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Memorandum of Understanding concerning Trans-Atlantic cooperation for advancing humanities and social science research

This is a Memorandum of Understanding (hereinafter "Memorandum") among the following international funders of humanities and social science academic research (hereinafter "Participants"):

Argentina

Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Productiva (MINCyT)

The Ministry of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation (MINCyT) established policies and coordinates actions aiming to strengthen the country’s capacity to respond to priority sectorial and social problems in order to improve society’s quality of life. The scientific and technological policy developed by the National Directorate of International Relations of MINCyT in the multilateral, bilateral and other specific fields allow scientific research promotion and productive innovation between Argentinean and foreign research groups through a broad range of joint R+D projects initiatives, workshops, seminars, trainings, and human resources development grants. The lead contact is Agueda Menvielle, National Directress of International Relations at Ministry of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation.

Brazil

Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP)

FAPESP (www.fapesp.br) is a public foundation of the State of São Paulo, with the mission to support research projects in higher education and research institutions, in all fields of knowledge. FAPESP maintains cooperation agreements with national and international research funding agencies, higher educational and research institutions and business enterprises. The Foundation works in close contact with the scientific community: all proposals are peer reviewed with the help of area panels composed of active researchers. The lead contact is the Diretor Científico.

Canada

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) is the federal research funding agency that promotes and supports postsecondary-based research and research training in the humanities and social sciences. By focusing on developing Talent, generating Insights and forging Connections across campuses and communities, SSHRC strategically supports world-leading initiatives that reflect a commitment to ensuring a better future for Canada and the world. Created by an act of Canada’s Parliament in 1977, SSHRC reports to Parliament through the Minister of Industry. The lead contact is Crystal Sissons, Senior Program Officer.

Fonds de Recherche du Québec Société et culture (FRQSC)

The Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture (FRQSC) is a non-profit agency created under the Act respecting the Ministère de l'Éducation, de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche. It is a mandatary of the Québec government and is administered by a board of directors whose members are appointed by the Cabinet. The Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture (FRQSC) has the following mission: To promote and provide financial support for research in the fields of social sciences and humanities and the fields of education, management, arts and literature; To promote and provide financial support for the dissemination of scientific knowledge in fields of research relating to social sciences and humanities and to education, management, arts and literature; To promote and provide financial support for the training of researchers through merit scholarships for graduate and postgraduate students and persons who engage in postdoctoral research, through professional development scholarships for persons who wish to re-enter the research community, and through grants that allow the teaching duties of college level professors engaging in research activities to be reduced; To create any necessary partnerships, in particular with universities, colleges and cultural institutions, and the government departments and public and private bodies concerned. The lead contact is Louise Poissant, Scientific Director.

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)

NSERC’s role is to make investments in people, discovery and innovation to increase Canada’s scientific and technological capabilities for the benefit of all Canadians. NSERC invests in people by supporting postsecondary students and postdoctoral fellows in their advanced studies. We promote discovery by funding research conducted by postsecondary professors and foster innovation by encouraging Canadian companies to participate and invest in postsecondary research and training. NSERC reports to Parliament through the Minister of Industry. It is governed by a President and a Council of distinguished members selected from the private and public sectors. The Council is advised by various standing committees that are guided by a peer review process. The lead contact is Dave Bowen, Team Leader.

Finland

Suomen Akatemia (AKA)

The Academy of Finland is a governmental agency within the administrative branch of the Finnish Ministry of Education, Science and Culture. Its mission is to fund high-quality scientific research, provide expertise in science and science policy, and strengthen the position of science and research. The Academy of Finland supports and facilitates researcher training and research careers, internationalization and the application of research results. The activities of the Academy of Finland cover the full spectrum of scientific disciplines. The lead contact is Satu Huuha-Cissokho, Science Advisor.

