FAPESP-NWO CALL FOR PROPOSALS 2013

Cooperation FAPESP (São Paulo Research Foundation, Brazil) – NWO (Netherlands)

Joint Research Projects Biobased Economy

Published at www.fapesp.br/chamadas/nwo2013 and www.nwo.nl/financiering-biobased-FAPESP


1
Introduction

This is a call for proposals for the support of research projects involving Joint Research Projects under the Scientific Cooperation Agreement between the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), São Paulo, Brazil, and the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), Netherlands.

This call for proposals sets out information about the possibilities for submitting applications, the conditions that applications must meet and the procedure for assessing the applications.

1.1 Background

The São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), São Paulo, Brazil, and the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), jointly open a call for Joint Research Projects.

The purpose of this call is to define the conditions for submission of proposals for joint and integrated research projects including the exchange of researchers from the State of São Paulo, Brazil, and from Netherlands, within the scope of the Scientific Cooperation Agreement between FAPESP and NWO. The research projects must include at least one group of each country.

This program offers funding opportunities for joint and integrated research cooperation between research groups in the State of São Paulo and in the Netherlands, including the exchange of researchers.

Demonstrating partnerships with academic researchers from other countries is also possible, but not mandatory. It might add value to the proposal, if the additional team contribution to the scientific objectives is considered especially relevant in the analysis by FAPESP and NWO.

This call for proposals is being announced simultaneously by FAPESP and NWO.

1.2 Available budget

NWO and FAPESP will provide budgets to fund 5-7 proposals.

FAPESP will provide funding of up to the equivalent to € 140.000 (one hundred and forty thousand Euros) for each State of São Paulo selected proposal and NWO will provide funding of up to € 300.000 (three hundred thousand Euros) for each NWO selected proposal, for the period established in the award.

1.3 Validity of the call for proposals

This call for proposals is valid until the closing date on 23 May 2013 at 14.59 hours CET.

2 Aim

The aim of this call is to strengthen research cooperation between State of São Paulo, Brazil and the Netherlands by funding joint research projects in the field of biobased economy. Brazil and the Netherlands have a strong history in this research field. This programme will contribute to the further enhancement of bilateral innovative research on the topic biobased economy which is aimed to provide sustainable solutions for challenges we are facing in our current and future society.

Exchange of researchers within the joint project is obligatory, e.g. working a couple of months in the lab of the collaborative researcher abroad and the realization of annual project meetings (coupled to the exchanges).

2.1 Thematic focus: Biobased economy

The present call invites Research Proposals in biobased economy in the following research themes:

i) crop improvement: more and better agricultural, horticultural and aquaculture products;

ii) sustainable agriculture: resilience of the production system;

iii) bio refinery;

iv) chemocatalytical, biocatalytical and thermochemical conversion of biomass to fuels and chemicals.

The research themes are described in more detail in the Annex I of this call for proposals.

3 Guidelines for applicants

3.1 Who can apply

Researchers regarded as eligible to submit proposals within the scope of this call are:

a. By FAPESP: Principal Investigators (PI) affiliated with Higher Education and Research Institutions in the State of São Paulo.

b. By NWO: Principle Investigators affiliated with Dutch universities and NWO-acknowledged research institutions if they:

- have an employment contract for at least the duration of the application procedure and the duration of the research project the grant is applied for, and

- have at least a PhD or equivalent qualification.

c. A complete list of application criteria for scientists from the Netherlands can be found in the NWO Regulation on Granting: www.nwo.nl/en/subscription-documents/nwo/legal/nwo-regulation-on-granting-may-2011

d. Proposals should include the names of the researchers from both the State of São Paulo and from the Netherlands and clearly state the mutual benefits of the collaboration.

e. Researchers can only submit one proposal in this call.

3.2 What can be applied for

a. FAPESP will provide funding of up to the equivalent to € 140.000 (one hundred and forty thousand Euros) per proposal and NWO will provide funding of up to €300.000 (three hundred thousand Euros) per proposal, for the period established in the award, to cover the research project and research-related expenses including workshop realization expenses and mobility expenses, under the provisions of Clause 5 of the Agreement between FAPESP and NWO (www.fapesp.br/en/7370).

b. FAPESP will provide to the selected proposals of researchers from the State of São Paulo, funds for the research project (consumables and small equipment), workshop realization, travel (air tickets), health insurance and living allowances for researchers from the State of São Paulo that visit the Netherlands.

c. NWO will provide the selected proposals of researchers from the Netherlands, funds for employment costs of 1 postdoc researcher (two or three years) or 1 PhD researcher (four years), the research project (consumables and small equipment), workshop realization, travel expenses and accommodation costs for researchers involved in the project that visit the State of São Paulo.

d. Exchange visits by researchers for a couple of months in total during the joint project are mandatory.

e. The maximum duration of each project within this call is 4 years.

f. Participants of other countries must demonstrate adequate funding.

