SSI/ISID Fellowships

SSI/ISID Fellowships

ISID and the Swiss Society for Infectious Diseases (SSI) jointly sponsor the SSI/ISID Infectious Diseases Research Fellowship Program.

The purpose of this Fellowship Program is to support infectious disease physicians and scientists from under-resourced countries through multidisciplinary clinical and laboratory training at select biomedical institutions in Switzerland.

The objectives of the Fellowship Program are:

  • To train promising young physicians and scientists from under-resourced countries for clinical and research positions in infectious diseases.
  • To foster partnerships between fellows and infectious disease leaders in Switzerland.
  • To increase scientific research capacity in under-resourced/high disease burden countries.

Opportunities for training and research in a variety of areas ranging from basic studies of the mechanism of disease to studies in public health, epidemiology, diagnostics, therapeutics or vaccine development, are available through this program.

The term of the Fellowship is for one year. The start date will be determined by arrangement between the host institution and the Fellow.

A financial stipend of up to 50,000 CHF per year (approximately $51,000 USD) will be given to Fellows to cover travel costs and living expenses.  The program intends to award one fellowship every year.


SSI/ISID fellowships are open to residents of low and middle income countries as classified by the World Bank who have either a M.D. or Ph.D. in a relevant field and hold a position at a medical, research or public health institution.

NOTE: Applicants are required to be proficient in writing and speaking English and either German (for Basel, Bern and Zurich) or French (for Geneva and Lausanne). Applicants who propose a research-only fellowship do not need French or German fluency.


Applications should be made using our online submissions system and include:

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • A letter of commitment from the applicant’s home institution guaranteeing position upon completion of the fellowship
  • Letter of recommendation
  • Personal statement describing career goals and objectives, and relevance of training

The deadline for applications is April 24, 2020.

Selection Process

Applications will be reviewed by a joint SSI/ISID committee.

Additional Information

Training Sites
SSI/ISID Fellows will be placed at one of five collaborating research centers in Switzerland according to technical interests and skills. All infectious diseases programs at each institution offer experience in clinical infectious diseases, including HIV, and microbiology.

The technical research interests at each site include:

Full clinical service in all areas of infectious diseases and hospital epidemiology

Pathophysiological and clinical research including health economy in following areas: HIV clinical and pharmacological research in collaboration with Ifakara, Tansania and Lesotho, Subsaharan Africa and the Swiss HIV Cohort Study Group: pathogenesis and course of disease in transplant infectious diseases, Hospital Epidemiology. (Battegay M, Widmer A, Khanna N, Tschudin Sutter S, Weisser M, Labhardt N, Stoeckle M, Marzolini C)

For clinical work excellent language skills in German (oral and written) are mandatory and for research English is a requirement.


The strength of our center is that we provide a functional combination of ID service, hospital infection control and comprehensive microbiology laboratory covering all aspects of infectious diseases at the largest hospital group of Switzerland (Insel Group Hospitals) with daily interactions of all involved specialties and laboratories on a daily basis for improved patient care.

The ID department has three overlapping services: ID Consultation Service (3 teams 7x24hrs) for all departments and specialties in a tertiary-care academic hospital with daily rounds in ICU and neutropenia wards. The ID department has no ID ward or ID beds, but performs ID consultation on all hospital wards. Additional consultation services on demand in the other hospitals belonging to the Insel Group . Outpatient ID Clinic including general ID outpatient service and a special focus on HIV medicine and STDs; travel, tropical and migration medicine; and consultations within the city´s drug substitution – harm reduction programs. Infection prevention unit: Infection control and hospital epidemiology service for the entire Insel Group.

The Institute for Infectious Diseases is the only university institute in Switzerland covering the entire spectrum of microbiology, including virology, bacteriology, mycology, parasitology, molecular diagnostic and infection serology integrated in comprehensive diagnostic services, research, and education. The IFIK provides the entire spectrum of microbial diagnostic services for patient care in private practices and public hospitals including the Insel Group, the largest hospital group in Switzerland. The diagnostic service is recognized by the regulatory body Swissmedic and accredited according ISO/IEC 17025, (STS 0363). The IFIK is home to the Swiss National Reference Centre for Pneumococci and to the Swiss National Centre for Antibiotic Resistance mandated by the Federal Office of Public Health.

