The call for proposals 2020 is now closed. We thank all the participants for their submission. The next call for proposals for the 2021 edition will be issued in November 2020.


About the Polar Access Fund

The Polar Access Fund enables young researchers (see definition below) to undertake their first field trip to a polar region. The research conducted during the field trip must contribute towards an existing project (e.g. to enlarge its scope or for comparisons) and be related to the issue of climate change.

Funding of up to 20’000 CHF can be granted to each successfully evaluated proposal. The Polar Access Fund is co-funded by the Swiss Polar Institute and the BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation.

Field Trip

The field trip can last up to 12 weeks and must be part of a broader, already-funded research project or PhD. The organisation, logistics and choice of destination must be undertaken independently by the applicant.

The field trip can be undertaken in either polar region, the Arctic or Antarctic. Field trips to remote high-altitude regions, the so-called “Third pole”, such as the Andes or Himalayas are also eligible.

It must be completed within 18 months of the award of the grant (exceptions can be granted if duly justified).

Target Public and Thematic Areas

Any doctoral student or early post-doctoral researcher (maximum 36 months after the PhD award date at  the time of the proposal submission) working at a Swiss University or research institution is eligible to apply. This deadline will be handled strictly. The SPI can decide to grant exceptions and extend this period for up to 12 months for special circumstances (illness, maternity leave, etc.) if substantiated evidence is submitted. The nationality of the applicant is not an eligibility criterion.

This call is open to all disciplines interested in working in the above regions. Interdisciplinary initiatives as well as initiatives from, e.g., Social Sciences, Humanities and Economics, are also encouraged. All proposals should underline the link of their project with issues related to climate change.


Applicants are reminded to study the eligibility rules for this call closely. Ineligible applications will not be submitted for evaluation. To be eligible, proposals must notably respect the definition of the call’s target public as well as geographic focus. Proposals for field trips which are not taking place in the frame of an already approved and funded research project will be considered ineligible.

Applicants who have already been on field trips in polar regions will not be declared ineligible but should duly explain which trips have been completed and how the presently submitted field trip distinguishes itself from previous opportunities.


A complete application file consists of:

    1. Completed online application form (contact, main information and proposal) +
    2. Attachments to be uploaded into online application form as pdf:
      • CV of the applicant, incl. publication list in pdf (compulsory – free format)
      • Letter of support by supervisor at Swiss home institution in pdf (compulsory – free format)
      • Letter of support by local partner in pdf (optional – free format).

All application documents must be uploaded through the online application form. Applications sent by email will not be accepted.

Incomplete proposals will be considered ineligible.


Eligible proposals submitted before the deadline will be evaluated by an evaluation panel set up by the Swiss Polar Institute.

The evaluation criteria will be the following:

  • scientific merit of the field trip
  • added-value of the field trip to the research project it contributes to
  • potential of the applicant
  • added-value of the field trip for the applicant and his career
  • feasibility (methodology and logistics)

Evaluation results will be communicated to applicants at the latest 3 months after the application deadline. Successful applicants will receive a grant agreement (contract) from SPI specifying the grant’s conditions (reporting, payments, etc).

For any additional information or clarification, please contact:

Visit the pages dedicated to the beneficiaries of the Polar Access Fund and their project:

Logos SPI + BNP Paribas