3.3 When can applications be submitted

The closing date for the submission of proposals is 23-5-2013, 11.59 hours CET (08.59 hours in the State of São Paulo). No proposal will be accepted after the closing date for submission, nor will any addendum or explanation be accepted, unless those explicitly and formally requested by FAPESP or NWO. Proposals not received by both by FAPESP and NWO before the deadline or not in conformity to the specifications herein will not be reviewed.

3.4 Preparing an application

The application has to include: The FAPESP-NWO common application form: Dutch and Sao Paulo researchers, please download the FAPESP-NWO single joint application form at www.nwo.nl/financiering-biobased-FAPESP and www.fapesp.br/chamadas/nwo/applicationform.docx with Sections A, B and C described below.

Section A: A single-joint research proposal submitted simultaneously to FAPESP and to NWO by researchers from the State of São Paulo and from the Netherlands, including:

A Joint Research project, with a maximum of twelve (12) pages of scientific content, must include the following items:

- title of the research proposal;

- composition of the research teams;

- list of 5-10 key publications by each research team related to the theme(s) of the call;

- summary of the project to which the proposal is related, including current and expected results;

- description of the thematic approach and relevance to the theme(s) of the call;

- description of which ongoing research lines of the PI in São Paulo, Brazil, related to the proposal will benefit from the exchange;

- description of which ongoing research lines of the PI in the Netherlands, will benefit from the exchange;

- description of the expected academic gains for the project as a result of the proposed cooperation, emphasizing their singularity and specificity;

- details of the activities foreseen in the exchange, objectively described, including justification and relevance, and the definition of the corresponding performance indicators. The role of the technical team from the executing institution must be explained;

- actions to add to the impact of the exchange in the research activity in the State of São Paulo and in the Netherlands, by means of, visits to other institutions that carry out research activities in cognate areas;

- timeline of each exchange, provided that the total amount of exchanges per year do not surpass the funds stipulated in section 3.2 of this call for proposals;

- literature references.

In case applicable, the contribution by research group from a third country should be included here.

Section B: The detailed personal and budgetary information for the research group from the Netherlands, including:

- details of the Dutch principle investigator including institutional environment;

- acknowledgement that intellectual property agreements between all involved parties are in place no later than the start of the project, by approving the statement in section B2 of the application form B, for proposals submitted to NWO;.

- fields of research that correspond to the subject of the research proposal (in the application form);

- budget worksheets specifically designed for this call;

- intended starting date and time investment of members of the research team;

- specification of similar grants;

- description of infrastructure and financial resources available for developing the joint research project;

- detailed CV of Dutch principal investigator;

- acknowledgement that national codes are followed.

Section C: The detailed personal, host Institute, budget information and a list of mandatory documents for the research group from the State of São Paulo, including:

- summarized information of the research project (title, abstract, type, area of expertise, keywords and proposed start date);

- the summary of funding required for the project to FAPESP by the Sao Paulo State principal investigator;

- technical Training scholarships requested by the proposal (level, total number);

- FAPESP scholarships and/or grants related to the proposal;

- principal Investigator application statements to FAPESP.

The mandatory documents, required for merit review analysis, are described in item C.17 of the FAPESP-NOW common application form (available at www.fapesp.br/chamadas/nwo/applicationform.docx), which include the links to the forms and worksheets. All proposals that are not accompanied by the mandatory documents will be returned without review.

These documents include:

- summary of the CV of the Principal Investigators and collaborating researchers on both sides, NWO and FAPESP (for the São Paulo researchers, see bio sketch instructions at www.fapesp.br/en/6351);

- Sao Paulo State Principal Investigators’ Registration;

- Joint Research Project (up to 12 pages) according to Section A of the Call for Proposals;

- activity plans for each Technical Capacity Scholarships requested;

- budget worksheets specifically designed for this Call;

- proforma invoices issued by suppliers/authorized sellers/representatives;

- description of the scientific equipments of the Sao Paulo Institution(s) hosting the project in Sao Paulo State;

- resource disbursement schedule;

- description of infrastructure and financial resources available for developing the research project in São Paulo, Brazil, and in Netherlands, excluding the mobility expenses requested in the proposal;

- description of each researcher and institution involved in the State of São Paulo including the researchers executing the research project;

- acknowledgement of intellectual property agreements by researchers in the State of São Paulo by sending an official document with the provisions of the cooperation agreement’s fifth clause, related to “Intellectual Property” for proposals submitted to FAPESP.

