ThinkSwiss is an official scholarship program managed by the Office of Science, Technology, and Higher Education at the Embassy of Switzerland in Washington, D.C. The program is funded by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) and is supported by the Embassy of Switzerland in Ottawa, Canada. The aim of the program is to promote research opportunities in Switzerland for American and Canadian students and to foster the exchange between Swiss, U.S., and Canadian universities and research institutions.

Eligibility Requirements

To apply for a ThinkSwiss Research Scholarship you must:

  • Currently be enrolled at an accredited US or Canadian university/college
  • Be a graduate student or an undergraduate student who will have completed the sophomore year by the time the research stay in Switzerland begins
  • Provide a written confirmation from a professor at a Swiss university that they will accept you for a research stay in their group

ThinkSwiss Regulations

Payment of the scholarship

The ThinkSwiss Research Scholarship provides a prorated amount according to the length of your stay:  a monthly scholarship of CHF 1,600 (approx. USD 1,600) for a period of two to three months (CHF 4,800 maximum). Please note that this amount covers only a portion of the average student’s living expenses and that you will be asked to prove sufficient financial means to the Swiss Cantonal authorities before a visa can be issued (see information on visa below). All ThinkSwiss scholarship winners will be notified by February 28, 2020 and must accept this scholarship by March 15, 2020. The whole amount of the scholarship money will be transferred to the bank account of the recipient shortly before the departure date.

Timeframe of your stay

The applicant is free to schedule research anytime between May 1, 2020 and December 1, 2020, with a starting date of your research internship no later than December 1, 2020. Most students choose to go abroad during the summer months as this period falls between regular university semesters. Please be aware that in Switzerland the semester break is approximately from June to mid-September and that during this time universities are less busy.

Additional funding

Please note that research internships at Swiss host institutions are usually unpaid. Since ThinkSwiss does not cover all expenses (see above), we allow additional funding next to ThinkSwiss, as long as the process of acquiring additional funds does not delay the timeframe of your stay.

Obligations as a ThinkSwiss Awardee

By accepting this scholarship, you agree to participate in our Brainstorm Blog with at least one blog post to share your experiences during your research stay in Switzerland. After your return to the U.S. or Canada respectively, you also agree to carry out at least one activity as a “student ambassador” to promote Swiss research.

Obtaining admission to the Host University

Please note that obtaining the scholarship does not mean that the student has acquired a specific status and, that the awardees must comply with the host university’s policies regarding admission. Each recipient is in charge of contacting the international office of their host university in Switzerland to finalize their registration and learning more about the specifics of status at the host institution. Please coordinate and stay in touch with your host professor.

Multiple applications

If you are granted a ThinkSwiss research scholarship, you cannot apply a second time. However, if your first application was not successful you are allowed to apply again. Similarly, if you have received a ThinkSwiss summer school travel grant, you are not eligible for a ThinkSwiss research scholarship.

General Information

If you are approved for a ThinkSwiss scholarship, please check with the international department of the host university and inquire about registering with and accepting guidance from them in regard to student services available, housing possibilities and other amenities that may be offered from the host universities.

Visa

Concerning visas to Switzerland, please inquire through the Swiss Consulate Generals/Embassy about the necessary visa, depending on where you live either in the United States or Canada. This office cannot influence the visa process. All other citizens must also check the visa requirements for their countries of citizenship and this can be done by checking with the Schengen Visa Information and if necessary, applying for a visa.

Please note: The conditions for your visa approval are determined by the Canton (State) in which your research institution is placed. In the process of granting your visa, the respective Cantonal authorities will ask you to prove that you have sufficient financial means to sustain yourself during the time of your stay, and each of them varies in its regulations. The ThinkSwiss Scholarship (1050CHF/month) is generally not accepted as sufficient proof, because the amount of money deemed sufficient varies between 1500-2200CHF/month depending on the Canton.

Housing

Students are responsible for their own housing, but contacting the international or housing office of the host university for recommendations is a good starting point.

Insurance

Please note that the scholarship does not provide health, accident or liability insurance. Applicants must make sure that they have insurance coverage for their stay in Switzerland, and it is the sole responsibility of the student to obtain this coverage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are non-U.S. or non-Canadian citizens eligible to apply for the program?

All enrolled students at accredited U.S. or Canadian universities are eligible, but ability to participate will depend on obtaining a visa, if necessary.

Can the scholarship also be applied to projects at public research institutions or private higher education institutions?

The scholarship supports research at public universities and public research institutions. However, we do not support research stays at private higher education or research institutions.

How do I find a hosting institution and/or a professor in Switzerland?

Finding a professor in Switzerland is part of the due diligence process that the applicant must conduct on his/her own. You can find some helpful links on our website here.

This program is only open to students who have completed their sophomore year by the beginning of their research stay in Switzerland.  What are my options as a freshman?

Besides the research scholarships, we also offer travel grants to summer schools in Switzerland for which freshmen may also be eligible. Please have a look on the ThinkSwiss summer schools section.

Are there any language requirements?

In Switzerland, undergraduate courses are usually taught in the respective region’s national language (German, French or Italian) and graduate programs are often offered in English. However, for a research stay in Switzerland foreign language skills are not required, as the working language will generally be English. Knowledge of any Swiss national language would of course be helpful for daily life.

© ThinkSwiss 2019