ETH4D Research Challenges and Seed Grants for Low- and Lower-Middle-Income Countries

Opportunity Detail

  • Gender MaleFemale
  • Level Research
  • Eligible Region/Countries

    OECD DAC-​LISTED Countries

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  • Medium of Instruction English
  • Opportunity ID 72141
  • Funding Type Partially Funded
  • Duration 18 Months

Opportunity Description

ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) accepts proposals for ETH for Development-ETH4D Research Challenges and Seed Grants. The primary goal of the ETH4D Research Challenges is to enable partnerships and collaborations on project-based research between ETH researchers, partners from low- and lower-middle-income countries, and non-academic partners. The program intends to develop practical solutions for poverty reduction. Please note that only solid research proposals with high scientific quality will receive funding.

An ETH4D Research Challenge should be a clearly defined research question to positively impact people of low-​ and lower-middle-income countries. The challenge should be a pressing question related to the following:

  • Research interests of an ETH Zurich research group
  • Current or future work of a private or public organization

ETH4D Research Challenges should follow the objectives, including developing, testing, evaluating, or implementing an innovative product, service, or policy – involving a technology that responds to a specific development challenge.

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Besides ETH4D Research Challenges, the ETH4D Seed Grants provide smaller funding for exploring new collaborations, testing and piloting a new applied research project or scaling up existing research projects in low- and lower-middle-income countries. Recipients can use the ETH4D Seed Grants for the following purposes:

  • Feasibility and pilot studies that lead to a proposal for a more significant research collaboration
  • Scaling up existing research projects with potentially high impact

Brief Details

Application Deadline: 30 September 2023 (17:00 Swiss Local Time)

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Application Outcome: Two months after the submission deadline

Project Duration for ETH4D Research Challenges Grants: Up to 18 months

Project Duration for ETH4D Seed Grants: 6- 18 months

Organized by: ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology)

Location: Swiss (Switzerland)

Eligible Countries: OECD DAC-​LIST Countries

Funding and Budgets

Both grants are useable for any travel costs, material costs, and salaries of staff or consultants in the partner country who specifically work for this project. The amount also includes the wages of postdocs, doctoral candidates, and research assistants.

ETH4D Research Challenges Grants:

The grant sum for this program ranges between 20,000 CHF and 200,000 CHF. The yearly total budget for the program is 200,000 CHF, payable in two separate calls for proposals.

The academic and non-academic partners should provide matching funds corresponding to a minimum of 70% of the requested ETH4D RCG in cash.

ETH4D Seed Grants:

The maximum grant sum for ETH4D Seed Grants is 20,000 CHF. No matching funds by the professorship or partners are necessary for this grant type.

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Eligibility Criteria

For both grants, at least one academic or non-academic partner should be from a low- or lower-middle-income country. If the proposal is well justified, projects in upper-middle-income countries can also receive funding in exceptional cases.

ETH4D Research Challenges Grants:

  • The team should consist of at least one ETH4D member, such as a senior scientist, professor, postdoc, or doctoral candidate, as the principal applicant and one non-academic partner, such as an NGO, industry, or policy organization.
  • If the principal applicant is a senior scientist, a postdoc, or a doctoral candidate, the project proposal should include a letter of support from the professor.
  • ETH Zurich research groups that are not yet ETH4D members are also eligible for the Research Challenge Grant. They will become a member upon receiving the funding.

ETH4D Seed Grants:

  • The team should consist of an ETH senior scientist, postdoc, or doctoral applicant as principal applicant plus one non-academic partner, such as an NGO, industry, or policy organization.
  • Please note that this grant is not open to professors.
  • The proposal should include a letter of support from the applicant’s professor.

Application Requirements

Application supporting documents (excluding application form) should be as one PDF document, including all annexes, in the following order:

  • Completed electronic application form
  • Bibliography, in the annex
  • Work packages and Milestones as a Gantt Chart in the annex.
  • Letters of support from the non-academic partners in the annex.
  • CVs of all partners (2 pages max. per partner) in the annex.
  • Budget as a separate file (using the Budget Template for Research Challenges, Budget Template for Seed Grants)

How to Apply for ETH4D Research Challenges and Seed Grants?

By entering the link below, candidates can submit their applications electronically in PDF format via the ETH Zurich grant application system. Please read the detailed application criteria and download the project narrative before applying.


Apply Now


Evaluation and Selection Criteria

The ETH4D selection committee will evaluate all proposals. The committee consists of three academic members of ETH4D, the ETH4D executive director, and a policy, industry, or NGO representative. For the final decision, the committee considers the following evaluation criteria:

  • Quality and feasibility of the research proposal
  • Relevance of the project
  • Applicability
  • Team qualifications and diversity, such as gender, race, ethnicity, and disabilities
  • Own financial and in-kind contributions.

Please refer to ETH Zurich’s website to learn about the ETH4D Research Challenges and Seed Grants.

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