National MD-PhD Grants Program

The SAMS and the Swiss National Science Foundation, with the support of private foundations and in collaboration with the Swiss School of Public Health, have awarded each year since 1992 a limited number of competitive individual MD-PhD grants. The aim of the program is to equip medical doctors interested in research with the skills necessary for a career as clinician and scientist.

MD-PhD grants enable particularly talented young physicians to complete a doctoral research training in natural sciences, public health sciences, clinical research or biomedical ethics at a Swiss university. Grants can be awarded for a minimum of 2 to a maximum of 3 years. The synopsis (see below) gives an overview of grantees.


Participation requirements

Applicants must have successfully completed their studies in human, veterinary or dental medicine and be admitted as doctoral students in one of the local MD-PhD programs associated with the National Grants Program by the time of the grant start. They must have been residents of Switzerland for at least 2 years by the submission deadline. Complete participation requirements and evaluation criteria are described in the program regulations.


Submission of applications

There is currently no deadline for the next submission of applications.


Funders involved in the program

in alphabetical order


Dementia Research – Synapsis Foundation Switzerland (SSS)
Monique Dornonville de la Cour Foundation (MDC)
Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences (SAMS)
Swiss Cancer Research (KFS)
Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)
Théodore Ott Fund (SAMS)
Zinkernagel Research Foundation (FSZ)


The Swiss School of Public Health provides ideational support to the national grants program.


Future of the program as of 2025

The 2024 grants conclude the last joint call for applications of the national MD-PhD program with the SNSF. The SNSF has indeed decided to focus its career support portfolio on the postdoctoral level from 2025 onwards.


As selective instrument and seal of scientific quality, the national program contributes to the attractivity and visibility of the MD-PhD career track. It also serves as a benchmark for local MD-PhD programs. The SAMS remains convinced of the importance of individual funding options to motivate talented young physicians to engage in research and to acquire a solid scientific foundation early on in their career.


Thanks to the new partnerships that have been established, and those currently under discussion, the SAMS hopes to continue the program with a next call for applications early 2025. Details will be published here and via newsletter when the commitment of new partners is confirmed.


Funding and management of the grants awarded until mid 2024 is ensured.


Career trajectories of MD-PhD grantees

We conducted a survey of former MD-PhD grantees to assess whether the national MD-PhD program is reaching its goals and paving the way for a career as physician-scientist. The data collected suggest that this is indeed the case: eight years or more after completing their MD-PhD – when most grantees have accessed a stable position – 55% hold a paid position in research, 64% continue their scientific activity in a university hospital and 25% are professors.


Our analysis further shows that the program supports talented young physicians, the majority of whom reach leadership positions and maintain strong links with research and clinical practice throughout their careers.


The full study on the career trajectories of grant recipients of the national MD-PhD program since its creation in 1992 is published in Swiss Medical Weekly.

Read the article




Dr. Myriam Tapernoux
Head of Department
Tel. +41 31 306 92 76