A university post

With regard to a grant or employment outside academia, universities offer various employment possibilities to doctoral students that have a number of advantages:

  • possibilities of creating synergies with the doctorate and therefore saving time ;
  • integration in a scientific environment ;
  • an environment favourable to completion of the doctorate, particularly by providing doctoral students with an optimal infrastructure.

Two academic posts allow students to be remunerated for their doctoral work:

  • assistants paid by the university/canton, part of whose activity is reserved for thesis work;
  • doctoral students whose doctorate is financed by external funds, particularly the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).

The conditions of employment (salary, duration, job description, etc.) for these two posts are different, and there are big differences between universities concerning both posts.

This diversity of situations can be disconcerting. Indeed, it’s not always easy when signing an employment contract with the university for the first time to realise the direct implications for the thesis work of the conditions of employment stipulated by the contract.

In addition to human resources departments that can provide information on specific aspects of a contract, the intermediary staff associations at each university are well aware of the impact these differences can have on thesis work and you should therefore not hesitate to contact them. They can also provide important information for negotiating the best terms and conditions.