Postdoc fellowships in sustainable innovation, in Switzerland - EPFLeaders4impact (MSCA)

EPFLeaders4impact is a new postdoctoral fellowship programme funding talented researchers who have the ambition to provide innovative solutions to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The programme will fund between 40 and 120 fellowships of a duration of 12, 18, 24, or 36 months. Granted applicants will carry out their project at one of the five EPFL campuses and will benefit from a multifaceted training programme, including a collaboration with the non-academic sector.

During the programme, EPFLeaders4impact fellows will be able to take steps towards starting a company based on their own research or to have their proposed innovative solution implemented through a technology transfer to an existing company/organisation.

Disciplines: The EPFLeaders4impact fellowship programme is open to applicants in any discipline included in the research areas of EPFL. Applicants are free to choose their project topic, which must address at least one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.  

Collaboration: The EPFLeaders4impact fellows will benefit from intersectoral exposure through a mandatory collaboration with a partner from the non-academic sector, which can be a company, an NGO, an international organisation, or a public institution. EPFLeaders4impact fellows may collaborate with their partner remotely, but visits, short stays, and/or a secondment are strongly encouraged.

Training programme: EPFLeaders4impact fellows will benefit from a dedicated training programme to equip them with a comprehensive set of skills to enhance their scientific excellence, their entrepreneurial capacity, and their leadership potential. The courses are listed in the document “EPFLeaders4impact Leadership Training Programme”.

Contribution: The EPFLeaders4impact fellowship consists of a monthly contribution to the salary of the postdoctoral researcher of EUR 2’740. The academic supervisor must complement the EU contribution to the salary of the EPFLeaders4impact fellow (co-funding cannot come from funding schemes requiring time-keeping such as H2020 / Horizon Europe or Innosuisse) and pay for the associated costs (research costs, equipment, travel expenses, conferences, open access publications, etc.).

Location: Research funded by the EPFLeaders4impact programme can only be conducted on the EPFL campuses in Lausanne, Geneva, Neuchâtel, Valais, or Fribourg. Visits, short stays, and/or a secondment at the non-academic partner are nonetheless strongly encouraged.


The EPFLeaders4impact programme actively promotes equal opportunities. The programme is open to applicants of any nationality provided they fulfil the following eligibility criteria:

  • Experienced Researchers: Applicants must be Experienced Researchers (ER); they must hold a doctoral degree or have at least 4 years of full-time equivalent research experience by at the latest the date of recruitment. “Full-time equivalent research experience” is measured from the date when the researcher obtained the degree entitling him/her to embark on a doctorate (either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the researcher was recruited or where he or she was seconded) – even if a doctorate was never started or envisaged.
  • MSCA transnational mobility rule: Applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Switzerland for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the call deadline. Exceptions to these rules are possible in order to ensure equal opportunities for applicants whose scientific career was interrupted. Therefore, the time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention, compulsory national service, maternity leave, and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account.
  • Time commitment: Applicants must be able to carry out full-time research during the fellowship period. Parental leave, sick leave, care leave, and military leave are nevertheless permitted. The fellowships must start:
    • Call 1: at the earliest on 1 June 2022 and at the latest on 1 October 2022
    • Call 2: at the earliest on 1 September 2022 and at the latest on 1 January 2023

more information here


  • Call 1: Opens on 1 November 2021 and closes on 31 January 2022 (17:00 CEST)
  • Call 2: Opens on 1 February 2022 and closes on 2 May 2022 (17:00 CEST)