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Call for Proposals Biota/FAPESP: Taxonomy, Systematics, and Phylogeography

Call for Proposals of the Program of Research into the Characterization, Conservation, Restoration, and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity in the State of São Paulo (Biota/FAPESP): Taxonomy, Systematics, and Phylogeography

For Regular Research Grants, Thematic Project Grants, and the Young Researchers at Emerging Centers Program


1) Background

Mindful of the importance of the pursuit of knowledge and mechanisms that permit the sustainable use of biodiversity, FAPESP has contributed significantly to the advancement of scientific and technological knowledge in this field. During its 45-year history, the foundation has facilitated, through various forms of research support, numerous calls for proposals to address issues related to biodiversity and its sustainability. Among these activities is the Program of Research into the Characterization, Conservation, Restoration, and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity in the State of São Paulo, also known as the Biota/FAPESP Program, launched in March of 1999. Ten years after the creation of the program, new calls for proposals for the coming ten years are being planned to fill gaps in the mapping of biodiversity in the state of São Paulo. The goals of the Biota/FAPESP program are to inventory, map, and characterize the biodiversity of the state of São Paulo, including its fauna, flora, and microorganisms, as well as evaluate the sustainable use of economically valuable plants, animals, or other organisms, and to facilitate the formulation of conservation policies.

The Biota/FAPESP Program is also called the Virtual Institute of Biodiversity, because it allows researchers and students from many institutions to share information and interact with each other online. The program involves more than 1,200 professionals (900 researchers and students at the main public universities, research institutions, and non-profit organizations in the state of São Paulo, 150 collaborators in other Brazilian states, and 80 researchers from other countries). In addition to advancing fundamental and applied knowledge related to the characterization, conservation, and sustainability of biodiversity in the state of São Paulo, the program has made significant contributions toward the development of human resources highly qualified to perform R&D in these areas.

This call for proposals seeks to coordinate research and development activities, as well as to promote the advancement of knowledge, in areas related to the taxonomic, systematic, and phylogeographic classification of groups of organisms found in the state of São Paulo, as well as to focus on State Water Management Units identified as poorly studied in the Science Plan and Strategies for the Next Decade (available at www.fapesp.br/biota/10scienceplan.pdf) and the insular regions of the state of São Paulo. The current call for proposals includes the following topics:

a. taxonomic revisions of groups

b. phylogeography, with the objective of understanding the genetic, demographic, and biogeographic processes involved in the evolutionary diversification of populations

c. morphology and anatomy, aiming at applications in taxonomy, systematics, phylogeny, and phylogeography of groups of organisms

d. systematics and phylogenetics, including molecular studies, with the aim of proposing hypotheses regarding the evolution and relatedness of organisms

e. biological inventories using standardized quantitative methods to generate comparative data for the various regions of the state of São Paulo and for the country as a whole

f. development of human resources in the fields of taxonomy and systematics, as these are priority areas for the correct identification of organisms in the biodiversity surveys undertaken

g. projects in the field of education intended to produce educational materials for middle schools and high schools

The main scientific fields dealt with in this Call for Proposals are taxonomy, systematics, and phylogeography, with approaches focused on the seven items above. However, funding is not restricted to these topics. Innovative experimental strategies will also be considered.

Although proposals are expected to study the biota of São Paulo, this call is not restricted to areas within the state. Proposals that include studies of a complete ecosystem, or a complete group of species, that occurs partially within the state of São Paulo will be considered, as will studies of a group of organisms relevant for a better understanding of the biota of São Paulo, even if the group does not occur in the state.

It is expected that research activities in these areas will generate new knowledge and train highly qualified scientific workers, who are essential for enhancing research capacity in taxonomy, systematics, and phylogeography.


2) Subjects covered by this Call for Proposals

Projects must encompass research on taxonomy, systematics, and phylogeography, including inventories, conservation, enlargement of scientific collections, and the production of educational materials appropriate for middle schools and high schools. Projects should also encourage interaction between researchers from different subfields of biology, such as climatology, geology, geography, education, and related fields, as appropriate.