France

Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR)

The ANR was created in 2005 to organise the funding of projects whose end-purpose is to give impetus to the research sector. The agency places great importance on fostering creativity and openness, stimulating new ideas and partnerships, targeting research efforts on economic and societal priorities determined at the highest level of State and through consultation with the other research players, encouraging interdisciplinary actions, intensifying links between the public and private sectors, and developing international collaborations. The ANR is the operator for the research and higher education component of the programme called “ Investissements d’Avenir” or “Investments for the Future” (launched at the end of 2009), which covers 21.9 billion euros. Such a programme has a structuring and integrating purpose, and is part of a long-term and dynamic drive to transform higher education, research and innovation. The lead contact is Maëlle Sergheraert, Chargée de mission scientifique.

Germany

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)

The DFG is the self-governing organisation for science and research in Germany. It serves all branches of science and the humanities. In organisational terms, the DFG is an association under private law. Its membership consists of German research universities, non-university research institutions, scientific associations and the Academies of Science and the Humanities. The DFG receives the large majority of its funds from the federal government and the states, which are represented in all grants committees. At the same time, the voting system and procedural regulations guarantee science-driven decisions. The lead contact is Matthias Kiesselbach, Programme Officer, Humanities and Social Sciences Division.

Mexico

Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT)

CONACYT (The National Council of Science and Technology in Mexico) is Mexico's entity in charge of the promotion of scientific and technological activities, setting government policies for these matters, and granting scholarships for postgraduate studies. It mainly aims at strengthen and promote scientific development and Mexico's technological modernization. The lead contacts are Jessica Urueta, Deputy Director for Europe, Humberto Aarón Sandoval Herrera, Project Coordinator, and Christian González Laporte, CONACYT representative to the European Union and Senior Project Coordinator.

The Netherlands

Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO)

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) is the national research council of the Netherlands. NWO ensures quality and innovation in science and facilitates its impact on society. Its main task is to fund scientific research at public research institutions in the Netherlands, especially universities. NWO offers a wide variety of funding schemes, offering personal grants to talented, creative researchers and funding for excellent research proposals, for initiating interdisciplinary, thematic research programmes in cooperation together with public agencies and/or the private sector; and for realizing research infrastructures and large data bases. All funding is allocated by means of a national competition on the basis of quality and independent assessment and selection procedures. NWO is dedicated to strengthening and facilitating international collaboration, in particular by actively contributing to international partnerships. The lead contact is Alice Dijkstra, Senior Programme Officer.

Portugal

The Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT)

FCT is the main funding agency for research in Portugal with a status of a public body with administrative and financial autonomy, under the aegis of the Ministry of Education and Science (MEC). FCT’s mission is to continuously promote the advancement of scientific and technological knowledge in Portugal, by exploring opportunities in any scientific or technological domain to attain the highest international standards in the creation of knowledge, to stimulate the dissemination of this knowledge and its contribution to improve education, health, the environment, and the quality of life and well-being of citizens and society. FCT funds all areas of knowledge, including Exact, Natural and Health Sciences, Engineering, Social Sciences and Humanities. The lead contact is Gonçalo Zagalo Pereira, Department of International Relations.

United Kingdom

Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)

AHRC is a UK non-departmental public body that provides support for research and postgraduate study in the arts and humanities in the UK. The AHRC funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: ancient history, modern dance, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, English literature, design, the creative and performing arts, and much more, in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK. http://www.ahrc.ac.uk. The lead contact is: Pamela Mason, Strategy and Development Manager.

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK’s largest organisation for funding research on social and economic issues. It supports independent, high quality research on national and international scales, which has an impact on business, the public sector the third sector and academia. All ESRC funding is subject to three principles: Quality, Impact and Independence. In addition to supporting the very best research, the ESRC is committed to advancing the training and capacity of social science researchers, enabling and facilitating partnership building, delivering world-class data infrastructure and cutting edge methods, fostering international collaboration, and raising public awareness of social science. The lead contact is Samantha McGregor, Senior Policy Manager.

