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Guidelines Prix Schläfli 2024

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 2024, four prizes will be awarded according to the following disciplines:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Geosciences
  • Mathematics

The last discipline rotates annually between Mathematics, Physics (next call in 2024) and Astronomy (next call in 2025).

Articles on clinical and pharmaceutical research are beyond the scope of the Prix Schläfli and will not be considered.

A jury is established for each of the four areas 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 November 2020 and 30 November 2023. 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 may be submitted to one of the proposed disciplines.

The supervisor or candidate should contact the SCNAT if she or he is not sure in which discipline to apply (interdisciplinary research).

In the case of interdisciplinary thesis, the dossier is submitted in a disciplinary field chosen by the candidate or supervisor. It is then important to indicate in the comments that the work is interdisciplinary and to specify which is the primary and the secondary branches by making a statement justifying the choice of the primary branch.


Only complete applications in English will be considered. Nominations must be submitted using our online form no later than 30 November 2023, 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). For the discipline Mathematics, one article or the full thesis may be submitted. The article must be accepted and published online or fully published before 30 November 2023
  • 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/mathematics
  • The extent of intellectual contribution of the candidate to the submitted work.


30 November 2023: Deadline to submit the applications
April 2024: Announcement of the outcome to the candidates
Spring 2024: 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 this venue.

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.