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.).

Which budget items can be funded specifically?

  • Activity costs (see bulletin for budget planning (PDF, 78 KB)).
  • Travel and accommodation costs of external experts and actively contributing junior researchers (according to UZH expense regulations (PDF, 163 KB)).
  • As a rule, events should be held locally in Zurich, if possible on UZH premises, so that as many UZH junior researchers as possible can participate. In particularly justified cases, travel funds for UZH participants may be requested if the planned activities take place outside UZH. A detailed justification must accompany the original application.
  • Compensation for academic or non-academic experts is possible in justified cases. For this purpose, the following provisions must be strictly adhered to:
  1. compensation may only be given to external experts (outside UZH).
  2. compensation for academic staff may only be awarded at peer level, i.e. to doctoral candidates, postdocs and lecturers who do not have an academic appointment.
  3. a relevant presentation of experts and expertise related to the planned activity is mandatory.
  4. a maximum of CHF 600 per person per day (this corresponds to a maximum rate of CHF 75 per hour and includes all preparatory and follow-up work) may be paid.
  5. in case of uncertainty, applicants are required to contact the GRC office in due time before submitting the application.
  • Applying for partial funding and matching funds of events is possible and explicitly encouraged. As a general rule, applicants are required to be transparent about all sources of funding for the proposed activity. A global budget that clearly contextualizes the funds requested from GRC must be included.
  • 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 10'000. In addition, there is a maximum of CHF 375 per group member. 

What cannot be funded?

  • Activities that are a regular part of the training module of a doctoral program or graduate school.

  • Established activities, for example by doctoral programs or institutes.

  • As a rule, room costs cannot be financed. UZH’s rooms are available to UZH members free of charge. Please note that the offer is limited, and rooms should be reserved, if possible, before submitting the application.

  • Research or conference travel

  • As a general rule, travel or accommodation expenses for participants

  • Additional funding for conference papers or other similar publications*)

     

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

 

 

What is involved in responsible event planning?

The sustainability of academic activities is a focus of UZH and GRC.

  • Ecological balance of events (see leaflet on sustainable event planning (PDF, 68 KB)):
    • Sustainable catering solutions are mandatory.
    • We ask you to refrain from unnecessary printed materials or giveaways.
    • Flights will only be funded in well-justified cases, for all trips taking less than 10 hours, taking a train is mandatory as a means of travel. If there is no alternative to transatlantic travel for an activity, it must be well justified in the application. The key factor in making a positive funding decision is whether the activity, in itself or in conjunction with other activities, offsets the increased resource use by maximizing academic benefits. Carbon offsetting cannot be used to internally enhance an activity's sustainability record.
  • Social Sustainability: UZH is committed to transparent career and decision paths and enables junior researchers to plan their careers in the best possible way. PhD candidates should receive the best possible support to develop their skills according to their ambitions and to flourish in an intellectually stimulating environment. To provide an inclusive and supportive working environment, UZH takes into account relevant experiences* of social exclusion and discrimination that may shape the academic and non-academic daily life of early-career researchers and other persons affected. UZH promotes a culture of appreciation and recognition of diversity and supports PhD candidates in various possible career paths.

 

* Relevant experiences may include: racialization through socially ascribed stereotyping; the interaction of individual physical or mental impairments and disability through societal frameworks; gender as a socially ascribed gender characteristic and role based on biological sex; socioeconomic status (education, income, wealth) of the junior researcher or their social backgrounds.

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.

 

Only applications that are complete and received in a regular manner can be accepted for formal review.

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.
  • Plus factor: Ecological and social sustainability.

 

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. 

Before submission: last things to consider

  • Is your application complete?
  • Have you reserved rooms for your event?
  • Have you indicated all possible sources of funding? Is a global budget in place?
  • Before applying for funding, we recommend that you have a consultation with the GRC office. Please note that consultations are most effective once your project planning is at an advanced stage, and you have already explored the GRC's funding opportunities and application submission tool. Contact: Marco Toscano Email

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). Each periods's final report has to be submitted by December 7 of year.
  • 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.