Guest Researcher

The Institute of Federalism has a substantial academic exchange programme. The range of research activities is broad. Guest researchers at the Institute of Federalism conduct research in many fields and seek to expand academic knowledge through analysis, innovation and insight.

The research carried out by visiting academics and scholars have greatly contributed to the reputation of our Institute as a centre of excellence. In the last 10 years the IFF has welcomed researchers from Africa, Asia, North America, South America and Europe, e.g. from Ethiopia, China, Canada, Brazil and Spain.

The Institute of Federalism provides a unique library specialised in the areas of state organisation, comparative federalism, democracy and good governance, human rights and minority protection, multiculturalism and conflict resolution, as well as access to libraries of the University of Fribourg and other Swiss universities, a desk-space, wireless internet access, mutual exchange with Swiss academics active in these fields and a variety of lectures and events.

Applications are accepted anytime.  

  • Goals
    • Guest researchers contribute to the academic discussion in their country of origin/work in the fields of federalism, state organisation, democracy, rule of law or human rights and generate new insights in one of these fields 
    • The researchers find a way to make use of their acquired knowledge in their home country (e.g. lectures, publications, further education, etc.)
    • Academic exchange and cooperation
  • Target group

    The programme is aimed at promising doctoral students, post-doctoral scholars and professors from all over the world researching on key areas of competence of the Institute.

  • The Institute offers
    • A carrel, equipped with a computer and internet access
    • Academic support and exchange with IFF staff, other guest researchers and our network in Switzerland
    • Access to our library with over 20’000 books and 50 periodicals, specialized in the areas of Federalism, State governance, Rule of Law, Democracy and Human Rights
    • Access to all Swiss libraries (electronic database)
  • Programme elements
    • Beginning of the research stay: general introduction by Yvonne Heiter, introduction to the Institute’s library
    • During the research stay: working independently
    • End of the research stay: public lecture at the Institute
  • Accomodation

    The guest researchers are responsible for finding their own accommodation during their stay. The Institute can provide assistance in the process.

    The accommodation costs are to be paid by the guest researcher.

    Please note that it is generally difficult to find affordable rooms for a short research stay.

    Some useful links that help you organise your stay in Fribourg:

  • Costs

    The following costs have to be covered by the guest researcher:

    • Travel costs
    • Insurance costs (the compulsory insurance covers health and accident and is organized by the guest researcher) – an insurance is requested as it is mandatory for every person living in Switzerland. Without insurance you will not get a visa at the embassy.
    • Visa costs
    • Living costs (be aware of the high living costs in Switzerland)

    Possible monthly budget: 

    Accomodation CHF 450 - 800
    Telephone, Internet CHF 100
    Meals CHF 900
    Hygiene CHF 50
    Pocket money, leisure and cultural activities CHF 150 - 200
    Transport: tpf pass for Fribourg (1 month, adults) CHF 65
    Other CHF 100
    Total monthly costs CHF 1,815 – 2,215

    Information about other financing possibilities can be found here.

  • Papers

    IFF Working Papers Online: the Institute provides a forum disseminating research relevant to our main research topics. This publication series is aimed at conveying preliminary results of the ongoing research of our faculty members, our visiting researchers as well as participants of our Summer University and our advanced training programs.

  • Application procedure

    Interested researchers are asked to submit the following documents:

    • Letter of motivation
    • Curriculum vitae
    • 700 words outline of the proposed research project (including bibliography based on the volumes present in our library or elsewhere in Fribourg, please refer to the catalogue accessible on; limit the search to FR UNI BFD IFF to see which books could be useful for you).
    • Sample of academic writing (journal article or similar)
    • One letter of reference (does not apply to Professors)
    • Proof of knowledge of English (or German/French)

    Please be aware that the official documents and edicts as laws, by-laws etc. in Switzerland are only available in German, French and Italian (with only a few exceptions)!

    The selection will be made by the Institute of Federalism and communicated to the prospective researcher within two months after receipt of the application.

    Details on the application process can be found here.


    Applications are accepted via the online application form. Before starting, please have the necessary documents in electronic format ready (pdf, jpg, jpeg). Be aware that it is not possible to save and continue later. 

    Troubles with the online application? Please contact Mrs. Yvonne Heiter-Steiner.