Federal Commission for Scholarships for Foreign Students

“A scholarship can completely change a student’s life”

Each year the Swiss Confederation awards scholarships for excellence in science and the arts to a number of foreign students. The Federal Commission for Scholarships for Foreign Students (FCS) selects the scholarship holders. The composition of the FCS has been renewed and a new chair appointed following ordinary elections for the 2020–2023 period. Four former commission members look back on their work for the FCS, talk about their activities, and provide tips for scholarship candidates.


Prof. Susanne Bickel,
University of Basel

Member 2012–2019
(Interviewed in German)


Prof. François Avellan,

Member 2008–2019
(Interviewed in French)


Prof. Jacques Moeschler,
University of Geneva

Member from 2008 and President 2012–2019
(Interviewed in French)


Prof. Philippe Renaud,
University of Bern

Member 2004–2019
(Interviewed in French)

Last November, the Federal Council appointed new members and chairs of all extra-parliamentary commissions for the 2020–2023 period. Five new members were appointed to the FCS. Among the members who stood down was its chair, Jacques Moeschler, full professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Geneva. He was replaced by co-chairs Prof. David Giauque, delegate of the University of Lausanne, and Prof. Michael Gibbert, delegate of the Università della Svizzera italiana. Both have been members of the FCS since 2012. The commission has a total of 16 members.

381 scholarships for foreign students

The FCS awarded 381 scholarships in the 2019/2020 academic year.

  • The current scholarship holders come from 109 different countries
    (see map).
  • 206 new scholarships were awarded and 175 extended for PhD grants.
  • 55% of the scholarships were awarded to women, 45% to men.