Who can apply for a beginner grant?
The main target group of the YTCR programme are residents (Assistenzärzte/médecins assistants) 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 make 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 programme and her/his career prospects in academic medicine are considered as intact.
* For the 2020 call for proposals, 5 months are added to the eligibility window for all candidates due the postponement of the submission deadline from 30 June to 30 November 2020.
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 MD thesis, or equivalent degree) 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 (gained e.g. during a PhD or MD-PhD) 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 patient-oriented clinical research can apply for a beginner grant if the percentage of clinical activity during their dissertation is higher than 20%. Since beginner grants were not conceived specifically to support doctoral students, the thesis supervisor must confirm in her/his support letter that funding necessary to complete the doctorate is guaranteed after expiration of the beginner grant.
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.
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 programme.
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 2020 call, beginner grants can start on 1 June 2021 at the earliest. The start of the grant can be postponed for up to 12 months, i.e. until 1 June 2022 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 test subjects or material of human origin where, unlike basic research, the researcher has contact with people. The research fields eligible for support include patient-oriented research, epidemiological studies, outcome-based research and healthcare research.
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.
In case the beginner grant is meant to cover the salary of the applicant during her/his PhD or MD-PhD, the mentor must also confirm that funding necessary to complete the doctorate after expiration of the YTCR beginner grant is ensured.
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.