Leading House MENA

The Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) commissioned the HES⁠-⁠SO as the Leading House (LH) for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Its overall goal is to develop scientific collaborations between Switzerland and countries of the MENA region.

Research Partnership Grant 2021

The call for projects "Research Partnership Grant" is open for applications. This call aims at developing new joint project proposals or connecting already existing and independently funded projects in Switzerland and in the MENA partner countries into long-lasting cooperation. The goal of this instrument is to allow researchers to conduct desk work, field research or laboratory feasibility studies, in order to apply for grants from other funding agencies (e.g. national funding agencies or EU funding schemes), and/or to develop long-term partnerships between two institutions or research groups. Activities to intensify joint teaching or curriculum development are also eligible for this grant.

The maximum amount that can be requested is CHF 15,000 per project. Ten projects will be selected at the end of the call. The same instrument will be available again in 2022 and 2023. Eligibility criteria, funding regulation and selection process are given in the call document below. Applications are open until 2nd January 2022. They can only be submitted on the online platform using the link that will be available here within a few days. Information requests can be sent to lhmena(at)hes-so.ch. A FAQ will be available here and updated regularly.


The Leading House MENA has set three strategic goals:

  • Further development of the research cooperation between Switzerland and countries with a high development potential in the above mentioned region with funding instruments designed according to the interests of the Swiss research community
  • Increase of knowledge on countries with a high development potential among the Swiss research community through the availability of contacts and know how
  • Representation of the interests of the Swiss research community towards potential partners in the region.

First mandate (2017-2020)

During the first four-year mandate, the Leading House MENA funded 35 projects with instruments supporting mobility, research and innovation. More information on the funded projects can be found on the pages below.

2021-2024 programme

The 2021-2024 mandate of the Leading House MENA was officially launched during a kick-off event. It took place on 18th October 2021 both in Fribourg and online, and brought together researchers and research coordinators from all across Switzerland and from several countries of the MENA region. Various presentations and a roundtable discussion allowed to review the achievements and challenges of the first mandate, and to present the activities planned for the next four years. Detailed information about this event is available in the documents and links below.

For the 2021-2024 period, the focus will be put on research projects, with the launch of a regular instrument, the "Research partnership grants", which will be launched three years in a row. It will be followed by a more important instrument, the "Consolidation grants", launched in the second half of the mandate.

The schedule for the next four years will be as follows:

InstrumentMaximum amoutLaunchApplication deadlineProject duration
Research partnership grantCHF 15,000October 2021December 2021June 2022 - July 2023
Research partnership grantCHF 15,000May 2022September 2022February 2023 - March 2024
Research partnership grantCHF 15,000May 2023September 2023February 2024 - March 2025
Consolidation grantCHF 40,000May 2023Septembrer 2023February 2024 - September 2025


Each call will be announced on this website and by email. You can register to our mailing list by writing to lhmena(at)hes-so.ch.

Other change of the Leading House, these instruments are now open to all countries of the MENA region, which are: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Occupied Palestinian territory, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.

Conditions and eligibility criteria will be specified in the regulation of each call.

Swiss Leading Houses for other regions