Retour à l'université de Lyon

  • french version
  • version italienne

aprs le doctorat > Western Switzerland > Non academic professions

Non-academic professions

Non-governmental and international organisations

French-speaking Switzerland is home to the headquarters and branches of several organisations with the possibility of offering research-based jobs.

These organisations offer scientists a diversity of positions, in research, fundraising, scientific consulting, programme evaluation and the monitoring of programme development.

Finding employment in this sector often requires experience in the particular field targeted, as well as a strong aptitude for networking. 4 key fields can be distinguished: human rights, education, health and environmental protection.

More information on careers within international organisations

Private foundations

Nearly 13,000 not-for-profit foundations enrich Switzerland's cultural, social and scientific life. Over 45% of these foundations support training and research. Doctorate holders are hired by these foundations as scientific consultants to prepare and submit subsidy proposals, to oversee scientific communication activities, and to organise events.


Research for museums and the designing of exhibitions can offer opportunities to scientists seeking to have an impact on the public.

Scientists at museums cooperate with restorers and curators for the protection and conservation of the museums’ collections, while contributing to further progress and innovation within this domain. Their research can also focus on analysing the origin or ownership of an oeuvre, thereby shedding light on the historical, social and economic context in which the work of art was created and collected.

Federal administration

The federal administration produces for the Swiss Confederation the knowledge necessary to set and define its strategic orientations and initiatives.

The federal administration’s research projects are saved to the ARAMIS database.

Most federal administration positions are open to foreign citizens.
The federal administration attaches a certain importance to professional and personal qualities, such as responsibility, a sense of initiative, attentiveness and honesty, in addition to familiarity with a second official language (in practice, German), with applicants for such positions expected to at least be able to communicate within his/her department. Many positions require their holders to be active at the canton level, expressing themselves in both German and French.

More information on the different types of positions and on vacant positions can be found at the job portal of the Swiss Confederation

Hospitals and public health institutions

In addition to traditional scientific research in the public health sector, other types of research exist, for instance: qualitative research within a given health field, such as social anthropology or psychology.


Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) are especially numerous in Switzerland: 99.6% of Swiss companies employ less than 250 workers, and account for two thirds of Swiss jobs. Traditional enterprises, such as family-owned businesses, are heavily represented, but such companies rarely hire doctorate holders.

Formal programmes exist for the professional integration of young doctorate holders in the larger firms. Indeed, some of the largest Swiss companies, even the federal administration, occasionally offer postdoctoral positions. This phase allows recent doctoral graduates to see through projects, deepen their knowledge and technical expertise, and acquire experience outside the university.

A few dedicated professional integretation programmes

Support for start-ups and innovation

The PERL trophies, Dalle Molle Foundation competition, the Prix Strategis and the W.A. de Vigier Foundation, as well as diverse “business angels” and assistance networks together represent an important source of support and encouragement. 

Additional information

The CTI ("Commission for Technology and Innovation") is the federal agency dedicated to the promotion of innovation. It supports applied research and development, accelerates the transfer of innovative ideas to the marketplace, and encourages entrepreneurship and the development of startups.

For selected projects, CTI can provide co-funding of up to 50% of their total cost.

In addition, Vaud and the other cantons of French-speaking Switzerland have set up several financial assistance programmes dedicated to technological innovation.

Innovation support programmes