Evaluation and Selection

5 Steps toward a GlobalP3HS fellowship: from the application up to the registration

Making an Application to the GlobalP3HS Application Platform

To apply to GlobalP3HS, you must first submit your candidature through the GlobalP3HS online application platform. Submissions can only be made during the call. However, until the deadline, you can work on the platform, save information, and return and change whenever you want to complete your proposal. Once you have submitted your application, however, no changes can be made. Here you will find instructions about the information and documents needed for your application.

To facilitate the application process, we highly suggest that you do not act in “last minute mode” but submit instead at least 10 days prior to the formal deadline.

You are fully responsible for the preparation and submission of all material as defined on the GlobalP3HS website and in the application platform. This includes the information required from the referee and, in case of candidates applying under the sandwich model, from the (potential) co-supervisor from the low/middle income countries (LMIC).

If you already found an SSPH+ faculty member interested in supervising your PhD studies, feel free to include a support letter from her/him.

The GlobalP3HS program manager will check submitted dossiers for completeness and adherence to the application rules.

Delayed, incomplete or formally incorrect applications will not be considered in Step 2 (see below). Candidates who do not enter Step 2 will be informed by the end of the call’s deadline. They may re-submit a new application by the deadline of the next call, if any.

GlobalP3HS Review Process

All applications approved in Step 1 will enter the formal review process. This evaluation has two successive phases:

Phase 1 of Step 2

All proposals will be evaluated by three experts in public health sciences.
At least one of the three experts is recruited from the International Review Panel, selected based on the content and methodological focus of the proposal.

Each reviewer will score the level of excellence of the proposal and the candidate in five dimensions, namely:

  • 1. Background and motivation of the student (weighted: x2)
  • 2. Innovation and methodological quality of the proposal (weighted: x2)
  • 3. Public health relevance of the proposed research (weighted: x1)
  • 4. Feasibility of study in the context of a 42 month PhD thesis (weighted: x1)
  • 5. Motivation and expertise of the student (weighted: x2) (based on Motivation letter and CV)

Each criterion will be scored on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 10 (best). Scores ≥6 correspond to “passed”, whereas <6 means “failed”.

Phase 2 of Step 2

The SSPH+ Steering Board of the GlobalP3HS will select the top ranking candidates to be approved for promotion into STEP3.

Candidates who do not enter Step 3 will now be informed. They may re-submit a new application by the deadline of the next call, if any.

Matching Process Between Applicant and Supervisor – Interviews

Candidates approved by the SSPH+ Steering Board (thus, promoted to Step 3) will engage in selecting the primary supervisor of the PhD studies in STEP 3. The aim of this step is to determine a fitting match between a SSPH+ Faculty member and a GlobalP3HS PhD candidate.

To come to an agreement, candidates are required to arrange at least one interview with one potential supervising SSPH+ faculty member. SSPH+ Faculty members will also have access to the list of Step 3 candidates and may contact as well.

The interview takes place either in person or via skype.

Please note that a support letter from a supervisor that you received for your application (Step 1) is no guarantee to succeed in Step 3. At this stage, both, candidates and supervisors, still have the right to modify pre-selections or to retract from the supervision.

Registration as PhD student at the chosen Swiss University and signing a working contract

Phase 1 of STEP 4
In a first phase of STEP 4 and once a SSPH+ faculty member agrees with the supervision, you will need to apply to the University Admission Office to formally approve the eligibility to register as a PhD student at the chosen university.

Please note that each university – in many cases also faculties or graduate schools of the university – has its specific regulations and procedures for this official, administrative application process, which you must comply with. The eligibility criteria are set by each university independently from SSPH+ and do vary among Swiss universities. At this point, please refer to the admission office of your chosen university to learn about their eligibility criteria and the documents you will need for this step. Your supervisor and host institution will assist you in the locally defined registration procedures.

Your university may ask for additional documents such as a student visa (from the Swiss Embassy or Consulate). Hence, plan the student visa application early on as this may take 2-3 months. Other documents you might need and want to plan to acquire beforehand are a copy of your Bachelor’s Degree Diploma and your Transcripts of Records (and if necessary their certified translations). Each university may also want to verify or reject the authenticity of degrees, documents and/or translations

Phase 2 of Step 4
Once the registration at a Swiss university is done, you will be able to sign your work contract.

The working contract states the total monthly stipend paid to the student (twelve times per year), for up to 42 months. GlobalP3HS contributes a fixed allowance of CHF 2’041 per month to this stipend. The supervisor is responsible for the co-funding part of the salary, which cannot be less than CHF 1’063.

A copy of the work contract needs to be provided to the GlobalP3HS manager no later than two weeks after the PhD thesis start date.

Once accomplished STEP 4, candidates move into STEP 5. Candidates who fail approval of Step 4 will be informed by the university they have applied to. They may re-submit a new application by the deadline of the next call, if any.

STEP 5 Grant and Research Declaration signed – Funding starts

In this step, the following two documents need to be signed as last formal criteria so that funding of your PhD can commence:

The Grant Declaration

The ‘Grant Declaration’ is a contract between your host university and SSPH+. This agreement lies in the responsibility of your supervisor and s/he will be informed by the GlobalP3HS program manager in due time about this step. The start of the GlobalP3HS stipend cannot be earlier than the month the Grant Declaration has been signed.

The Research Declaration

To ensure the principles and requirements of GlobalP3HS are fulfilled, a Research Declaration must be signed by a) the supervisor as the primary responsible contract partner, b) the PhD student, c) one member of the hosting institution (e.g. the Director or the Department Head), and d) the SSPH+ Directorate (MSCA beneficiary). The Declaration must be signed no later than 20 days after the start date of the GlobalP3HS fellowship. It defines all responsibilities, including the requirement of the host institute to put the student on a legally binding work contract and the confirmation of monthly payments of the stipend (including the matching funds).

Appeal and redress

Appeal and redress of Step 2
Anonymous scoring sheets of the reviews will be provided to applicants upon request. To contest decisions of the Steering Board, students must submit a letter in PDF, co-signed by the supervisor (if any), within 14 days of the date of notification. The Steering Board will re-evaluate the case within 14 days. The re-evaluation will include an independent assessment by two additional reviewers (i.e. not previously involved with the proposal). The weighted average score of the first and the second (weighted twice) evaluation will form the basis for a final decision, which cannot be further appealed.

Appeal and redress of Step 3 and 4
STEP 3 and 4 lie within the responsibility of the local universities, thus, the rebuttal regulations of the universities apply. These steps are not the responsibility of SSPH+.


Dr. Marion Schulze
Hirschengraben 82
8001 Zürich
Email: globalp3hs@ssphplus.ch

Useful information

Useful links for application

Application deadlines

  • 1st Call opens on 2 July 2018, 5pm CET;
    > go to application platform
  • 2nd Call opens on 3 December 2018
  • 3rd Call opens on 1 April 2019

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.