PostDoc and higher scientific staff

You have a PhD and are looking for at postdoctoral position in Switzerland. Below is some basic information about possibilities and practices in Switzerland.

A postdoc can be done in one of the 12 official universities. Private companies and research centres offer some postdoctoral positions as well, especially in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

To start a postdoc, you usually need to have a PhD from a recognized university. Doctoral titles from industrialized nations are usually recognized. The university and/or the professor who will employ you can tell you if you satisfy the conditions for a postdoc and if you match the profile wanted.

How long?
There is no standard duration for a postdoc but it is usually between 1 and 6 years depending on the research field and the university. Many universities have time limits, i.e., the maximum contract for a postdoc is limited to 6 years. The duration may also be related to research grants that are limited in time.

How much?
Postdoctoral researchers are normally hired by a university or sometimes by a company. The salary varies greatly from place to place: from CHF 3,000 to more than CHF 8,000 per month (see salary). The salary must be indicated in the contract of employment. Funding can come from the university, from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) or from third-party funds and is often a mix of these sources.

Working conditions vary from institution to institution but postdocs are generally employed full time. Usually, this time is used for research activities but depending on funding and work contract, postdocs may also be involved in teaching activities. However, giving regular lectures is in principle reserved for professors and official lecturers [Oberassistent (DE), maƮtre-assistant (FR)].

How to proceed?
Find out which university or company is carrying out research in your field, then find the professor or research group whose work interests you most and contact him/her directly to ask about postdoc opportunities.

You will also find postdoc positions through the science job portal of

And afterwards?
In Switzerland, there are different kind of professorships: Ordinary or extraordinary professor (permanent positions), assistant professor, tenure track professor, SNSF professor (fixed-term positions) or professor at an university of applied sciences (permanent position with emphasis on teaching).

Find more information about these professorships.