GRC Peer Mentoring Grant

Funding for junior researchers

What are GRC Peer Mentoring Grants?

The Graduate Campus Peer Mentoring Grants provide junior researchers with the means for funding activities of peer mentoring groups.

Peer mentoring is a specific form of career development for non-professorial academics that takes place within a group of aspiring and advances researcher (i.e. peers). The aim of peer mentoring groups is to foster the scientific careers of the group members. The members of the self-initiated groups discuss the prerequisites for an academic career and, together, take appropriate steps to obtaining the necessary qualifications and required skills (e.g. methodical and / or transferable skills). The focal point thereby is the mutual support and the establishment of a network among colleagues. Peers share their knowledge and experiences with each other within the group. The groups should therefore include members of different career stages, i.e. doctoral students as well as postdoctoral researchers.

For the most part, peer mentoring groups have a medium to long-term horizon. Thus, a renewal of the group over time is therefore a necessary requirement in order to sustain a high standard of quality. Ideally, former mentees become mentors over time and pass on their knowledge and experience to new group members. A group generally has 12 to 20 members.

Each group is supported by an Advisory Board (see below). The Advisory Board supports the group by drawing on their own experiences of pursuing an academic career track. The Board can thus, for example, be consulted regarding the planning of group activities or provide input to career-related questions. The peer mentoring groups are responsible for inviting the professors to be members of the Advisory Board.

What kind of activities can be funded?

Appropriate measures and a suitable program are formulated for the implementation of the groups' clearly defined goals, taking the composition of the group into account. The program can, for example, include the following activities:

  • Regular peer group meetings with the purpose of exchange between group members
  • Regular meetings with the Advisory Board and other professors or experts
  • Workshops or seminars on relevant topics
  • Writing retreats
  • Small conferences or panel discussion on current debates regarding the promotion of the academic career
  • Activities aiming at networking with other junior researchers
  • Other suitable activities
  • The groups are encouraged – taking the requirements of internal cohesion and a limiting of the maximum number of participants into consideration – to share the added value of the group with as many PhD candidates and postdoctoral researchers as possible, for example through a public event (workshop, panel discussion, etc.).

What can funds be applied for?

  • Activity costs
  • Expenses of external experts (according to UZH regulations on expenses)
  • UZH regulations on expenses (PDF, 167 KB)
  • In special circumstances travel expenses for UZH participants can be applied for if the planned activities take place outside of UZH. In general though, the events should take place in Zurich so that a maximum number of junior researchers at UZH can participate.
  • The funds are approved for one calendar year. An application has to be submitted each year for a funding extension.

The funding request should take into account the scope and the specific format of the activity. The maximum amount of funding for peer mentoring groups is CHF 7'500. In addition, there is a maximum of CHF 375 per group member. 

What cannot be funded?

  • Research or conference travel
  • Travels abroad
  • Activities that are part of the regular curricula within an institute, a doctoral program, a graduate school or similar.
  • Established activities (e.g. by doctoral programs or institutes) 
  • Salaries, teaching assignments and as a general rule, no speaker fees*
  • Additional funding for conference papers or other similar publications**

* Should speaker fees be absolutely necessary, the fees must be justified in detail in the application.

** Exceptional cases are conference papers or other similar publications arising from activities funded by GRC. An application for financial support for such cases has to be submitted separately after a successful accomplishment of the initial activity.

Application requirements

  • There must be at least three UZH doctoral candidates and/or postdocs applying together for the grant. 
  • The group must plan a program for a calendar year.
  • Basic components of the program are activities aiming at the exchange of knowledge and experiences among the peers.
  • The activities address topics which are of importance for the academic career development of group members.
  • All group members are actively involved in the activities (e.g. presentations, poster sessions or other suitable forms).
  • The group is supported by an Advisory Board which consists of at least two professors.
  • Applications going beyond the boundaries of a faculty will be prioritized.
  • One professorial faculty member of UZH needs to sign off the application for budgetary reasons.

A counseling interview with the GRC Coordination Office is recommended before application submission. Contact: Marco Toscano

Assessment criteria

For first-time applications: 

  • Quality of the application, especially in terms of objectives and the program
  • Relevance of the activities
  • Composition of the group (in terms of academic experience, plurality of method, diversity and gender equality)
  • Active involvement of the group members in the activities
  • Qualification of the applicants
  • Budget (i.e. the use of funds requested is appropriate, targeted and sufficiently reasoned)
  • Quality assurance (in the case of a follow-up application)
  • Public events: At least once a year, groups are encouraged to organize an event that is open to a wider group of interested junior researchers, e.g. a workshop on scientific methods together with external experts, a presentation of the group about its experiences or a panel session on questions related to career development. In this way, the groups shall be encouraged to continuously be open for new members.
  • Knowledge transfer between the group and the faculties: The members of peer mentoring groups transmit their experiences and insights to their faculties. Suitable activities serving this purpose are desired.


For follow-up applications: 

  • Quality assurance (i.e. active transition of knowledge and responsibility from proven onto newer members of the group) will be an additional and priority criterion. 

Financing and reporting

  • Accounting of bills goes through the cost unit of a UZH professor (see above).
  • Accountability report including expenses and a list of participants is to be submitted to the Graduate Campus after completion of the activity (a template will be made available).
  • For activities with a duration of more than 6 months, the Graduate Campus retains the right to demand an interim financial and status report.

How can I apply?

Applications have to be submitted via the online application system: GRC Tool

Application deadline: 15 October, 23:59

For information regarding the application process and the application tool please see:
Information Sheet - GRC Peer Mentoring Application  (PDF, 132 KB)


Award process

The Awards Committee of the Graduate Campus decides which proposals are approved. The decision will be communicated circa 8 weeks after the submission deadline.