Inventories must be carefully planned by specialists, including field collection, obtaining samples for molecular analysis where possible, and preservation techniques, as well as storage in museums/herbaria or internationally indexed collections to ensure fixation. The production of manuals or identification keys should be a goal of projects focused on taxonomy and systematics. Major approaches to consider include taxonomic revisions, studies of biogeographic mechanisms, and evolutionary strategies, as well as phylogeographic and population genetic studies using molecular biology in addition to traditional taxonomy.

Projects that identify new species, threatened species, and hot spots of biodiversity, or that produce other findings with potential application in the conservation and recovery of biodiversity are also encouraged.

Proposals that present solutions to emerging problems, such as the disappearance of species due to anthropogenic activity, the presence of invasive species, or the restoration of degraded land, should also be considered.

Partnerships between researchers and professionals from the field of education designed to produce teaching materials for middle schools and high schools are also encouraged. Such materials should further the dissemination of knowledge regarding the importance of taxonomy, systematics, phylogeography, evolution, and the biological collections such studies are based on.


3) Call for Proposals

The Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP, São Paulo Research Foundation) is making a public Call for Proposals and invites interested researchers affiliated with institutions of higher learning or nonprofit research institutions in the state of São Paulo to propose research projects under the Biota/FAPESP Program, adhering to the instructions and conditions set forth below. Proposals must be submitted under one of the following grant mechanisms:

a. Regular Research Grants

b. Thematic Project Grants

c. Young Researchers at Emerging Centers Program (hereafter, Young Researchers Program)

Researchers working in other states or countries (Brazilians or non-Brazilians) interested in submitting proposals through the FAPESP Young Researchers at Emerging Centers Program should submit proposals following the instructions described in paragraph 5.c.

Under this Call for Proposals, FAPESP will consider research projects already submitted to the Foundation provided that they deal with the fields of taxonomy, systematics, or phylogeography. Requests for such consideration should be made by the Principal Investigator using the form available at www.fapesp.br/formularios/adesao/biota_adesao.doc.


4) Objectives

The goal of this Call for Proposals by the Biota/FAPESP Program is to identify, select, and support research projects that address the frontiers of current knowledge in taxonomy, systematics, and phylogeography and that are related to the topics described in Section 2.


5) Requirements for Participation

The requirements for participation in the Call for Proposals will be strictly enforced in the classification and evaluation of projects. Please read them carefully. Proposals that do not meet any of the requirements will be disqualified and will not advance to the merit evaluation phase.

a. Proposals must be submitted under one of the following grant mechanisms: Regular Research Grants, Thematic Project Grants, and the FAPESP Young Researchers Program. All conditions and restrictions of these grant mechanisms will apply unless explicitly waved in this Call for Proposals.

b. Proposals for Regular Research Grants and Thematic Project Grants must be made by a researcher from a public or nonprofit institution of higher education or research in the state of São Paulo.

c. Proposals made through the Young Researchers Program must involve projects that will be carried out in public or private institutions of higher education and research in the state of São Paulo. An expression of support from the host institution is not required for initial consideration of proposals under this grant mechanism. In such cases, if the preliminary evaluation is favorable, the Principal Investigator will have a period of 90 days to supply an expression of support from the institution where the research is to be carried out. At that time, FAPESP will proceed to the final examination of the proposal.

The Young Researchers Program will accept proposals from researchers who are residents of other Brazilian states or foreign countries (Brazilians or non-Brazilians) who wish to carry out research in the state of São Paulo. Foreign candidates are required to present a copy of a permanent or temporary visa that is appropriate to the proposed research activity. Should a grant be awarded, visas must be presented by the date of signing of the Terms of Award document. Researchers must reside in the state of São Paulo during the execution of the research project.

d. Grant applications already under review by FAPESP are also eligible, provided that they relate to the subject of the current Call for Proposals and are submitted under one of the abovementioned grant mechanisms. For consideration under this call, Principal Investigators are required to submit a written request providing the grant application number and any additional documentation requested by FAPESP.

e. Researchers who already have Thematic Project Grants in progress may submit new proposals for Thematic Project Grants. Should an additional proposal be approved by merit evaluation, a period of discussion with the Principal Investigators will be required to ensure the optimal development of the approved projects.

