The aim of Spark is to fund the rapid testing or development of new scientific approaches, methods, theories, standards, ideas for applications, etc. It is intended for projects that show unconventional thinking and introduce a unique approach. The focus is on promising ideas of high originality, relying on no or very little preliminary data. Taking risks is very welcome, but not a requirement in itself. The focus is on projects or ideas that are unlikely to be funded by other available funding schemes.
It is open to any applicant with a doctorate or equivalent qualifications. Spark is a pilot funding scheme for 2019-2020.
The proposals are evaluated in a double-blind reviewing process (i.e. the identity of the applicant will not be disclosed to the evaluators). In this way, the SNSF aims to ensure that the evaluation will focus on the idea for the project. A decision within three months after the submission will ensure rapid funding.
Applicants can request between CHF 50,000 and CHF 100,000 for a project duration of six to twelve months. The project must start within three months after the decision.