There are 3 calls, scheduled as followed:
CALL 1: July 2, 2018 – October 12, 2018 (closed)
CALL 2: December 3, 2018 – February 1, 2019 (closed)
Decision notification: March 22, 2019
CALL 3: April 1, 2019 – June 28, 2019
Each call ends at 24:00 ECT
Applications to GlobalP3HS are done through our online application platform only.
50 fellowships are available for a maximum duration of 42 months each under GlobalP3HS. There is no limited number of prospective students that are selected during each call. Hence it is a very competitive selection, we consider that the three calls will open. However, we recommend applying for Call 1 or Call 2.
GlobalP3HS is a new addition to the SSPH+ activities to strengthen the PhD track in public health sciences. It is the first fellowship program. In light of very well established structured PhD programs offered by SSPH+ leaders, GlobalP3HS does not create an independent educational program. However, each student accepted as PhD student and funded through GlobalP3HS has to enroll in one of the SSPH+ structured or local PhD programs; a choice that the PhD student will discuss with her/his main supervisor. Special events and workshops tailored to the needs of GlobalP3HS students will complement the structured offer.
The “sandwich model” is a specific model of PhD supervision, in which the PhD student is supervised at least by two supervisors: namely (1) one main supervisor from a Swiss university and (2) one co-supervisor from a partner institution in a low or middle-income country (LMIC). A main condition of this model is that the main supervisor is a SSPH+ Faculty member. The LMIC in question can but must not be the home country of the prospective PhD student.
The sandwich model’s key purpose is building sustainable collaborations between institutions in Switzerland and a LMIC. It thus fosters 1) the research network between the two countries, 2) facilitates fieldwork done in the LMIC, where the PhD student may spend several weeks per year and 3) the job market integration of the PhD student after obtaining the doctoral degree (PhD).
Swiss universities have their own supervisor regulations. In many cases (especially in the Swiss German part of Switzerland), a second supervisor from the Swiss host university may be required and the external co-supervisor will then formally act as the “third supervisor”. Regarding their supervision, PhD students under the GlobalP3HS sandwich model have thus to comply with rules and regulations of their host university in Switzerland.
Please note that candidates from LMICs may also apply without the sandwich model. This is not a requirement, although an option encouraged and appreciated by GlobalP3HS.
LMICs, an umbrella term, stands for low and middle-income countries. According to the Worldbank, these countries fall under this definition.
What would be responsibilities of the partner institution / co-mentor / candidate in the partnership?
The responsibilities of the co-supervisor in LMIC will be defined and discussed with the main supervisor here in Switzerland based on the Swiss university’s regulations that define the role of co-supervisors, which vary from university to university. The host university in LMIC, however, has no administrative charge when it comes to the PhD student’s enrollment as the student will enroll only at a Swiss university. The PhD student’s responsibilities are that s/he takes part in establishing and maintaining the partnership through yearly formal (and, of course, informal) written rapports submitted to her/his supervisors and GlobalP3HS.
The contractual partnership will be established through the main PhD supervisor at the Swiss university in discussion with the co-supervisor at LMIC. The PhD studies may build on pre-established collaborations too. In every case, GlobalP3HS funded partnerships need to comply with the KFPE principles of transboundary collaborations. The terms of the partnership will be outlined and confirmed in a Researcher Declaration (see below) that all parties involved (the PhD student included) will sign.
No. In the case that the PhD student joins GlobalP3HS under the sandwich model, the doctoral degree is provided by the Swiss university only. Universities (in Switzerland and LMIC) have their own rules for joint PhDs. If this is what the PhD student likes to pursue, all discussions and negotiations must be led by her/himself and must be supported and assisted by her/his main supervisor at the chosen university. Neither GlobalP3HS nor SSPH+ engage in such negotiations.
Which criteria does a co-supervisor from the LMIC institution need to meet under the sandwich model?
There are three fixed criteria defined by SSPH+ in regard to the co-supervisor from LMIC: (1) the co-supervisor must hold a position at a university in LMIC, (2) the co-supervisor has to be qualified to supervise PhD students (must hold a professorship or a similar academic title), and, of course, (3) the co-supervisor should also be an excellent match for the student’s PhD research proposal.
