PhD Support


The Research Office offers a series of services designed to support PhD students in their research-related activities, such as identifying grants, doctoral schools and publication opportunities for students and postdoctoral researchers. You will also find below advice on how to write a successful grant proposal and communicate your findings, a list of academic awards and various other resources and tools.

Grants for PhD Students

Career-funding instruments are designed to support individual researchers at different levels of their professional trajectory. This table lists the major mobility and project grants that will allow PhD students to strengthen their research curriculum, develop their publication portfolio and build networks.

For specific information by the Research Commission of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) at the University of Geneva concerning SNSF’s Doc.Mobility and Early Postdoc.Mobility grants, please refer to the following documents: “Bourses de mobilité” and “Exemples de motifs de refus”.

Doctoral Schools

Doctoral schools are a great way to participate in national research networks, to exchange views and test your findings with fellow PhD students and researchers from Swiss universities working in your field. Taking part in a doctoral school will allow you to deepen your expertise in your field of specialisation and to strengthen your career skills (presenting, publishing, identifying career paths, etc.).



The Conference of Western Switzerland’s Universities (CUSO) organises a series of doctoral programmes across a broad range of disciplines and campuses (Lausanne, Geneva, Neuchâtel and Fribourg). Participants in the programmes remain enrolled in their universities and continue to receive their supervision and degrees from their home institution.

The Graduate Institute is an associated member of CUSO and its students are entitled to participate in its doctoral programmes. CUSO offers both career skills courses (e.g. on scientific writing) and specialised programmes (e.g. in contemporary history, law, political science, anthropology, sociology and gender). The language of the course may be French or English. For more information, please refer to this page (in French), to this presentation (in English) and to this flyer



The Swiss Conference of Rectors (CUS) supports additional doctoral schools to which you may also be eligible. If you seek further information on which doctoral school may be most appropriate for you, do not hesitate to contact your thesis supervisor or the Research Office.


Publication Opportunities for Postdoctoral Researchers

Publishing Grants

Graduate Institute’s Publishing Grants

The Institute encourages recently graduated students to publish their work through a fund specifically designed to support the publication of PhD theses defended at the Institute. The publication project should be submitted to the Research Office (with copy of diploma, grades and jury’s evaluation, electronic copy of the thesis, and publisher’s agreement to publish as well as terms of this agreement). Here are the full conditions and procedures to be followed.

External Publishing Grants
  • Ernst and Lucie Schmidheiny Foundation – This foundation, which aims at contributing to the development of academia in Geneva, can cover publication fees. Submission deadlines are 1 April and 1 October.
  • SNSF publication grants – The SNSF awards grants to cover the costs of digital book publications of research results that were not generated within the scope of a project funded by the SNSF. A maximum grant of CHF 12,000 can be requested for a basic digital open access publication. For doctoral theses and habilitations, a lump sum of CHF 8,000 is awarded. For a more elaborate digital publication, a maximum of CHF 22,000 can be requested.

Getting Your Thesis Published

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Once you will have completed your PhD, you will perhaps want to adapt it for publication. Here are general guidelines and resources about the quite lengthy process of turning your dissertation into a book.

For further advice on publishing an article, selecting the right publisher, writing a book proposal, open access resources and repositories, please refer to our Academic Publications page.


Publication Opportunities for Graduate Students and PhD Candidates 

You will find below a list of journals specifically dedicated to publishing the research results of graduate students and PhD candidates.

  • Foraus Global Governance Impact PapersIn collaboration with the Graduate Institute and the Global Studies Institute (GSI) at the University of Geneva, foraus, the Swiss foreign policy think-tank, publishes online on a bi-annual basis the Global Governance Impact Papers. These papers are a unique platform for academic and policy-relevant scholarship by graduate students in Geneva. They address issues related to global governance such as development, peace and security, environment, migration, international and humanitarian law or finance. The papers must be relevant to today’s policymakers and include policy implications and recommendations. Call for papers are announced annually in October.
  • Journal of Public and International Affairs (JPIA) – Premier student-run journal of policy studies, JPIA is an annual publication of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA) and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. It publishes both scholarly and expository articles on a diverse range of subjects, covering the areas of international affairs, development studies and domestic policy. Submissions are reviewed in a blind screening process by an editorial board composed of students and by contributing editors from the APSIA schools.
  • The Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) provides a list of further journals publishing work from graduate students, mostly from a policy perspective.


Journals, Books Series and Working Papers Managed at the Institute

Graduate Institute scholars edit book series, academic journals and electronic collections, in part with support of the Institute’s Resarch Office. In addition, the Institute’s research centres and programmes regularly publish working papers (see here for recent ones), reports and briefs. Some of those publishing vehicles are open to publication proposals from students and researchers.


Research Awards

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Research awards are a great opportunity to get your research recognised and boost your academic career. Below are awards attributed to outstanding doctoral research by the Institute as well as by external foundations and institutions.

