Collegium Helveticum

The Collegium Helveticum is committed to intellectual freedom and the freedom to question and exchange ideas. The privilege of academic freedom enjoyed by the fellows at the Collegium Helveticum creates a responsibility beyond the local institutional framework. Therefore, the Collegium decided in 2022 to join both the international and the Swiss Scholars at Risk networks and reach out to scholars and scientists facing the threat of political persecution. With the financial support of the OPO Foundation and the Foundation for Basic Research in Human Sciences (SHG Foundation), the Collegium invites applications for a fellowship for scholars at risk. If you are hosted as scholar at risk at one of the Collegium’s supporting institutions, you can also apply as a scholar at risk for a senior fellowship to participate one day per week (with a contribution to your costs of living of CHF 1’000 per month and a budget for organizing a public event of up to CHF 800 per month) in the Collegium’s fellowship program. Please find more information following the link to the senior fellowship program above.


Scholars at risk may be professors, researchers, or lecturers with a history of employment at an academic institution of higher education facing high levels of direct risk. We ask applicants to provide documentation of their status as scholar at risk by submitting one of the following:

  • acknowledgment as scholar at risk by the SAR network or
  • acknowledgment as scholar at risk by a Swiss university as part of the SNSF actions to support scholars at risk or
  • statement of your situation with supporting documentation of an immediate threat

In addition, the Collegium Helveticum would be an ideal environment if:

  • you seek to benefit from and contribute to a vibrant community fostering interdisciplinary exchange 
  • your research transgresses disciplinary boundaries

Do you need to be acknowledged as a scholar at risk? The New York office of the international scholars at risk network assesses your situation and provides documentation that acknowledges you as scholar at risk.

If you are a scholar at risk looking to connect with colleagues in Zurich and are interested in interdisciplinary exchange, feel free to contact Mario Wimmer.

About the fellowship

The Collegium Helveticum SAR residential fellowships are open to researchers from all disciplines represented at ETH Zurich, University of Zurich (UZH), and the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) who face immediate political threat. If you have contact with a faculty member in your field at one of our three supporting universities, please ask them to write a short letter of support and submit it with your application. The supporting faculty member becomes an associate fellow.

SAR fellows usually are employed as postdoctoral researchers or affiliated as academic guests at ETH Zurich for up to six months. They are free to pursue their individual research as proposed with the application and take part in the Collegium’s artistic and academic program. The duration of the fellowship is contingent available funds as well as on your situation and stage of career. Details of the contract are subject to negotiations.


SAR fellows are provided with a desk, access to IT and library infrastructure as well as a computer, if required. Associate fellows may agree to integrate fellows into their group part-time and provide infrastructure for their research. Since the Collegium cannot provide laboratory infrastructure or studio space, SAR fellows can arrange to use up to 40% 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 directorate. The Collegium Helveticum cannot provide housing for its SAR fellows but may be able to provide access to ETH housing at the fellow’s expense. 

Attendance and participation

SAR 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. SAR 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.


Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online form. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered. If you have any questions about the fellowship program, please contact Deputy Director Mario Wimmer.

We look forward to receiving your online application including the following documents in PDF format:

  • Description of the research you would like to pursue during your fellowship and why this fits the interdisciplinary environment of the Collegium Helveticum (2-3 pp)
  • Documentation of your status as scholar at risk
  • Curriculum vitae including full list of publications and other relevant output
  • Copy of passport or ID
  • Copy of visa (if applicable)
  • Copy of PhD certificate
  • Associate fellow’s letter of support (if available)

Don’t miss the next application window for fellowships!