The ID department’s research focuses on clinical aspects and epidemiology of infectious diseases. Lab facilities are in the partner Institute for Infectious Diseases (IFIK). We conduct collaborative research involving the entire spectrum of infectious diseases with our clinical partners within the Insel Group (S. Zimmerli, C. Thurnheer, C. Hirzel). HIV infection is one of our main areas of research. We lead many research projects within the framework of the Swiss HIV Cohort Study and international collaborations. Main focuses are HIV/ Hepatitis co-infections (A. Rauch, G. Wandeler, C. Béguelin), both in the European and the African context, opportunistic infections (H. Furrer), STDs (C.Hauser) and migration and HIV (C. Staehelin).

Another research focus is infection control and hospital epidemiology (J. Marschall, R. Sommerstein, N. Buetti), with research projects inside the Insel Goup and country-wide within the Swissnoso framework.

We are involved in the research of the Swiss Transplant Cohort Study (C. Hirzel, L. Walti).

At the Institute for Infectious Diseases the 3 major research focuses are antimicrobial resistance, infections of the central nervous system, and host-microbiome interactions and infections of the intestine and airways.

Eligibility criteria: Applicants are required to be proficient in writing and speaking English and German.

General clinical infectious diseases in adults. Access to specific expertise or units specialized in HIV, infections in transplant patients, antibiotic stewardship or emerging viruses. Access to clinical microbiology labs and possibilities to participate to clinical research. Close collaborations with other Divisions specialized in Tropical Medicine, Infection Control or Pediatrics. (Kaiser L, A Calmy, Schrenzel J, van Delden C, B Huttner, S Harbarth)

Eligibility criteria: Applicants are required to be proficient in writing and speaking English and French.

Additional information is available at:

Antibiotic stewardship. Monitoring of antibiotic use. Outpatient antibiotic therapy. Diagnosis and management of community-acquired pneumonia. Complicated bone and joint infections. Surgical implant associated-infections. Septic surgery. Diagnostic microbiology (MALDI-TOF, automation, molecular diagnosis). Infections in immunocompromised hosts. Transplant infectious diseases, vaccination in immunocompromised patients. Innate immunity. Sepsis. Immunogenetics of infectious diseases and genetic epidemiology. Infections in critically-ill and ICU patients. Ventilator associated pneumonia, Pseudomonas aeruginosa.  Invasive fungal infections. Molecular epidemiology of nosocomial infections. Emerging infections. Infections due to intracellular bacteria (Chlamydiae, Coxiella…). Clostridium difficile, fecal microbiota transplantation. HIV medicine (neuro-HIV, adherence). Pediatric infectious diseases and vaccinology (infections among immunocompromised patients, children with cystic  fibrosis). Congenital infections (cCMV). Malaria. Travel medicine and vaccinology. (Asner S, Bochud PY, Boillat-Blanco N, Calandra T, Cavassini M, de Valliere S, Galperine T, Genton B, Giulieri S, Greub G, Guery B, Lamoth F, Manuel O, Roger T, Senn L, Zanetti G)

Eligibility criteria: Applicants are required to be proficient in writing and speaking English and French.

The overall focus of our research program is on infectious diseases and comprises studies of the pathogen, associated immune responses, pathogenesis, therapy and epidemiology and involves basic, translational, clinical and epidemiological research.
Our basic and translational research groups focus on investigating the interplay between pathogens and the human host with a particular focus on viral and bacterial infections. Our current research projects investigate human infections with HIV, HCV, EBV, CMV, Influenza, Group A streptococcus, and other bacteria.
(Senior scientists: Huldrych Günthard, Karin Metzner, Roberto Speck, Nicolas Müller and Annelies Zinkernagel.)

Our epidemiology group focuses primarily on long term treatment aspects of antiretroviral therapy, such as treatment outcome, side effects and toxicity. Lately, HIV/HCV and HIV/HBV coinfections are studied more intensly as hepatic infections have a major impact on survival for patients receiving highly successful anti-HIV therapies. Furthermore, liver disease in general is being studied in HIV-infected patients because it may also be drug related. Many of these studies are performed in the framework of the Swiss HIV cohort study.
(Senior scientists: Roger Kouyos, Huldrych Günthard, and Rainer Weber).

Our infection control group investigates risk factors and the impact of nosocomial infections.
(Senior scientists: Hugo Sax and Stefan Kuster).

Our clinical research program includes phase II and III trials of new therapeutic drugs against infectious diseases. An additional strong focus is on improving and evaluating established treatment strategies in particular also with regard to emergence of HIV drug resistance. We have also intensified our collaborative efforts with cardiac, vascular and orthopedic surgeons to study endocarditis, vascular graft and orthopedic implant infections.
(Senior scientists: Barbara Hasse, Helen Kovari, Yvonne Achermann, Jan Fehr, and Rainer Weber).

Eligibility criteria: Applicants are required to be proficient in writing and speaking English and German.