In case applicable, detailed personal and budgetary information for a research group from a third country can also be included.

3.5 Specific conditions

a. For researchers from the Netherlands this “Call for Proposals" is subject to NWO’s general terms and conditions (www.nwo.nl/en/subscription-documents/nwo/legal/nwo-regulation-on-granting-may-2011).

b. NWO may cancel funding according to the NWO Regulation on Granting.

c. The selected proposals will be the subject of a research agreement in writing to be signed by FAPESP and the Principal Investigator (PI) in São Paulo.

d. FAPESP may cancel funding if, during grant implementation, a fact is of sufficient gravity to justify cancellation, at the Scientific Board of Directors’ discretion, without prejudice of any other appropriate actions.

3.6 Submitting an application

The Research Proposal, written by the PI in the State of São Paulo, Brazil, and the PI in Netherlands, must include all the documents and information as described in section 3.4

a. On the NWO side: An application can only be submitted to NWO via the electronic application IRIS-system. A main applicant is obliged to submit his/her application via his/her own Iris account. The operating procedure and instruction manual for Iris can be found at www.iris.nwo.nl.

b. On the FAPESP side: all proposals shall be sent to FAPESP in paper copy via mail (not through the on-line system SAGe), to the following address: Rua Pio XI, 1500, Alto da Lapa, CEP 05468-901 – São Paulo/SP, with “Chamada FAPESP/NWO 2013” written on the envelope. Submissions to FAPESP must be in the form of a Regular Research Award. This grant must be exclusively directed to this call and abide to its rules.

c. Proposals with their appropriate annexes must be submitted to both NWO and FAPESP before the deadline mentioned in section 3.3.

d. Proposals not received by both Parties in conformity to the specifications herein will not be reviewed.

e. No proposal will be accepted after the closing date for submission, nor will any addendum or explanation be accepted, unless those explicitly and formally requested by FAPESP or NWO.

4 Assessment procedure

4.1 Procedure

Call announced on FAPESP and NWO websites

8 February 2013

Closing date for submission of proposals

23 May 2013

Eligibility check, review and rebuttal procedure

May-September

Selection procedure

September-October

Successful proposals notified

November 2013

a. Eligibility check

The eligibility of the proposals will be assessed by NWO and FAPESP as specified under section 4.2.

b. Analysis and selection

The process of analysis, qualification, rebuttal and selection of the received proposals will be led by NWO, being carried out by reviewers from outside the Netherlands and Brazil, which will be appointed by NWO and FAPESP.

c. Rebuttal

All researchers, of which the proposal was considered eligible, will have the right to jointly formulate a 2 page rebuttal per proposal after receiving the reviewers comments. The joint rebuttal needs to be sent simultaneously to NWO and FAPESP by email and will be requested within a short time frame of a maximum of 2 weeks.

d. Selection committee

A joint committee will be composed, consisting of researchers that consider the applied proposals, review reports and rebuttals. The selection committee will advise the steering committee about the granting. The Committee convenes in one of the countries.

e. Decision/Steering Committee

A joint decision/steering will decide about the granting, based on the advice of the selection committee. This committee will be composed of representatives of FAPESP and NWO and has the right to consider distribution of granted projects over the topics of this call;.

f. Final results will be communicated to the applicants and announced on FAPESP (www.fapesp.br) and NWO web portal (www.nwo.nl/cw).

g. With effect since 1 January 2012, NWO has been using a new qualification for applications assessed. Information about the qualification can be found on the NWO website: www.nwo.nl/kwalificaties.

h. The NWO Code of Conduct on Conflicts of Interest applies to all persons and NWO staff involved in the assessment and/or decision-making process.

