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Postdoctoral fellowships for food systems of the future

ETH Zurich and EPFL have launched Future Food – A Swiss Research Initiative together with Bühler, Givaudan and Nestlé (the first partners on board) to further expand research and education in the area of food and nutrition sciences. The fellowship programme is a major pillar within this framework. It aims to bring together competences from academic and industrial research in the fields covered by the initiative. The overarching goal is to develop solutions that address grand challenges such as affordable nutrition and sustainable packaging.

A successful fellow must demonstrate the willingness to engage in scientific or economic issues across the frontiers of food and nutrition sciences. The programme supports research projects at the postdoctoral level and is structured around annual calls for applications. The fellowship provides personal research funds for three years to enable fellows to work on their projects in a research laboratory. The programme is managed by the World Food System Center at ETH Zurich and the Integrative Food Science and Nutrition Center at EPFL.


To submit a proposal within the framework of the Future Food Initiative, the following eligibility criteria must be fulfilled:

  • Citizens of any nationality may apply; there are no restrictions concerning age.
  • Applicants must have a doctoral degree awarded at most three years prior to the submission deadline.
  • At the time of the relevant submission deadline, researchers must not have been affiliated for studies, research or other activities, or employed, at either of the two institutions (ETH Zurich or EPFL) during the 18 months that immediately precede the submission deadline.
  • Applications will not be forwarded for evaluation if applicants already hold or have held a faculty-equivalent position (e.g. assistant professor) in a higher education institution in Switzerland or abroad.
  • Applications and supporting documentation must be written in English.
  • The prospective research project must also comply with the applicable ethics regulations and adhere to the principles of research integrity valid at the host institution (ETH Zurich or EPFL). Relevant ethical, legal and social considerations should be included in the proposal.

Application material

Full proposals must be submitted electronically using the online submission tool provided at this link. Please make sure to adhere to the page limits assigned to each section of the proposal.

The proposal should consist of:

  • A letter of motivation including a statement explaining why the planned research is original and a justification for why the candidate is qualified for the fellowship and the proposed research, including a brief description of the candidate’s research achievements (max. 2 pages)
  • An abstract of the research proposal (max. 1,500 characters including spaces)
  • A detailed research proposal, including the state of research to date, the research plan and expected milestones. The research plan should include sufficient scientific and technical details for the reviewers to be able to evaluate the proposal as a whole for originality, depth, impact potential and organisation. The scientific proposal should not exceed four pages (A4, single line spacing, 11-point Arial font or equivalent), excluding references
  • A letter signed by at least one host ETH Zurich or EPFL professor, stating her/his support of the project and detailing the level of independence and the scientific autonomy that will be granted to the fellow in the event of acceptance. Additionally, the letter must confirm that the host professor is willing to:
  • integrate the fellow in her/his laboratory at the research institution
  • provide the fellow with a workplace and access to the infrastructure required to successfully complete the proposed research work during the approved funding period
  • share potential additional research expenses of the applicant (e.g. for material, equipment, personnel, travel, etc.)
  • The applicant’s curriculum vitae including a list of publications (max. 2 pages excluding publication list), diplomas (including a copy of the doctoral degree) and grade transcripts from all higher education institutions attended by the applicant
  • A list of five names of potential external reviewers (name, affiliation, and email address). Suggested reviewers should be free of conflict of interest, (i.e. they should have no personal or professional relationship with the applicant and should receive no funding or other benefits as a result of the project)
  • A list of three names of potential authors of recommendation letters for the candidate with a signed and dated statement from the candidate that she/he waives the right to read or receive copies of recommendation letters collected for the application. Recommendation letters should not be requested or submitted upon application. They will only be requested once the applicant has been short-listed.

How to apply

Call 2019 is open to any outstanding proposal that fits the criteria. Special preference will initially be given to projects that address the following areas:

  • New protein solutions (alternatives to dairy proteins)
  • Exploring ancient plant varieties for tasty, nutritious and sustainable food

For all subsequent calls, the topics for research projects will be announced on a yearly basis.

Before applying, please read the Fast Facts for Applicants carefully.

Full proposals must be submitted electronically using the online submission tool. Please make sure to adhere to the page limits assigned to each section of the proposal. Apply here.


Find original call the future food website.