Early-Career Fellowship at the Collegium Helveticum

As the joint institute for advanced studies of ETH Zurich, the University of Zurich, and the Zurich University of the Arts, the Collegium Helveticum facilitates research and artistic work across all disciplines. Located in the former Semper Observatory, the Collegium provides a thriving intellectual atmosphere and ideal working conditions for its fellows and promotes exchange across disciplines, engaging different audiences. Early-career fellows require a letter of support from a faculty member at one of the three supporting universities who is willing to become an associate fellow and who will serve as their academic partner during the fellowship. Please initiate contact and obtain a letter of support in due time.

Fellows are free to pursue their individual projects as outlined in their application and receive support from the Collegium’s team. Projects carried out at the Collegium may convince both by their relevance and originality, spanningfrom applied science to blue-sky research, as well as from fine arts to artistic research. With its early-career fellowship program, the Collegium aims to support outstandingly promising academics and artists at a critical stage of their career. The program is designed to encourage work that cuts across and transgresses disciplinary boundaries in unconventional ways. We also encourage small interdisciplinary teams of up to three people to apply with a joint project.

Early-career fellows are working in academic or artistic disciplines at postdoctoral or equivalent level for art school graduates (if the institution does not award doctoral degrees). We invite international applications as well as applications from scholars and artists currently affiliated with one of the Collegium’s supporting institutions, ETH Zurich, the University of Zurich (UZH), and the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK).

The Collegium welcomes diversity and is committed to provide a family friendly workplace. Therefore, we acknowledge care work, part-time employment, or career breaks and consider applications proposing joint research in job-sharing.

Please find more information here about what type of projects and individuals we are looking out for.

Early-career fellowships are awarded to candidates who do not have a permanent academic position but do have a proven track record. To be eligible, applicants need a doctorate in an academic discipline or a master’s degree from an art school (if the institution does not award doctoral degrees). The degree must have been obtained no longer than five years prior to the start of the fellowship. For this five-year threshold, we consider your “academic age,” as calculated in the application form. Care work, career breaks, or part-time employment will be considered when calculating the five-year threshold. We ask you to provide information about your employment history and supporting documentation if you want to make a claim against the five-year threshold. 
An official confirmation of completion of degree from the respective university or art school is required and must be submitted with the application. If you do not have a certificate by the time of application, please submit (a) a transcript of record that confirms that you received a doctorate or master’s degree from an art school, or (b) a letter by your advisor or department chair confirming that you will have your doctorate or master’s degree from an art school in hand by June 2024.
Early-career fellowships at the Collegium Helveticum are not intended to support doctoral dissertations.

Duration and start date
Early-career fellows spend ten months at the Collegium Helveticum, starting on September 1, 2024.

Early-career fellows receive a grant in the form of a full-time postdoctoral position at ETH Zurich for the duration of the fellowship paid in monthly instalments. The amount is based on ETH salary ratesfor postdoctoral researchers, currently ranging from approximately CHF 75,000 to CHF 85,000 for ten months. As ETH Zurich employees, early-career fellows who take care of children of minor age or children in education may apply for a family allowance.

Early-career fellows are provided with a desk, access to IT and library infrastructure, as well as a computer if required. They also have access to the universities’ sport and activity programs. Since the Collegium cannot provide laboratory infrastructure or studio space, early-career fellows can arrange to use up to forty percent of their time to do work outside of the Semper Observatory if this is essential for the proposed project or furthers their skills in important ways. Usually, such arrangements would be made in close cooperation with the associate fellow and require approval by the Collegium’s director.

Attendance and participation
Early-career fellows are required to be present at the Collegium on weekdays. They participate in the regular seminars, workshop discussions, and Jours Fixes with other fellows and present and discuss their ongoing work. Early-career fellows contribute to the Collegium’s academic and artistic program by organizing an event related to their fellowship project for which they will receive financial and organizational support. Typical formats for events are workshops, lectures, panel discussions, exhibitions, or performances but there are no specific limitations set by the Collegium.

Associate fellows
Before applying, applicants for an early-career fellowship are required to contact a faculty member at ETH Zurich, the University of Zurich or the Zurich University of the Arts whose work is relevant to the proposed fellowship project and who agrees to engage as an associate fellow. Please consult the websites of the Collegium’s three supporting universities, ETH Zurich, UZH, and ZHdK, to identify and contact potential associate fellows. Associate fellows are established researchers or artists affiliated with one of the supporting universities. Usually, associate fellows are tenured or tenure-track faculty. If this is not the case, two associate fellows may jointly support an early-career fellow with a co-signed letter of support. In these cases, one of the co-signers must be a professor or department chair. Associate fellows may agree to integrate early-career fellows into their group part time and provide infrastructure for their project. The letter of support details why and how the associate fellow will support the early-career fellow’s project and how they can help to build links with Zurich’s academic and art communities.

Note for international applicants
Early-career fellows are employed at ETH Zurich for the duration of their fellowship and need a valid work and residence permit for Switzerland. Please get information about all requirements as early as possible. Information is available on the ETH Zurich services and resources page. The Collegium cannot provide housing for its early-career fellows. You can find information regarding housing in Zurich on the page of the joint housing office of UZH and ETH Zurich. 

Applications for the fellow year 2024/25 can be submitted until February 15, 2024 (23:59 CET). Online interviews with the applicants advancing to the next stage of the assessment are scheduled for April 11 and 12, 2024. Be sure to reserve these dates. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

Kindly provide all information requested on the online application portal and upload the following documents in PDF format.

1) Complete the application form including the following information (format your submission in Arial 10 pt, single-spaced, and stay within the given boundaries and export as PDF):

  • Provide a detailed description of your proposed project, including its title, aim, summary, context and background, as well as a detailed work plan.
  • Describe the event you plan to organize at the Collegium.
  • Write a personal statement, explaining your motivation as well as a statement about your key contributions to your field.
  • Explain why you believe the Collegium is the right place for you and your project.
  • Calculate your academic age using the information and tables provided on the last page of the form.

2) Letter of support from associate fellow: Letter of support as outlined in the information letter. Please share this information with the prospective associate fellow. The applicant is responsible for uploading the letter of support as part of the application materials.

3) Curriculum vitae including full list of publications and other relevant outcomes.

4) Passport or ID: Copy of the relevant pages of your passport. Swiss and EU/EFTA citizens can alternatively submit a copy of their ID (front and back).

5) Copy of highest degree: Please upload an official certificate or official preliminary confirmation of your doctoral degree or equivalent artistic master’s degree (for institutions without a doctoral program).

6) Supplementary information: Supplementary files as deemed necessary to support claims in relation to applicants’ academic age. Do not upload other additional materials including portfolios or writing samples.

We ask for your understanding that we can only accept complete applications.

Documents for download


Questions & contact
As we receive large numbers of applications, we ask for your understanding that we are limited in our ability to respond to questions. Hence, prior to contacting us at info(a)collegium.ethz.ch, please make sure to have read all available materials carefully. The clearer your question or needs, the easier and faster we can assist you.

We will not be able to answer questions about exceptions from eligibility criteria. If you have strong reasons why exemptions from the eligibility criteria should be made, please justify these reasons in a supplementary document and upload it with your application.

Collegium Helveticum
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