The (field)work in LMIC must take up 30% to 50% of the total PhD period; varying depending on the arrangements with the main supervisor, regulations of the Swiss university, and the needs of the PhD research. Additionally, this varies also during the PhD education. While during the fieldwork period the stay in LMIC may be longer, the PhD student might only return for short stays during the writing period of the PhD.
Yes, one condition to partake in GlobalP3HS is to enroll at a Swiss university and to spend most of the time during the PhD education in Switzerland (50-70%).
With which country should research proposals under the sandwich model deal – LMIC, Switzerland or both?
Typically, the sandwich model is tailored to the needs of research done in response to scientific and societal demands of a LMIC. This may include comparative studies involving any other countries.
Is the stipend only payed for the time periods spent in Switzerland when applying under the sandwich model?
No, the stipend is paid without interruption for the entire PhD studies, up to 42 months (including an internship and fieldwork).
No, the stipend does not cover the costs of the PhD research. The PhD student needs to clarify the funding of her/his research with the supervisor(s). Some universities or faculties may require proof of full funding of the research project needed for the PhD studies at time of registration.
No. GlobalP3HS PhD students are not allowed to work another job as they should exclusively work on their research. Complementary skills training (e.g. teaching activity as part of the research training) is only possible, if it does not jeopardize the PhD student’s research. The GlobalP3HS internship, however, is part of the stipend and in such not considered as “outside work” although done at another institution of your choice.
GlobalP3HS only indicates the earliest possible beginning dates. We are fully aware that administrative processes are long and differ from university to university and country to country. This means that the starting date of the PhD studies will be determined with the main supervisor in Switzerland and not by GlobalP3HS. In addition, every Swiss university has its own rules and deadlines, which SSPH+ has no control over. Furthermore, visa applications may take a couple of weeks (usually 3 months) which will also determine the starting date of the PhD studies.
The admittance date only becomes important should it interfere with the eligibility criteria of the 4 year-rule.
Only the Swiss university at which the PhD student is immatriculated for her/his PhD studies, and where your supervisor is affiliated as a faculty member can provide the doctoral degree. SSPH+ is a foundation and thus cannot provide PhD titles.
The question of co-supervision is something that the PhD student needs to discuss with the main supervisor at the Swiss university when going through the details of her/his PhD education. Each university or faculty has its own rules and regulations. In general, in the Swiss academic system of health sciences, a PhD student will usually have a main supervisor and at least one co-supervisor.
At the time of your application, GlobalP3HS requires clarity only about your main supervisor (and, in case of the sandwich model, the co-supervisor). Clarification of other supervisors or committee members can be done at a later stage.
Furthermore, GlobalP3HS PhD students will benefit from the SSPH+ network. Apart from taking part in offers from GlobalP3HS, each GlobalP3HS PhD student will also have to enroll into a structured or local PhD program and will, of course, also benefit from inter-university PhD programs (this depends on the chosen university). One main feature of these programs is that the PhD student will have experts and peers from different disciplines comment on their research and opportunities for networking all across the SSPH+ partner institutions through join events.
The GlobalP3HS eligibility criteria are described here. These are not negotiable, as they are not defined by SSPH+ but by other constituencies (host universities and MSCA COFUND). The validation of the prospective PhD student’s Master’s Degree and all other documents needed for the PhD student’s admission also lies in the authority of the host university’s admission office.
Prospective PhD students are eligible to apply to GlobalP3HS in case they have not worked/studied in Switzerland for more than 12 months in the three years prior to the submission of their GlobalP3HS proposal.
Can I apply for a GlobalP3HS as a Swiss citizen that has not lived more than 12 months in Switzerland for the past three years?
Yes, Swiss citizens can apply if they fulfil the mobility rule.
Yes, as long as you fulfill the eligibility criteria.
Yes, it is.
Applying to GlobalP3HS
Applications to GlobalP3HS are done only through our online application platform. Submissions via email or by mail will not be considered.
The application information can be updated anytime on the online platform within the deadline for submission. However, until the deadline, you can work on the platform, save information, and return and change whenever you want to complete your proposal. Once the deadline for submission has arrived, no changes can be made anymore. Please note: there is no final submit button. The application platform will simply close.
We suggest that the applicant submits her/his application 10+ days prior to the deadline. Please note: The GlobalP3HS program manager will only help you with requests until 3 (three) days before the deadline for application.