 

6) Research proposal characteristics

Proposals must meet at least some (preferably all) of the following research objectives:

a. New and innovative solutions: FAPESP seeks scientific research proposals designed to explore and create new knowledge or technology and that will contribute to the training of students and researchers in the fields of taxonomy, systematics, and phylogeography. FAPESP encourages daring, original, and unconventional approaches to the main scientific and technological challenges listed in Section 2.

b. Dissemination and communication of results: The findings of funded research projects must be widely communicated within the relevant scientific communities using established channels of academic communication such as international conferences and publication in peer-reviewed journals. All approved projects must establish and make available dedicated project websites that convey substantial detail. Additional channels for disseminating results include regional workshops, postgraduate seminars, as well as classes and course materials.

 

7) Responsibilities of researchers participating in projects funded by the Biota/FAPESP program

The Principal Investigator assumes the following responsibilities to the Program Research Network:

a. The Principal Investigator and the other team members will participate in workshops, seminars, and scientific meetings sponsored by the Biota/FAPESP Program. The Biota/FAPESP Program hosts periodic workshops, and all Principal Investigators affiliated with the program must participate, together with their students when appropriate. Participation in workshops is a special opportunity to learn about ongoing research, as well as to access data and results prior to publication.

b. The Principal Investigator will participate in periodic evaluation meetings held by the Biota/FAPESP Program.

c. The Principal Investigator agrees to abide by an open data policy under which participants make data and information gathered in funded projects available to other participants, entering them into the Program Database. Patents resulting from this call for proposals should adhere to the procedures and standards established by institutional Innovation Agencies/Technology Innovation Centers (NITs) and by FAPESP, based on the São Paulo State Innovation Law.

d. For disclosure and communication purposes, the Principal Investigator will regularly provide updates on project results.

7.1) Benefits of participating in the Biota/FAPESP Program

a. an additional 2% in Special Technical Reserve funds, in addition to the standard Technical Reserve funds, to support database maintenance and the organization of workshops and seminars

a.1. This award will be granted as part of a separate application under the responsibility of the Biota/FAPESP Program Coordinators.

b. access to the Program Database, including scenarios of future climate change that will be made available in the system

c. training in the use of the computation systems and models used by the Biota/FAPESP Program

d. inclusion of the project on the Biota/FAPESP Program website

e. announcement and notification of research findings

f. coordination with government agencies on matters of public policy

g. participation in workshops dealing with advances in diverse program areas, allowing an ongoing exchange of ideas on all aspects of the latest research in taxonomy, systematics, and phylogeography


8) Funding

a. The suitability of the proposed budget to the project goals and the abilities of the proposing team will be considered during the analysis and selection of proposals.

b. In approved research proposals, FAPESP reserves the right to suggest budgets smaller than those requested.

 

9) Items eligible for funding

Budget items can include the following:

a. costs: those traditionally supported by FAPESP under the funding mechanisms applicable to this Call for Proposals and described on the FAPESP website (www.fapesp.br).

b. note that:

b.1. Requests for Regular Research Grants can include Technical Training (TT) stipends as an associated budget item, as per the policies for this funding mechanism described at www.fapesp.br/materia/4776.

b.2. Proposals for Thematic Project Grants may include the following types of stipends as associated budget items: Technical Training (TT), (support for) Young Researchers (YR), Direct to PhD (DPhD), and Postdoctoral (PPhD). Stipend policies for Thematic Project Grants are described at www.fapesp.br/materia/4603.

b.3. Proposals made under the Young Researchers Program may include the following types of stipends as associated budget items: TT, YR, and DPhD. Stipend policies for this type of award are described at www.fapesp.br/materia/4507. Young researchers not employed by the institution where the research project is to be conducted are eligible for a Young Researchers Program grant as described at www.fapesp.br/materia/4500.

b.4. The management and evaluation of stipend requests will follow FAPESP rules and procedures applicable to each stipend type (TT, YR, DPhD, or PPhD) requested as part of project budgets.

b.5. In all of the cases discussed above, the advisers or supervisors of students seeking fellowships should be the Principal Investigators of the grant (Regular Research, Thematic Project, or Young Researchers Program grant) under which the stipends are requested.

