The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) has the autonomy to support research in all disciplines. The Foundation Council is the governing body of the SNSF. The Foundation Council has representatives of the scientific and research communities, the Federal Government and the cantons as well as economic and cultural institutions. The National Research Council, which is divided into four divisions, evaluates research projects and makes decisions about awarding grants. The local Research Commissions award fellowships for prospective researchers and assist the SNSF with the evaluation of grant applications. The Secretariat, based in Berne, does the groundwork for the business of the Foundation and Research Councils and is the responsible for administrative and financial duties.
The SNSF provides a wide range of funding programmes most of which are clearly for basic research projects. The SNSF also supports applied research through the national research programme which aims to solve current problems facing Switzerland, thus reinforcing the position of the country in strategically important areas such as nanosciences or climate research. In addition, the SNSF supports several joint programmes designed to reinforce international collaboration with key partner countries.