The call for proposals 2021 is now closed. Thank you for your submissions. The next call of the Polar Access Fund will open in November 2021.

About the Polar Access Fund

The Polar Access Fund should enable young researchers (see definition below) to undertake a (first) field trip to a polar region (or a remote high-altitude area). The research conducted during the field trip must be inserted into an existing overarching 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 (indicative) and must be part of a broader already funded research project/PhD work (overarching project). The organisation, logistics and choice of destination must be undertaken independently by the applicant.

The field trip can be undertaken in any polar region, Arctic or Antarctic. Field trips to remote high-altitude regions, such as the Andes or Himalaya, are also eligible.

The field trip 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 at the time of the proposal submission) working at a Swiss public research institution is eligible to apply.

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 call’s general aims, the definition of the call’s target public, eligible costs 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 (overarching 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 consists of:

1) Completed online application form

2) Attachments to be uploaded into online form as PDF:

  • CV of the applicant, including a publication list as PDF (compulsory – free format)
  • Letter of support by supervisor at Swiss affiliated institution as PDF (compulsory – free format)
  • Letter of support by local partner as PDF (optional – free format)

Incomplete proposals will be considered ineligible and will not be evaluated.

The deadline for submission will be 20 January 2021, 12:00 (Swiss time). The online application form will be closed on the deadline date. No late applications will be accepted – no exceptions!


Eligible proposals submitted before the deadline will be evaluated by an external scientific evaluation panel appointed 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 overarching research project
  • Potential of the applicant
  • Added-value of the field trip for the applicant and his career
  • Feasibility (methodology and logistics)

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

For any additional information or clarification, please contact: .

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

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