host Principal Investigator (Co-Host PI) who is based within the BRCCH partner institutions or at an external institution (including institutions abroad).
  • In this case, the research proposal is required to provide detailed information on the aspects of the work that will be conducted within the BRCCH host institution and in the co-hosting institutions, as well as a description of the infrastructure, size and support that will be provided by the co-hosting laboratory based abroad.
  • The Co-Host PI is also required to submit a Letter of Confirmation (see template) ensuring that adequate support, laboratory access and infrastructure will be provided to both the Co-Host PI and the Postdoctoral Fellow for the entire duration of his/her stay.
  • The contributions of international Co-Host Principal Investigators will need to be essential for the overall success of the project (i.e. if one were to remove the Co-Host Principal Investigators in mind, the project would either be seriously weakened or not viable).
  • BRCCH cannot transfer funding abroad. In cases where this would be justified based on the project’s design, international Co-Host PI will need to remit any justified charges to the assigned Host PI and its Swiss home institution (based on his/her local research costs and related to a research contract that needs to be developed in assistance with the respective technology transfer offices).
  • Funding can only cover direct costs (e.g. no overhead costs) for international Co-Host PI.

RESEARCH PROJECT

  • The aim of the Postdoctoral Excellence Programme (PEP) is to foster the next generation of scientific leaders who will lead the interdisciplinary and step-changing approaches to address critical unmet needs and challenges in global paediatric medicine and health.
  • Applications must provide a strong rationale for the project’s potential for translation and adoption into medical practice or in a public health setting.
  • Projects with a clear path to application and implementation in LMICs are of particular interest to the BRCCH.
  • The scope of the research project must align to a project intended for a postdoctoral researcher.

Each PEP must be aligned with at least one of the following four research areas:

    • Paediatric Digital Health 
    • Advanced Bioengineering for Paediatric Medicine
    • Essential Paediatric Medical Devices
    • Ethics, Policy and Implementation Research in Paediatric Health

FINANCES

  • The project can be funded for a maximum of 3 years. Please contact us if you are considering a project of shorter duration. Projects cannot be funded past 3 years.
  • PEP funding can only be allocated directly to Host Principal Investigators.
  • The PEP initiative supports 3-year research projects that will be supported with a total budget of approximately 350’000 CHF and awarded funding would be provided in three annual tranches. 
  • Within this budget, up to CHF 15’000 per year will be provided to cover research expenses, including travel/mobility allowances and research cost contributions. The budget allocated for travel and research costs may not be used to cover salary costs, and vice versa.
  • Awarded funding is intended to cover direct project costs, including the postdoctoral salary based on the regulations of the hosting partner institution (no overhead costs). 
  • The entire amount of a PEP grant will be allocated directly to the Host PI to support his/her Postdoctoral Fellow (e.g., funding may not be allocated to Co-Host PI).
  • Progress of awarded research projects will be monitored, and written progress and financial reports will need to be submitted annually.
  • Indirect costs such as, but not limited to, HR, overheads including space charges, administration and costs that would exist whether or not an PEP project occurs.
  • Salaries other than that of the Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Infrastructure.
  • Budget up to 350'000 CHF can be requested (the final allocated budget will be based on the employment and salary regulations for postdoctoral candidates at the respective BRCCH host institution)

MISCELLANEOUS

No, BRCCH does not currently provide any lab or office space.

BRCCH adheres to IP regulations of the four partner institutions.

Applications are required to be written in English.

Please email contact@brc.ch or attend our virtual Grants Clinic (see Questions section above)

Grant Portal

  •  All applications have to be submitted via our grants portal https://brcch.optimytool.ch/en/.
  • First time users have to create a new user account at https://brcch.optimytool.ch/en/.  You will receive a confirmation email with a link to set your password.
  • The Host Principal Investigator can give access to the application to the Postdoctoral Fellow and Co-Host Principal Investigator through "Manage invitations" function on the left-hand menu in the Grant Portal. This allows multiple people to work on the application.
  • The proposal and letter of confirmation should be uploaded as pdf file.
  • In case you do not receive an automated email from the Grant Portal, please check your Spam email folder.

Photocredit: Joachim Pelikan, SwissTPH