Head Start Swiss: giving the careers of Australian scholars, early-career researchers and young professionals a head start to study or work in Switzerland.

About us

Switzerland is a small country in the heart of Europe with a big reputation for research and innovation and one of the world’s most competitive economy. Two main factors explain Switzerland’s success: an education system of exceptional quality and sustained long-term and substantial financial investment in favour of education, research and innovation.

With few natural resources, Switzerland ranks among the leading nations in knowledge creation and technology outputs. It has the highest ratio of patent applications per capita in Europe and the third highest in the world.

Its universities and research institutes work closely with small and medium sized enterprises as well as with major corporations. Its world-class academic and training landscape offers Australians the opportunity to experience a different culture, build international networks, and gain access to innovative minds and organisations, as well as cutting-edge infrastructure – early in their careers.

In order to support the mobility of early career researchers and young professionals, the Swiss government has several international programmes by which Australians can undertake study, work experience and/or research in Switzerland.

The programmes include:

  • Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships – for doctoral and postdoctoral candidates, as well as candidates wishing to undertake research in the realm of their PhD or medical specialisation.
  • ThinkSwiss – for students who have completed their second year of under-graduate studies or are currently enrolled in a post-graduate (Master’s) programme.
  • Young Professionals Programme – for Australian citizens aged 20-30 who have completed vocational training (apprenticeship or university degree) now working in the profession in which they trained.
  • Mertz Fellowship – for early-career researchers from the polar and high-altitude science fields.

Programme-specific links and contacts are included in each programme’s section on this website.

The campaign Head Start Swiss is an initiative of the Embassy of Switzerland in Australia with the aim to promote international opportunities for early career researchers and young professionals and to enhance mobility between Switzerland and Australia.