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Graduate Campus

Budget planning guidelines

Budget planning is generally the responsibility of the applicants. Budget reductions can be made during the application review, which forms the basis for the decision. Moreover, the funds granted are appropriated for a specific purpose. This means that the funds granted can only be used in accordance with the budget requested. Smaller shifts within the budget sections are often unavoidable and are possible without further notice. However, larger reallocations of the requested budget items must be discussed with and approved by the Graduate Campus Coordination Office.

Maintain transparency in your application. If you have other sources of funding or are in the process of applying for funding from other sources, please indicate this in the application and attach a global budget to your documents, which also includes the costs not applied for and provides information on their financing. The official online submission screen within the GRC Tool can be used to enter budgeted expenditures for personnel and non-personnel costs. Below you will find guidance on budgeting within these two categories, as well as some general tips for successful event planning:

1. Personnel costs

When entering a request into the GRC Tool, you can enter expenses to individuals as "academic personnel costs" in two categories for your budget: 

•    Expense allowances: Early career researchers / student employees / experts / volunteers.
•    Expenses: Travel / accommodation / representation expenses

1.1 Expense allowances

Personnel expense allowances incurred as part of your self-managed research project that cannot be otherwise covered are eligible for application as part of a grant from the GRC. These may include expenses for:

  • Early career researchers: It is conceivable that applicants may request financial compensation for themselves for the period of a project grant from the GRC. The budgeted costs must be closely and well justified related to the proposed and self-managed activity of the applicant. Relevant calculation and justification of costs as well as a detailed research plan and budget are mandatory. The effective implementation of the plan including compliance with the costs must be documented in the accountability report after the activity has been carried out.
  • Student employees: Funding for temporary and hourly wage-based employment of student employees in the context of a self-managed research project is possible. A relevant calculation and justification of costs as well as a detailed research plan and budget are mandatory. The effective implementation of the plan including compliance with the costs must be documented in the accountability report after the activity has been carried out.
  • Experts: Compensation of academic or non-academic experts is possible in justified cases. 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 the peer level, i.e. to doctoral researchers, postdoctoral researchers and “Privatdozent” who do not have an academic appointment.​​​​​​​
    3. a relevant understanding of the expert 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 work involved in preparation and follow-up) may be paid.
  • Volunteers: Within the framework of a self-managed research project, it is possible to apply for funding to conduct studies or experiments. A relevant calculation and justification of the costs as well as a detailed research plan and budget are mandatory. The effective implementation of the plan including compliance with the costs must be documented in the accountability report after the activity has been carried out.

1.2 Expenses

When budgeting your expenses, consider possible program changes. For example, if an invited person must unexpectedly cancel their attendance, you should be able to fund a possible replacement with the same funds. Anticipated and requestable expenses for expenses include:

  • Travel: Travel and accommodation can be requested, regardless of academic degree, for invited guests who actively contribute to the event. This usually means that they are listed in the event program with a presentation. In principle, only economy class or 2nd class tickets will be approved. Exceptions require a convincing argumentation. Average ticket prices according to information provided by the providers can be used.Travel by train or alternative sustainable mobility solutions are preferred over air travel. For a travel duration of less than 10 hours, travel by train is obligatory, even if the ticket price of the train trip is to be estimated higher than that of a low-cost flight. If travel by train is only compatible with the event program under the condition of an additional overnight stay, additional overnight stays may be budgeted for this purpose. However, this should be shown in the budget and must also be able to be substantiated with the submission of the statement of accounts. In principle, however, attention must be paid to the possibility of efficient travel arrangements as early as the program design stage.
  • Accomodation: Overnight stays within the range of 150 - 200 CHF per person and night can be requested. Attention should be paid to moderately priced offers. You can obtain concrete information by consulting the published prices of hotels that come into question or by obtaining a non-binding offer. In doing so, clarify whether the hotel in question offers preferential conditions to UZH. In addition, when choosing a hotel, make sure that your external guests can get to the venue as easily as possible and without additional expense. Should the guests nevertheless be dependent on local public transport to reach the event location, single or day tickets from the VBZ can be budgeted for.
  • Representation expenses: In general, no representation expenses are approved. It is assumed that the expenses of academic guests - beyond the basic travel and accommodation costs - are covered by their home institution. Similarly, no meal expenses can be requested for guests. As a rule, budgeted costs for gifts are not approved. If gifts are indispensable in certain situations, this must be justified and kept within moderate limits. As a rule, they should not exceed the amount of CHF 25.