 

10) Duration of the proposed project

a. The duration of projects proposed as Regular Research Grants may be as long as 24 months.

b. The duration of projects proposed under the Young Researchers Program may be as long as 48 months.

c. The duration of projects proposed as Thematic Projects may be as long as 60 months.

 

11) Formatting of the proposal

a. Proposals must be submitted EXCLUSIVELY in print form and accompanied by a CD containing a single PDF file consisting of all four items described in Section 12, including the FAPESP grant application form (item 12.a).

b. All application documents whose length is specified (in number of pages) must use Times New Roman or an equivalent font, size 11, with 1.5 line spacing.

 

12) Required documents, project organization, and budget

a. FAPESP application forms for funding under the chosen grant mechanism (Regular Research Grants, Thematic Project Grants, or Young Researchers Program) for this call for proposals of the Biota/FAPESP Program, as well as the Biota/FAPESP Program membership form, are available at www.fapesp.br/chamadas/biota/apr_tem_taxon.doc, www.fapesp.br/chamadas/biota/jp_taxon.doc and www.fapesp.br/materia/5223

b. Other than the grant application form and the Biota/FAPESP Program membership form described above, all other documents necessary for the preparation and submission of proposals (including the instruction manual, term sheet, budget worksheets, team description form, annual physical-financial schedule, and instructions for preparing a FAPESP curriculum vitae for the Principal Investigator submitting the grant application and for all Principal Investigators in the case of Thematic Project Grant and Young Researchers Program applications) can be found at the locations listed below:

b.1. For proposals submitted under the Regular Research Grants mechanism, the list of required documents is located at: www.fapesp.br/materia/549.

b.2. For proposals submitted under the Thematic Project Grant mechanism, the list of required documents is located at: www.fapesp.br/materia/1552.

b.3. For proposals submitted under the Young Researchers Program grant mechanism, the list of required documents is located at: www.fapesp.br/materia/554.

c. In addition to the documentation required for each grant type, applicants must submit a Research Project Executive Summary (of up to 2 pages) containing the following:

c..1. project title

c.2. objectives

c.3. amount requested from FAPESP

c.4. thematic area of the project, with special attention given to explaining the connection to, or complementarity with, the themes listed in Section 2

c.5. general goals

c.6. specific goals

c.7. significance and relevance for the fields of taxonomy, systematics, phylogeography, or any combination of the three

c.8. results and work products expected within 2 years (for projects funded under any of the three grant mechanisms), 4 years (for Young Researchers Program grants), and five years (for Thematic Projects)

c.9. current sources of funding (from FAPESP or other grant agencies) for the project

d. Research Project Proposal: The project proposal should be prepared in Portuguese and should not exceed 20 pages, using Times New Roman font, size 11, and 1.5 line spacing. Foreign researchers interested in submitting proposals under the Young Researchers Program but not fluent in Portuguese may make the submission in English. A copy of this Call for Proposals has been published in English at http://www.fapesp.br/en/materiaxxxxx. Questions regarding preparation in English of a Young Researchers Program project proposal and other required documentation should be sent to the contact e-mail address provided in item 14.2 below.

The research project proposal should address all of the points described in the directions for preparation and formatting of grant proposals. Instructions for the available grant mechanisms can be found at the locations listed below:

d.1. For preparing project proposals under the Regular Research Grants mechanism, follow the instructions available at: www.fapesp.br/materia/4784.

d.2. For preparing project proposals under the Thematic Project Grants mechanism, follow the instructions available at: www.fapesp.br/materia/4611.

d.3. For preparing project proposals under the Young Researchers Program mechanism, follow the instructions available at: www.fapesp.br/materia/4517.

 

13) Intellectual property

FAPESP rules will apply to the registration of, and any financial gain from, intellectual property produced by funded projects. The rules are available at: www.fapesp.br/materia/5139.

 

14) Points of contact for this Call for Proposals

14.1) Submission of proposals

Proposals should be placed in a sealed envelope and mailed or hand delivered to FAPESP at the following address:

PROPOSTA DE PESQUISA

CHAMADA BIOTA – TAXONOMIA, SISTEMÁTICA E FILO GEOGRAFIA

FAPESP
Rua Pio XI, 1500 - Alto da Lapa

CEP 05468-901 - São Paulo - SP - Brazil

14.2) For questions

Questions regarding this Call for Proposals should be sent by e-mail to Chamada_BiotaTaxonomiaFilogeografia@fapesp.br. To expedite the response, please include “Call for Proposals – Biota/FAPESP” in the subject line.

