About SPI Flagship Initiatives

The official launch and first call for proposals of the SPI Flagship Initiatives are planned for Jan/Feb 2021. Flagship Initiatives will be multi-annual programmes combining science and technology projects from different disciplines and different groups/institutions in Switzerland around a polar focus region. The funding will be focused on field campaigns (logistics, safety, etc.), data management, outreach, and programme coordination, thus providing temporary infrastructure for a Swiss-led polar research programme.

Timeline & Multi-stage Proposal Process

The official launch for the SPI Flagship Initiatives will be in 2021, when detailed information will become available on our website. The call for proposals will follow a multi-stage process, with pre-proposals due in April 2021 and proposals due in October 2021.


All researchers affiliated to a Swiss public research institution with an interest in polar or remote high-altitude regions will be invited to prepare and submit proposals. Multi-disciplinary collaboration will be a central element of SPI Flagship Initiatives. The SPI Flagship Initiatives should not be approached as single research projects but as programmes bringing together and coordinating different groups and research questions with a similar regional focus.

International collaboration is fundamental to polar research and encouraged within the SPI-Flagship Initiative framework. Collaboration and data exchange with existing international and regional initiatives is expected and supported. Direct funding (e.g. transport to field sites) will be reserved for scientists employed by a Swiss research institution, and it is expected that all research clusters will be Swiss led. However, as the majority of funding for a SPI-Flagship Initiative is envisioned to go towards logistics, international partners can 'pay their own way', and benefit from logistical and safety infrastructure provided by SPI Flagship Initiative funds.

Geographic Focus

SPI Flagship Initiatives are expected to be organised around a strong regional focus in order to maximise scientific (multi-disciplinary) synergies and optimise logistics as well as international collaboration. However, comparative studies visiting targeting different field sites over the course of a programme are also possible.

The call for proposals will be open to proposals in any polar or remote high-altitude region.


Details on the budget available for SPI Flagship Initiatives are currently still under discussion and details will become available at the launch of the programme in Jan/Feb 2021.

Additional Information as PDF