The Swiss Network for International Studies (SNIS) was founded in 2008 as the successor institution of the former Geneva International Academic Network (GIAN). While the former GIAN was mostly active in Geneva due to the mandatory research collaboration with International Organizations, the SNIS was set up by joint decision by the Canton of Geneva and the Swiss Confederation (State Secretariat of Research and Education) with the mandate to extend its activities and funding activities to academic institutions and researchers all over Switzerland.
The SNIS has been set up according to a contract concluded between the University of Geneva and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. Its legal statute is a "société simple"
The SNIS has succeeded in its mission to promote international studies in Switzerland. The past calls for proposals showed a fairly balanced breakdown of pre-proposals received from a wide range of academic institutions in Switzerland. In 2011, 42% project proposals emanated from German speaking cantons, followed by Geneva with 31%, 16% of other French speaking cantons and finally Ticino with a rate of 11%.
The SNIS promotes academic research in the interdisciplinary area of International Studies with an interest in phenomena that transcend traditional nation-state boundaries. It supports different perspectives by valuing contributions from a diverse group of academic researchers including political scientists, economists, legal scholars, social and cultural anthropologists, historians, sociologists, geographers, environmental and public health scientists, as well as other academics. Thematic areas of interest include environment, development, health, human rights, and education, among others, as well as topics such as international and civil wars, sustainable development, public health, migration and refugees, gender issues, globalisation, trade and financial markets, human and cultural rights, and European politics.
SNIS delivers and promotes:
• SNIS research grants: through an annual tender and on a competitive basis, project proposals are evaluated and selected based on academic excellence, policy-relevance, financial viability and feasibility. Projects must be under the direction of a Swiss-based organisation of higher education; links between Swiss universities and universities abroad, as well as the involvement of international organisations/NGOs, are seen as assets.
• SNIS Awards: two distinguished prizes award young researchers for their outstanding scientific work.
• SNIS conferences & workshops on issues related to international studies.
• Development of synergies between academic disciplines, as well as collaboration between Swiss organisations of higher education and with international organisations/NGOs, with the aim of building a network.
• International conferences organised by Swiss universities and academic organisations.
Funding and Partnerships
The SNIS is funded by the State Secretariat for Education and Research of the Swiss Confederation, and the Department of Public Instruction of the Republic and Canton of Geneva.
The SNIS has also created a meaningful partnership with several Swiss or foreign academic institutions over the years, therefore generating an effective network of collaboration in the knowledge sector. In addition, it has also developed relationships with International Organisations, Non-Governmental Organisations and private institutions, which is part of the strategy aimed at promoting and widening research on international studies.