FreeNovation – A funding program of the Novartis Research Foundation 2024


Event details

Date 01.01.2024 16.03.2024
Category Call for proposal
Event Language English
FreeNovation provides funding opportunities for unconventional, bold projects that have the potential to open up novel research directions and aim beyond incremental innovation and discovery.

In this year’s call, proposals in the following fields will be accepted:
• From genetic associations to disease mechanisms
• New molecular insights in gender medicine
• To the roots: Mathematics to address biology

Projects should be relevant to biomedical research with an ultimate aim to provide innovative healthcare solutions for patients. However, proposals must be unrelated to a business relationship with Novartis.

1) General terms of the grant:

Grants are for a period of 18 months and up to a maximum of CHF 180’000.
If positively evaluated, a grant award is further conditioned on reaching a written agreement between the Novartis Research Foundation, the applicant’s institution and the applicant on the following terms and conditions:
• Applicant’s institution endorses the project and is accountable to administer the grant.
• Applicant shall publish all results suitable for publication. In the spirit of FreeNovation, the results shall be made available to the public without restricting use and free of charge (except for access fees of journals), and no patent application will be filed for the results from the research conducted with the grant. • The grant activity shall include neither commercial activities nor be influenced by commercial interests, and the planning and execution of the grant activity shall be consistent with the principles of good scientific practice.
• All required notifications and required permissions, licenses, consents and/or approvals to perform the grant activity have to be obtained.
• Applicant provides a written and an oral report including positive and negative results at the end of the funding period.

2) Eligiblity of applicants:
Applicants are eligible to submit a proposal if they fulfill all requirements below:
• The applicant has a completed doctoral degree or equivalent qualification
• The applicant is an employee of a reputable healthcare or healthcare-related organization, university, university hospital, or university of applied sciences, in Switzerland, for the duration of the project
• The applicant has the agreement of applicant’s institution to apply for this grant and carry out the project if it is funded.

It is possible to submit a proposal together with a co-applicant who also fulfills these requirements.

3) Application requirements:
Applications must be written in English and include:
• Summary of the research project (max. 200 words; and one slide using the template provided on the submission portal)
• Background and motivation (max. 400 words)
• Hypotheses and specific aims (max. 400 words)
• Novelty and potential application if successful (max. 400 words)
• Description of “truth telling” experiments, i.e., hypotheses testing experiments that will be conducted within the funding period and that will indicate whether the original idea is valid or not (max. 400 words)

Applications must be submitted online at

4) Deadline:
Institutional support letter:
Please contact the EPFL Research Office for an institutional support letter before 8 March 2023.
Submission: 16 March 2024 (SUNDAY), 23:59h CET

For further information about the call, please vist to the FreeNovation website, refer to the generel description of the call, the application guidelines (in English) and the EPFL Toolkit, or contact Myriam Duckely (NOVARTIS) and the EPFL Research Office at [email protected].

Practical information

  • General public
  • Free

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