  • Graduate Institute’s awards.
  • Latsis Prizes – The four University Latsis Prizes, each worth CHF 25,000, and the National Latsis Prize of CHF 100,000 are awarded annually. Their purpose is to encourage and recognise outstanding work by young researchers under the age of 40 working within the Swiss higher education system. The University Latsis Prizes are awarded by the Universities of Geneva and Saint-Gall and by the Swiss Federal Institute of technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich) and the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). The laureates are selected by the research commissions of each institution. Applications must be submitted directly to these bodies.
  • Prix de la relève/ASSH – This CHF 10,000 award of the Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences (SAHS) is granted annually by the General Assembly of the SAHS to a young researcher in the humanities or the social sciences who has published an outstanding article.
  • SNIS Award for the Best Thesis in International Studies – This CHF 5,000 award of the Swiss Network for International Studies (SNI) aims to encourage outstanding young research scientists at the beginning of their careers. It prizes the best PhD thesis received in a Swiss university on a subject related to International Studies.
  • SNIS International Geneva Award – Attributed to the three best papers published on a subject related to International Studies. The three awarded publications are prized up to CHF 5,000 each.


Communicate about Your PhD

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The competition Ma thèse en 180 secondes encourages PhD students from all disciplines to present their research projects as clearly as possible… in three minutes. Initiated by the University of Queensland (see Three Minute Thesis), it aims to cultivate PhD students’ communication skills so that they can explain their research both to an international audience of experts and fellow doctoral students as well as to the wider audience.

Since 2015 Swiss Universities have joined the contest, organising local competitions. Finalists participate in the national contest set up by the Conference of Eestern Switzerland’s Universities (CUSO) and the three laureates of this competition go to the international finals. Students from the Graduate Institute are encouraged to participate and can count on the support of the Research Office and of Communication Services.

On further ways to communicate your research results, please refer to the Communication and Media page.


How to Write a Successful Grant Proposal

This section provides documents that should help you when you are about to write a grant proposal. Access to those documents is restricted to the members of the Graduate Institute’s community, i.e. you must first log in via the “Login” or “Se connecter” button at the bottom of this page.

This presentation (first log in) contains useful tips on how to write a convincing application; in addition, you will find below scientific proposals of successful grant applications to various funding instruments which their authors have been kind enough to share with the Graduate Institute’s research community. They can serve as examples and sources of inspiration for writing your own successful application.


Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) – Doc.CH
Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) – Doc.Mobility


Resources and Tools for PhD Students


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The following resources, ranging from free software to search engines and blogs offering personalised advice, should help PhD students with their research work. Many are little-known gems that are well worth exploring.


General Resources

  • APSIA – Visit the Fellowships and Scholaships database of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA)
  • The Academic Adviser – A blog of the Direction of Studies of the Graduate Institute, with useful news on research calls, funding and job opportunities, etc.
  • Top 50 Blogs Every Graduate Student Should Read – This page from the blog of PhD Programs Online is intended “for your sanity, for tools to help you study and stay tech-savvy, and for financial reasons”.
  • Web-Based Reference Tools – This page of the Social Psychology Network allows you to search social science databases, translate foreign language terms, or even convert physical measurement units.
  • Where to Publish – A page of PhD on Track, a resource for PhD students who are beginning their research career and who want to learn more about information and literature on conducting research.

Free Software

Free Software – A directory of free software provided by the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL).


Search Engines and More

From Zotero to EasyBib, these websites present precious tools for researchers and doctoral students:

PhD Life

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Here are additional resources and tips to achieve your thesis’ objectives. Some of them are dedicated to illustrating the joys and hardships of being a PhD student. They may help you, with a touch of humour, find inspiration and solace when struggling with your thesis.

  • Assieds-toi et écris ta thèse ! Trucs pratiques pour la rédaction scientifique – une conférence de Geneviève Belleville, professeure à l'Université Laval, Québec, donnée à l’Université de Strasbourg en juillet 2015 et à écouter sur
  • Carnets de thèse – a comic book by Tiphaine Rivière (Paris: Seuil, 2015). Borrowable up to seven days at the Graduate Institute’ Library, call number: 378(44) HEIA 108699.
  • EnthèSe and Réussir sa thèse – two resources (a PhD Student association and a blog) in French with advice on how to successfully complete your PhD.
  • How to Write a PhD in A Hundred Steps (or More) – useful advice on how to conceive and organise your Phd, workplan, research questions, ethics issues, etc.
  • PhD Comics (“PhD” for “Piled Higher and Deeper”) – classic and unequalled cartoons.
  • PhD Life – a blog of the University of Warwick about the trials, tribulations and triumph of pursuing a doctorate. There are also many helpful posts on how to be better skilled at, for instance, using Facebook as a research, managing an academic blog or publishing in journals.
  • Ten Great Blogs for PhD Students – a page of PhDTalk, a blog that gathers resources, discussions and links of interest for PhD students based on the experience of Dr. Eva Langtoght.
  • The Thesis Whisperer – a  blog newspaper dedicated to helping research students everywhere and edited by Dr Inger Mewburn, Director of Research Training at the Australian National University.

Support and Contact

The Research Office offers a one-stop information desk supporting researchers at the Graduate Institute. Our mission is to support doctoral researchers by

  • providing information on external funding available to doctoral researchers and doctoral schools;
  • supporting doctoral researchers formulating funding proposals by offering input on formal requirements and budgets;
  • offering advice on publishing opportunities for PhD students.

Contact: Dominic Eggel, Research Advisor.