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Guidelines Prix Schläfli 2025

Prix Schläfli

Awarding outstanding Swiss PhDs in natural sciences

The Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT) awards the Prix Schläfli for scientific articles resulting from PhDs that make major contributions to key questions in their respective fields. In 2025, four prizes will be awarded in the following disciplines:

  • Biology*
  • Chemistry
  • Geosciences
  • Physics**

A jury is established for each of the four disciplines in order to evaluate the candidates and choose the laureates.

The prize includes a monetary award of CHF 5’000.

Eligibility is limited to young researchers who completed their doctoral thesis at a Swiss university, or Swiss nationals who completed their doctoral thesis abroad. Candidates must have defended their doctoral thesis between 1 December 2021 and 30 November 2024. Nominations may only be submitted by the candidate’s doctoral supervisor or by the president of an SCNAT member society.

Only one article per nomination can be submitted in one of the four disciplines.

In the case of an interdisciplinary thesis, the dossier is submitted in a subject area chosen by the candidate or supervisor. In this case, it is important to indicate in the comments that it is an interdisciplinary thesis and to justify which is the primary and which is the secondary discipline. The supervisor or candidate should contact the SCNAT if she or he is not sure in which discipline to apply.

*Articles on clinical and pharmaceutical research are beyond the scope of the Prix Schläfli and will not be considered.
**The last discipline rotates annually between Mathematics (next call in 2026), Physics and Astronomy (next call in 2025).


Only complete applications in English will be considered. Nominations must be submitted using our online form no later than 30 November 2024, including the following documents:

  • Recommendation letter from the doctoral supervisor or the president of the SCNAT member society nominating the candidate (max. 2 pages)***. The supervisor or the president must specify the contribution of the nominee if the article in question has multiple authors;
  • CV of the candidate (max. 2 pages);
  • One article from the PhD (or 1–2 chapters of a monograph thesis). The article must be accepted and published online or fully published before 30 November 2024;
  • Motivation letter from the candidate (max. 2 pages). The letter should contain three major achievements from the thesis and the reason why the selected article has been submitted.

***We would highly appreciate that supervisors consult existing sources regarding the choice of wording in recommendation letters, and its differential effect, with regard to male vs female candidates.

Selection critera

The jury screens recommendation letters, CVs, articles and motivation letters for

  • The relevance of the research question, and the results, for the discipline of biology/chemistry/geosciences/physics;
  • The extent of intellectual contribution of the candidate to the submitted work.


30 November 2024: Deadline to submit the applications
End of March 2025: Announcement of the outcome to the candidates
Spring 2025: Communication of the names of the laureates and official press release

Award ceremonies are organized no later than one year after the official announcement of the laureates. The SCNAT provides a financial support for the participation at these venues.

For the last two years, we almost didn’t receive any applications coming from women supervisors and therefore hope that the balance will change this year.