Calls and Project Selection Process
The selection of projects is key to ensure that the funding will create new knowledge and tangible results that exceed the state-of-the-art in advanced manufacturing and will have a significant positive impact on the Swiss industry.
The Steering Committee issues several calls for projects proposals. The selection of project proposals is organized as a two-stage procedure with pre-proposals and full proposals.
The call for project proposals in the Initial Program is already closed. Out of the submitted 18 pre-proposals, the Steering Committee selected seven research projects which are funded in the Initial Program. The project consortia started their research activities in the first half of 2017.
The call for project proposals in the Expansion Program was officially issued on 31 May 2017. In this second call, 15 project consortia submitted their pre-proposals. The Steering Committee selected four research projects which are funded in the Expansion Program. The projects consortia started their research activities in the first quarter of 2018.
A further call for project proposals in the Continuation Program in the Period 2021-2024 was issued on 15 June 2020.
Addressing a key challenge
The research activities in the SFA Advanced Manufacturing should address a key challenge in at least one of the Technical Focus Areas (TFAs). Such a challenge may be a concrete and pressing technical problem in advanced manufacturing to which the solution is not known but can be tackled by one or a few consortia of Swiss research groups. The formulation of the challenge shall be narrow enough to allow focused research, but broad enough to allow for different routes to a solution, to impact several areas of technology and to involve several groups of researchers. The formulation of the challenge is such that the problems to be solved are quantified.
Project Selection Criteria
The Steering Committee as well as the international reviewers will use a set of criteria to evaluate and select the project proposals. Principal Investigators (PIs) and co-PIs should take these criteria mentioned below into account when preparing their project proposals.
a) Thematic Fit: The project proposal is related to at least one of the Technical Focus Areas that are mentioned in the call for project proposals.
b) Industrial Importance: It addresses a key challenge that is of high importance for the successful industrial application of advanced manufacturing technologies.
a) Fundamental Research: The solution to the problem is subject to fundamental research in engineering sciences and allows for high impact publications.
b) Engineering Education: The project drives the education of engineers at the cutting edge of advanced manufacturing.
a) Far-reaching Objectives: The objectives of the project are far-reaching and measurable. They exceed the state of the art significantly.
b) Early Breakthrough: One milestone is demonstrating significant breakthrough after 24 months.
a) Tangible Solutions: The solutions are tangible and/or are demonstrated with functional Demonstrators.
b) Applicable Results: Results can be applied in Swiss companies by start-ups and/or by direct transfer and will have a positive impact on the Swiss industry.
a) Technical Feasibility: The objectives are realistic and technically achievable.
b) Reasonable Approach: The project plan is reasonable and the approach is suitable to achieve the objectives. The competences and resources needed to meet the plan will be available.
6 Use of Funds
a) Project Consortium: The project is carried out by a consortium of PIs from different ETH institutions.
b) Talent Hiring: Most of the budget is used for hiring young talents (PhD students, Postdocs).
c) Equipment Purchase: The amount for the purchase of equipment does not exceed 20 percent of the total project funding and the purchased equipment is made available to PIs across the ETH Domain.