4.2 Criteria

a. Eligibility criteria: The proposals will be pre-qualified by FAPESP or NWO according to section 3 which will consider:

- whether the proposals were received in time by both councils in the appropriate form;

- whether the proposals fit within the topics of the call;

- if all requirements mentioned in section 3.1 to 3.6 are met.

b. Proposals which do not comply with the terms of this call for proposals will be considered “not eligible. Proposals will only be considered eligible if the eligibility is approved by both councils.

c. Evaluation Criteria: The proposals will be assessed according to section 4.1 and reviewed by way of a competitive process which considers:

- whether the proposals fit within the topics of the call;

- the scientific quality of the proposed research (Challenging content, originality of the topic, innovative elements, potential to make an important contribution to the advancement of science or technology, suitability of the proposed method);

- the quality of the research teams;

- the added value of the cooperation, including beyond the duration of the project;

- the contribution to (a) more sustainable process/products.

5 Contact details and other information

5.1 Contact

All questions related to this call for research proposals must be directed to:

NWO:

Dr Kirsten Ampt
Email: k.ampt@nwo.nl

Dr Bea Pauw
Email: b.pauw@nwo.nl

FAPESP:

Dr Patricia Brant Monteiro
Email: chamada_nwo@fapesp.br

5.2 Other information

Potential collaboration partners within the topics of this call can be found at:

- FAPESP Virtual Library database at http://bv.fapesp.br/en or

- by request addressed to NWO contacts mentioned above.

 
 

Annex I

CALL FOR PROPOSALS 2013

Cooperation FAPESP (Brazil) – Joint Research Projects Biobased Economy

Research themes:

i) Crop improvement: more and better agricultural, horticultural and aquaculture products

ii) Sustainable agriculture: resilience of the production system

iii) Biorefinery

iv) Chemocatalytical, Biocatalytical and Thermochemical conversion of biomass to fuels and chemicals

1. Crop improvement: More and better agricultural, horticultural and aquaculture products.

The transition to a biobased economy is leading to an increasing demand for biomass. A strong increase in the production of plant material is needed to meet this demand, but also yields per resources like land, water and nutrients must be increased. Such increases can be achieved, for example, by further improving the efficiency of the various partial reactions of photosynthesis, as well as by developing plants and algae that contain highly valuable chemical and energy-rich raw materials. Challenges in this respect are increasing the level of existing components and the production of entirely new components that – up to the present day - are being produced from fossil resources. Such new crops must then also be optimized for downstream processing, for example by improving the degradability of the cell walls.

2. Sustainable agriculture: Resilience of the production system.

In order to be able to raise the level of biomass production in terms of both quality and quantity, the ecological footprint on soil, water and biodiversity of biomass production will have to be reduced. Improving this agricultural resource efficiency will require particular attention in a large number of fields. Greater knowledge of the cycling mechanisms will result in a more efficient use of soil, nutrients, water and energy whereby a chain approach (production, processing, use) should make it possible to as it were bring the cycle full circle. Challenges are the economic recovery of raw materials, such as nutrients and carbon, from waste and main streams and the formation of products for re-use. Cost effective small scale bio refinery technology will enable the recycling of carbon and minerals at low energy and capital inputs.

The consequences of the extraction of organic residual products on soil, biodiversity and ecosystem services must of course be taken into account. What proportion and quality does the soil for example need in terms of organic matter, in order to maintain optimum functionality? An understanding of the functioning of (semi) natural ecosystems offers excellent opportunities for application in sustainable production systems.

3. Biorefinery: Optimum utilization of raw materials.

The optimum use of agricultural raw materials offers opportunities for a transition to a biobased economy. Alongside the processing of crops into food products, residual substances or unused components could be used for other products. This valorisation of ‘waste’ materials will result in a clear increase in eco efficiency.

A transition from fossil resources to renewable bioresources will be facilitated by the development of integrated biorefinery concepts for the complete utilisation of raw materials for the co-production of food and non-food (feed, chemicals, materials and energy).

Biorefinery will provide innovative separation techniques to be able to obtain high-value products, such as proteins, carbohydrates and oils.

4. Chemocatalytical, Biocatalytical and Thermochemical Conversion of biomass to fuels and chemicals.

Chemistry will play a key role in the further conversion and functioning of biomass that is not of direct use (e.g., lignin) and/or could serve well as raw material (e.g., carbohydrates) for bulk chemicals, building blocks, fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals. Tools are needed, such as novel catalysis techniques (chemo, thermo, bio) and fermentation. Specific challenges are in the field of fermentation /industrial biotechnology (optimization of industrial microorganisms, synthetic biology, bioprocess engineering), chemo-catalysis (stability of catalysts, make use of the chirality of biomass, drop-in building blocks for current petro-chemical installations, convergence to a limited number of (platform) products), thermo-chemical techniques (obtaining solid/liquid bioenergy carriers compatible with current infrastructure, robust conversion technologies).