Postdoctoral fellowship for Women in Science


IN BRIEF: Apply to this program to obtain a 2-year fellowship and work on your own research ideas hosted by one of the University of Fribourg-based research groups of our center. The fellowship covers salary, consumables and travel expenses.

The Postdoctoral Fellowship Program for Women in Science of the National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) Bio-Inspired Materials seeks to support the professional development of outstanding female researchers who have already demonstrated excellence at an early stage of their careers and wish to pursue an academic career. The fellowships support the residency of researchers in the laboratory of one of the University of Fribourg-based research groups of the NCCR Bio-Inspired Materials. The grant is designed to fund original research ideas of the applicants and to leverage impact through integration within the NCCR Bio-Inspired Materials and its international network. While being fully integrated in the NCCR Bio-Inspired Materials, the fellows have the possibility to apply to all other NCCR programs, grants and support actions for NCCR members (such as childcare support during travel). A list of the ongoing WINS projects can be found here.


The following eligibility criteria must be fulfilled:

  • The program is open to female applicants of all nationalities who hold or are about to earn a doctoral degree in a relevant field of natural or life sciences, such as medicine, biology, biochemistry, chemistry, physics or materials science.
  • Application to the program is only possible within five years after the award of the first doctoral degree from a recognized University (reference dates are the application date and the date of the PhD defense). This timeframe can be extended if the candidate interrupted work due to maternity leave(s), in this case a detailed explanation must be included in the application.
  • Applicants who already submitted but did not yet defend their PhD thesis may submit an application, if their defense is scheduled for a date no later than 3 months after the application date. In this case, applicants must submit a certification of the submission of their doctoral thesis and of the planned date of their defense / degree. The award of the fellowship to these applicants is contingent upon successful defense within the timeframe stipulated above and the timely receipt of a copy of the degree certificate.
  • Researchers who are, or who have previously been affiliated with a research group or associated group of the NCCR Bio-Inspired Materials are not eligible to apply. The full list of NCCR research groups and NCCR associated groups can be found here.
  • Applicants must be affiliated with a recognized university, research institution or industry at the time of application (please contact the coordinator if this is not the case), they must have demonstrated excellence and outstanding performance in their previous positions, and express the explicit wish to pursue an academic career.
  • The official language of the program is English; applicants must be fluent in written and spoken English.

Applications not complying with these criteria will automatically be rejected on formal grounds.

Application guidelines

Applications and queries must be submitted in English.

The full applications should be submitted electronically in one single message with subject “Application NCCR WINS23 - Your Name” to

Applications must include the following documents:

  • Application form, downloadable here. The applicant must choose one NCCR research group or associated group in whose laboratories she would like to be integrated, and provide the contact information of at least two references. 
  • Motivation letter including statement of career goals (max. two pages).
  • Complete CV including list of publications (max four pages).
  • Certificate of doctoral degree or certification of the submission of their doctoral thesis and of the planned date of their defense / degree (defense date must not be later than 3 months after the application date)
  • Project proposal. The project proposal must be prepared using the template downloadable here.
  • In addition, two recommendation letters are required. These should not be submitted by the applicant together with the application, but must be e-mailed by the letter writers from institutional email accounts to the NCCR Coordinator (; subject “Reference Your name”). The applicant is responsible for requesting the submission of the recommendation letters to his/her references.

Application deadline

The application deadline is October 15, 2023. This deadline also applies to recommendation letters.

Number of fellowships to be awarded

In this call, up to two WINS Fellowships can be awarded.


Fellowships will be offered on a competitive basis. Candidates will be selected based on their track record as a researcher, their potential to grow into academic leaders, the quality and originality of the project proposal, the match of the proposal with the overall theme of the NCCR Bio-inspired Materials, the feasibility of the proposed project in the host laboratory, and the anticipated synergies that arise from the integration into the NCCR Bio-Inspired Materials.

All applications will be assessed by an NCCR selection committee. Short listed candidates will then be invited to give a talk which will be followed by an interview.

Practical information

Start and duration

The duration of the research fellowship is 24 months. The grant cannot be extended and follow-up funding through NCCR project funds is not possible.

Start of grant: To be discussed

Be aware that the process for obtaining a visa for Switzerland can take up to 3 months.

The fellows must submit a final report to the NCCR Coordinator no later than 6 weeks after the end of their grant. The report must follow the guidelines provided by the NCCR Coordinator.


The grant includes a standard researcher salary (100%) following the rules of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) for a period of 24 months (including social charges to be paid by the employer) The grant additionally includes funds to cover research expenses up to a total of CHF 24’000, and a travel allowance of total CHF 5’000, for the entire funding period. The conditions for the expenditure of research costs follow the SNSF financial rules for NCCRs.

The grantee will be employed as researcher at the University of Fribourg, and therefore have a valid work contract during the whole funding period.

Document download


For questions and any further information concerning the Research Fellowship Program for Women in Science of the NCCR Bio-Inspired Materials, please contact the NCCR Coordinator at