Contact person for questions about this Call for Proposals:

Dra. Patrícia Brant Monteiro

Area Director for Biological and Agricultural Sciences

FAPESP
E-mail: Chamada_BiotaTaxonomiaFilogeografia@fapesp.br


15) Review and selection of proposals

All proposals that are deemed to adhere to the criteria established for this Call for Proposal will be analyzed in three stages:

15.1) Compliance with the Biota/FAPESP Program

a. The Coordinators of the Biota/FAPESP Program will analyze whether the proposal complies with the program, and will emit a final ruling that will inform the decision made by FAPESP.

b. If the proposal is deemed to be noncompliant with the Biota/FAPESP Program, FAPESP will evaluate the proposal using the procedures applicable to the grant mechanism chosen, but without the special considerations which may apply specifically to proposals under of the Biota/FAPESP Program and this Call for Proposals.

c. The Coordinators of the Biota/FAPESP Program will evaluate the compliance of the proposals on the basis of the following considerations:

c.1. whether the proposal addresses the research fields targeted by this Call for Proposals

c.2. the potential contribution of the proposed project to other research underway within the Biota/FAPESP Program

c.3. the possibility for integration with other research underway within the Biota/FAPESP Program

c.4. how the Biota/FAPESP program can contribute academically to the proposed project

15.2) Evaluation of proposals compliant with the Biota/FAPESP Program

Proposals made under this call will be analyzed using ad hoc advisory opinions rendered by the FAPESP Area Coordinators and Adjunct Coordinators according to the normal criteria applied by FAPESP in the selection of proposals under this grant mechanism.

Researchers with proposals under consideration will not participate in the evaluation and selection process.

In addition to the specific criteria that apply to the FAPESP funding mechanism selected, all proposals will be evaluated using the following criteria:

a. adherence to the terms specified in this Call for Proposals

b. originality and ambitiousness of the academic research proposal; well-defined research objectives, which, if attained, will potentially have a significant impact in the field of research under study

c. quality of the research project, defined as clearly stated objectives and goals, as well as demonstrated scientific and technical means, methods, and materials needed to meet those goals, vis à vis the state of the art in the field

d. suitability of the infrastructure offered by the host institution

e. credentials of the applicant and his team (as demonstrated in the curriculum vitae of the principal researchers): a previous history of research results in fields relevant to this Call for Proposals; the successful completion of previous projects, awards and recognitions for teaching and research activities; and publications

f. viability of the project: the suitability of available resources; the level of institutional support offered; the appropriateness of the timelines, as well as of the number and quality of the participants; and the overall value provided, including the efficient use of grant funds

g. potential for wide dissemination and use of any intellectual property created, including plans for scientific publications, conference presentations, and the distribution of content (in multiple formats and languages)

h. opportunities to train new researchers and professionals during the execution of the project

15.3) Evaluation by the FAPESP Scientific Board of Directors

The final decision will be made by the FAPESP Scientific Board of Directors and Technical-Administrative Council.

16) Timeline

Proposals should be submitted according to the following timeline:

Step

Date

Publication of the Call for Proposals on the FAPESP website

16 November, 2010

Deadline to submit proposals

14 February, 2011

Publication of the results of the evaluation and selection process

Starting 14 June, 2011


17) Results of the selection process

The final results will be published on the FAPESP website (www.fapesp.br) and will be communicated directly to the interested parties.


18) Terms of Award, monitoring, and evaluation of the projects

Should the application be approved, a Terms of Award document will be prepared. The Terms of Award must be signed both by the principal investigator and by the responsible official at the host institution. Research results should be documented in scientific reports and financial accounting should be provided as per the Terms of Award document.

 

19) Cancellation of a grant

If serious adverse events occur during the execution of the project, the FAPESP Board of Scientific Directors can cancel the grant and may take other action, as appropriate.