There is no final submit botton. The application platform will simply close on the deadline.
It is not a requirement to find a supervisor before applying to GlobalP3HS. The matching between the selected candidates and supervisors will be done only after a first evaluation process, which is described here. We suggest, however, that prospective PhD students get in contact with a potential supervisor with whom they would like to work with to support their candidature with a reference letter.
Applicants will find all potential supervisors, following this link.
Under this link, applicants can make a very refined research on Swiss public health experts in our SSPH+ network.
Finally, applicants can also look up the departments at which public health research is carried out in Switzerland webpages by following this link.
Getting a reference letter from a potential supervisor, does not mean, however, that in case the student passes STEP 2 of the selection process that s/he will automatically be supervised by the person of her/his choice. Decisions need to be made only during the official matching process. The tentative supervisor may change her/his mind and/or the prospective student might have found another supervisor. In the final selection step, only candidates with a supervisor who has agreed and confirmed the supervision will be eligible.
We ask to submit one letter of recommendation, if possible already from the supervisor the prospective PhD student would like to work with in Switzerland.
If applying under the sandwich model, a letter of recommendation from a (potential) co-supervisor in the LMIC is mandatory.
During the electronic application process, the applicant will be asked to provide the contact details of (at least) one referee. Once the contact details are inserted, a request will be automatically sent to the referee. S/he then must complete the recommendation form online within the deadline. Your application is only valid when the letter of recommendation has been received on time. Therefore, we recommend contacting the referee ahead of time to have her/his approval that s/he will submit a recommendation until the application deadline. We also recommend confirming a valid email address with the referee. Once the referee has provided her/his recommendation, the applicant will be notified through the system.
It is not a formally defined requirement. However applicants should be aware that English is essential for successfully accomplishing a doctoral degree and some faculty members may ask for proof of excellent English skills prior to accept supervision. If the prospective PhD student’s Master's study program was taught in English and/or s/he wrote the Master's thesis in English, these are also valid proofs. We highly encourage to mention these in the motivation letter when applying.
We accept all English proficiency certificates, this includes (but is not limited to) TOEFL (ITP and IBT), IELTS, and GRE. Furthermore, the issue date is not important. We ask for the certificates to make sure that the prospective PhD student can integrate an English-speaking working environment. Applicants are encouraged to upload their English proficiency certificates (if any) with all other documents on our online application platform.
Can I omit in-text references in the online application when describing my research project to fit the word count?
Yes. It is highly recommendable to leave out in-text references. Applicants can think of the research proposal as an abstract for an article (where usually such references are not done). Instead, applicants can refer to schools of thoughts, for instance, to explain from which perspective they would want to address their research object.
Yes. Applicants that have not yet their Master's Degree certificate are asked to upload their transcripts with their application and indicate the expected date of obtaining the certificate in the online application form.
The SSPH+ expertise in public health is very broad as it englobes experts from eight Swiss universities. We invite applicants to browse our Expert Database (and the SSPH+ webpage in general) to get an overview.
Evaluation of the application
The application and selection process of GlobalP3HS has five successive steps that are explained in detail here.
Each research proposal will be evaluated concerning five dimensions, namely:
- Background and objective of the proposal (weighted: x2)
- Innovation and methodological quality of the proposal (weighted: x2)
- Public health relevance of the proposed research (weighted: x1)
- Feasibility of study in the context of a 42 month PhD thesis (weighted: x1)
- Motivation and expertise of the student, based on Motivation letter and CV (weighted: x2)
Each criterion will be scored on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 10 (best). Scores ≥6 correspond to “passed”, whereas <6 means “failed”.
This means that the proposed research has to fall in the research field of ‘public health sciences’; i.e. it must be relevant for this field. The research should further understandings in public health sciences (be it empirical or theoretical).
Dr. Marion Schulze
Useful links for application
- GlobalP3HS online application platform
- SSPH+ Faculty members as potential supervisors
- Overview of structured PhD programs led by SSPH+ partners
- SSPH+ course platform
- 1st Call closed on 12 October 2018
- 2nd Call closed on 1 February 2019
- 3rd Call is open from 1 April 2019 until 28 June 2019; link to application platform
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 801076.