2. Material costs

When entering a proposal using the GRC Tool, you can also enter the expenses for material costs for your budget. The following categories are available for this purpose:

  • Material costs / Operating costs
  • Publication costs
  • Event costs

2.1 Material costs / operating costs

If operating and material costs are incurred as part of the requested activity, they are reimbursable through the GRC. Operating costs may be broadly defined to include costs incurred in laboratories and the rental or fees of necessary equipment or software services. However, living and food expenses are excluded in this context. Relevant calculation and justification of costs are mandatory. The effective implementation of the plan including compliance with the costs must be documented in the accountability report after the activity has been carried out.

2.2 Publication costs

The possibility to finance publication costs is strictly limited to costs arising from the publication of one's own research results (publications, data, code), such as fees for APCs or the digital or analog printing and publication of articles, brochures, or book projects. Platinum/Diamond Open Access and Green Open Access (immediate access or very short embargo, version of record) are the preferred options (see Open Science Policy, p. 7). Gold Open Access can only be funded if the two options above are not available. Relevant calculation and justification of costs are mandatory. Effective compliance with the cost calculation must be documented in the accountability report.

2.3 Event costs

The requested funds must correspond to the scope and nature of the activity and the number of participants of the activity. Please estimate the number of people expected to attend the event. This estimate, in addition to the number of invited speakers, will be used to determine the amounts that can be budgeted for catering or conference materials. In general, events should take place locally in Zurich, if possible, on UZH premises, so that the participation of as many UZH early career researchers as possible is possible. In particularly justified cases, travel funds for UZH participants may be requested if the planned activities take place outside UZH. A detailed justification must be included with the original application.

  • Catering: The calculation of the amounts for catering is based on the compensation of a coffee break per half day and a one-time conference dinner. For the estimated total number of participants, CHF 10 per half day, CHF 20 per day and person can be estimated. For the number of invited speakers and early career researchers involved in the organization, a one-time conference dinner of 40 CHF per person can be requested. This is a basis for calculation. The funds can also be used differently. For example, instead of a conference dinner, an apéro can be planned for all participants. However, the calculation of the contributions remains the same.
  • Conference materials, printed materials, and giveaways: The possible contributions for conference material depend on individual needs and the type of event. However, they should be kept within the limits of what is indispensable. Reduce printed event notices and materials to the bare essentials. Refrain from using giveaways.
  • Selection of guests: Berücksichtigen Sie bei der Auswahl und Anfrage der Gäste deren Reisewege. Bedenken Sie, dass regionale Netzwerke auch für weitergehende Kooperationen vorteilhaft sind.
  • Travel efficiency and synergies: Check the possibilities of a longer stay, especially in the case of further travel. For example, arrange additional meetings, networking opportunities and workshops with the person in question after or before the actual event. This will increase the efficiency of the trip and the meeting. If applicable, such synergies in terms of matching funds can also be co-financed by the application.
  • Program design: When designing the program, consider the travel plans of your guests and possibly also of other participants. For example, when you start the event, make sure that it is possible to travel by train.If it is not possible to travel by train without an additional overnight stay, you may request additional overnight stays. With this offer, you also create incentives for your guests to decide in favor of a sustainable journey. 

  • Sustainable catering: Pay attention to ecologically sustainable nutritional principles when providing meals. For example, avoid meat, products from extensive farming, and long transport routes for break catering or apéros. Avoid disposable tableware and bottles as much as possible. Ask your caterer about the possibilities of resource-saving catering. ZFV also offers appropriate catering options. Avoid food waste and organize the reuse of surplus where appropriate. 
    The Sustainability Team offers guidelines for sustainable catering, as well as a list of caterers with information on their offerings regarding aspects of sustainability upon request (to

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