R4D – Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development


The Covid-19 pandemic affects all of us. The r4d programme is eager to exert flexibility and supports well justified changes in research plans and adapted timelines.

The network of r4d research partners needs to be able to sustain its activities and to plan ahead as much as possible during the Covid-19 pandemic. Research for development, carried out in our 50 partner countries is even more important as well as more difficult these days.

As the r4d programme is implemented by the Swiss National Science Foundation we adhere to the official statements of the SNSF, published last week and updated on a regular basis on www.snf.ch/en/http://www.snf.ch/en/researchinFocus/newsroom/Pages/news-200319-pandemic-flexible-solutions-for-researchers.aspx.

The r4d programme would like to emphasise particularly two points:

Researchers’ salaries: The salaries of staff employed on SNSF-funded projects and all other costs relevant to the project will be paid by the SNSF via the higher education institutions until the official end of the project. This continues to apply even if work at the institute is suspended in-between.

Adherence to timetable and budget: As far as possible, research work should be organised in a way that allows the project to finish on time without exceeding its budget. However, if your research project is delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, you may apply for a cost-neutral extension of your grant pursuant to the relevant regulations. You can submit such an extension application via the “Messages/Requests” data container of your project in mySNF.

Based on Article 36 of the Funding Regulations of the SNSF, you have further the option to apply for a supplementary grant for project completion. You can submit the application via the “Supplementary grants” data container of your project in mySNF.

Concerning supplementary grants, the r4d programme works within a fixed global budget frame. It has reserve funds and will provide these funds as supplementary grants to ongoing r4d projects in well justified cases and within its budgetary limits.

Concerning research activities in our r4d partner countries, we do not provide specific recommendations except that they must not increase the risk of the well-being of the local population (and researchers) and should not violate the regulations of the national authorities to fight the corona pandemic.

Overall, the r4d programme guarantees flexibility to adjusted research plans based on the justification provided by the project teams. Since many projects are in the final year (i.e. Food Security, Ecosystems, Open Call 2), an enhanced focus on analysis and publication would possibly be a way forward to stay active and to adhere to the original project duration.

Also, we encourage the research partnership teams to start searching for new funds, if collaborations proofed to be fruitful and productive. In that respect, the SNSF instrument SPIRIT is a funding line that could be envisaged for preparing new pre-proposals: http://www.snf.ch/en/funding/programmes/spirit/Pages/default.aspx.

Please do not hesitate to get back to us in case of further questions.

To conclude, we would like to cite a research partner from Nepal: “Be safe, stay safe and save others.”



The Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development (r4d programme) supports excellent scientific research that contributes to the solution of global problems. It aims at reducing poverty and global risks and at making public goods available in developing countries. The research is organised in five thematic modules and a thematically open module.

People carrying food stuffs walk past a checkpoint

Third thematically open call!

The thematically open module invites high-quality research that contributes to the solution of global problems in least developed, low- and middle income countries. The topics in this module emerge bottom-up by the researchers.

​The third thematically open call of the r4d programme supports research on global issues in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Global issues are understood as issues that have common causes and require common solutions that go beyond national borders. These global issues should be examined with a particular focus on the nexus and trade-offs of the sustainable development goals. Accordingly, the research questions of the projects in the third thematically open call should investigate synergies and dilemmas that exist in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and produce transformative knowledge that will suggest development pathways to reduced poverty and increased sustainability. Research approaches that support evidence-based decision-making and evidence-based policy are particularly encouraged. Although the direct implementation of the achieved result is not expected within the duration of the research project, the projects have to demonstrate a potential for implementation.

The evaluation procedure is structured into two stages (pre-proposals, full proposals). The evaluation and selection process is fully competitive. Each funded project has a running time of maximally 4 years and a total budget of about CHF 600’000.

The total budget available for the 3rd Thematically Open Call is CHF 5.5 million, from which 8-10 projects can be funded.

mySNF opens for this call on 27 March 2017. Deadline for submitting pre-proposals via mySNF: 12 June 2017, 17:00.




The r4d programme is embeded in the sustainable development discourse. It has the following objectives:

  • to generate scientific knowledge and research-based solutions for reducing poverty and global risks in least developed, low- and middle income countries;
  • to offer national and international stakeholders methods and options for finding integrated, holistic approaches to solving problems;
  • to enhance scientific skills and know-how in dealing with the complexity of global problems for the benefit of societies in developing and emerging countries.

Research foci


Research within the r4d programme is either thematically open or focuses on the following five themes:

The selection of themes reflects the strategic priorities of the SDC (2013-2016). The formulation of calls in the five thematic modules was jointly elaborated by the members of the respective Review Panel, the SDC and the SNSF.

Development Relevance and Impact 


The criteria of scientific quality and development relevance are of equal importance for the selection and evaluation of projects.

All projects are carried out within transnational research partnerships. The r4d programme strongly supports the adherence of the KFPE Principles (A Guide for Transboundary Research Partnerships – 11 Principles). The elaboration of a results framework and a pathway to impact are requirements for all projects. 10% to 15% of the funds must be used for communication and application. A share of 50% of the academic personnel (person months) must be employed in the partner countries and a minimum of 40% of the total project budget must go to the partners in least developed, low and lower middle income countries.

Synthesis Work 


The r4d programme and the thematic modules conclude with synthesis products targeted at various communities in science, policy, practice, and civil society.

The Steering Committee mandates the programme synthesis work.
The respective Review Panels mandate the module syntheses work.

Calls for Bidding will be launched earliest in the beginning of 2016.



Database Details

Current Research
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Thematic Focus
Agriculture, Biodiversity and Sustainability, Digital Communication / ICTs, Governance and Accountability, Knowledge Production and Transfer, Life Sciences and Health, Mobility and Migration, Open Topic, Peace and Security, Poverty Reduction


Applicant’s Country
Switzerland, EU, other, Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Djibouti, DR Congo, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunesia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Allowed Usage

Applicant’s Position
PostDoc, Researcher, Consortium

Cycle Type
Repeated irregularly

Partner Required

12. June 2017
Last Modification
15. April 2020