Collegium Helveticum

A shared place for research

The fellowship program offers researchers and artists an open and thriving atmosphere. In the unique environment of the Semper Observatory, fellows are free to pursue their projects and exchange ideas across disciplines.

Semper Observatory

The Collegium Helveticum is located in the Semper Observatory, a former federal observatory, which was converted in the mid-1990s into a place for cross-disciplinary research and exchange. Designed in interdisciplinary collaboration between a distinguished astronomer and a renowned architect, the Semper Observatory originally served as a center for sunspot research, metereology, and time-keeping from the 1860s onward. Since 1981, the Semper Observatory has been recognized as a listed building of national importance. The building lies in the heart of Zurich’s university quarter, next to the main campuses of ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich, and in close proximity to libraries, archives, museums, theatres, and the opera house. The Zurich University of the Arts is twenty minutes away by public transport.

Due to its listed status and specific architectural design, the building is not optimized for accessibility. You can find detailed on the building’s accessibility and limitations here. If you have any accessibility related questions as a current or prospective fellow, please reach out.


Early-career fellows and some senior fellows are employed full-time, work in a shared office, and are provided with a laptop, access to IT services and library infrastructure, and a full-time postdoc salary for ten months. Fellows whose work requires access to laboratory infrastructure or artists’ studio space, can request to work up to forty percent of their time outside of the Semper Observatory.

Most senior fellows are affiliated part-time, make use of the Collegium’s pool desks, have access to IT services and library infrastructure, and are provided with a monthly stipend as contribution to their living costs.

Atmosphere and support

A diverse group of fellows allows for fresh perspectives and surprising connections. The Collegium is a place of casual encounters and exchange across disciplines. It is also an event space open to the public, where fellows have the opportunity to organize events around their work, enganging different audiences. The Collegium is a family-friendly workplace, and nurtures a fair and respectful work environment.

The Collegium’s committed and effective team of staff supports fellows in their projects, events, and issues related to their fellowship.