United States

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)

NEH is an executive-branch, independent grant-making agency of the Government of the United States of America dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities and in those social sciences that use humanistic methods. NEH accomplishes this mission by providing grants for high-quality humanities projects to cultural institutions, such as museums, archives, libraries, colleges, universities, public television, and radio stations, and to individual scholars. The lead contact is Brett Bobley, Director, Office of Digital Humanities.

National Science Foundation (NSF)

The National Science Foundation (NSF) of the United States of America is an independent Federal agency created by the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended (42 USC 1861-75). The Act states the purpose of the NSF is "to promote the progress of science; [and] to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare by supporting research and education in all fields of science and engineering." NSF funds research and education in most fields of science and engineering. It does this through grants and cooperative agreements to more than 2,000 colleges, universities, K-12 school systems, businesses, informal science organizations and other research organizations throughout the US. The Foundation accounts for about one-fourth of Federal support to academic institutions for basic research. The lead contact is Joan Maling, Program Director, Linguistics.

Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) of the United States of America is the primary source of Federal support for the country’s123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. The IMLS mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. IMLS grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. The lead contact is Trevor Owens, Senior Program Officer.

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The Participants recognize that the very best research can be fostered by working with, and benchmarking against, the best researchers internationally. To this end, the Participants wish to develop collaborative activities that bring together scholars, scientists, and cultural heritage professionals from their respective countries in order to share expertise and develop new research agendas. Recognizing their shared objective to foster the interchange of information and scholarly research, the Participants intend to achieve this objective in the manner set forth below:

I. The Participants intend to conduct activities under this Memorandum in accordance with their respective applicable laws, policies and regulations, including but not limited to those pertaining to access to information, privacy, security and information management. Within this framework, the Participants will make every effort to promote favorable conditions for the fulfillment of this cooperation.

lI. In carrying out this Memorandum, the Participants in particular intend to:

a. Address humanities and social sciences research questions by using innovative research techniques in large-scale data analysis; and show how these new techniques can lead to new theoretical insights;

b. Stimulate trans-Atlantic research collaborations that provide added value to digital scholarship in the humanities and social sciences;

c. Foster interdisciplinary collaboration among researchers in the humanities, social sciences, computer sciences, library science, archival science, information sciences, mathematical and statistical sciences, engineering, and other fields, around questions of data analysis;

d. Promote efficient access to and sharing of the materials for research by working with data repositories that hold large digital collections;

e. Manage records in their holdings pertaining to any shared activities in accordance with their respective policies and procedures on information management; and

f. Ensure safekeeping of all records under their custody and control. This includes safeguarding records from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, alteration, removal and destruction.

III. As an example of the cooperation contemplated, the Participants intend to co-sponsor the fourth round of the “Digging into Data Challenge,” an international grant competition originally founded in 2008 by NEH. The Digging into Data Challenge is aimed at fostering international research in the humanities and social sciences that takes advantage of large-scale digital data.

IV. Each Participant intends to bear the costs of its participation under this Memorandum and each Participant's participation in activities described in this Memorandum is subject to the availability of funding and other resources.

V. This Memorandum does not impose, nor is it intended to impose, any legal obligations on the Participants. The Participants intend for this Memorandum to reflect only the political understandings among them.

VI. The Participants intend for cooperation under this Memorandum to begin upon signature by all Participants and continue for five (5) years from the date of the last signature. If any Participant chooses to discontinue its cooperation under this Memorandum, it should endeavor to provide ninety (90) days’ written notice of its intent to discontinue to the other Participants. The Participants intend to review and decide whether to continue their cooperation under this Memorandum prior to the end of the five-year period. This Memorandum may be modified at any time by mutual written determination of the Participants.

VII. This Memorandum may be signed in counterparts. All of the counterpart copies will together constitute one fully executed Memorandum. NEH will ensure that each Participant is provided with a copy of the fully executed Memorandum.