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Call for Proposals – Fapesp – Agilent

Agilent – FAPESP
Public selection of proposals for research in Advanced Instrumentation and Measurement Techniques related to Metabolomics in Plant and Micro Biology, Mass Spectrometry and BioEnergy

August 2011

1 Background

The themes of interest shared by Agilent and FAPESP for this call for research proposals are:

1. Metabolomics in Plant and Microbiology

Metabolomics is the molecular study of the unique fingerprint of small molecules (amino acids, lipids, organic acids, sugars, etc.) which specific cellular processes produce during metabolism, the chemical processes in a cell or organism that are necessary for life. Metabolomics is one of the fastest growing areas of life sciences research, and the biodiversity of Brazil presents a unique opportunity to extend knowledge of the role of metabolomics in plant and microbiology, and opportunities to apply this knowledge for improved quality of life.

2. Original Ideas in Mass Spectrometry Measurement

Mass spectrometry has become one of the most important techniques for identifying chemical and biological molecules in complex samples. The technology has progressed significantly in recent years, but there are additional opportunities to advance both the measurement technology and novel applications thereof. The latter could include improved methods for measuring proteins and other biomolecules of interest, as well as research toward increasing the ease of use and accessibility of mass spectrometry in order to address new challenges in life science and applied measurement markets.

3. Advancing Measurement in BioEnergy

São Paulo is a world leader in BioEnergy research and its implementation as an alternative to fossil fuels. The continuing advancement of science and technology is tightly linked to the advancement of measurement. This theme aims to identify and advance new measurements, from sample prep through detection and data analysis, which can continue to increase the contribution of BioEnergy in addressing Sao Paulo and the world’s energy needs.

2 Request for Academic Research Proposals

There are multiple scientific and technological challenges in making progress with respect to advancing Scientific Instrumentation methods and techniques research in the state of São Paulo. With this request for proposals, Agilent and FAPESP will support academic research and have a keen interest in interdisciplinary approaches to these research issues. The objective of the academic research projects must be to advance the state-of-the-art of technologies relevant to scientific instrumentation methods and techniques challenges, and not develop routine applications using well-known technologies.

Expected outcomes of research projects would include, but not be limited to, academic peer-reviewed paper publications, web sites with resources for the academic community, proof-of-concept projects that utilize advances in scientific instrumentation methods and techniques, tools and services for researchers and scientists, and presentation of findings at academic conferences.

Projects will be reviewed specifically for the merit of the following research goals:

1) Bold scientific objectives and sound methodology and goals.

2) Focus on relevant technology advancements, taking into account the technology issues described in the points above, which will provide benefits in such areas as metabolomics in plant and micro biology, mass spectrometry or bioenergy.

It must be emphasized that creativity and novel approaches are strongly encouraged.

The Foundation for the Support of Research in the State of São Paulo and Agilent make public this Request for Research Proposals and invite researchers associated to Institutions of Higher Education or Research, public or private, in the State of São Paulo, to present research proposals within the scope of the Agreement between FAPESP and Agilent, according to the following specifications.

3 Objectives

The objective of this FAPESP/Agilent Request for Proposals is to identify, select and support world-class research in advanced instrumentation and measurement techniques related to metabolomics in plant and micro biology, mass spectrometry or bioenergy.

For the purpose of this Request for Proposals, academic research has two essential ingredients: creation of new scientific knowledge and communication of results in the world-wide academic community. Both of these ingredients are essential. Projects should have a very high impact through:

a) Interesting, creative, novel work in: advanced instrumentation and measurement techniques related to metabolomics in plant and micro biology, mass spectrometry and bioenergy

b) Publication and dissemination of knowledge and experiences to the world-wide academic community.

4 Eligibility

Conditions of eligibility listed below will be strictly adhered to, so please read them carefully. Proposals not meeting all these criteria will not be considered.

a) Proposals should be submitted by researchers from higher education and research organizations, public or non-profit, in the State of São Paulo.

b) Proposals that are incomplete, inaccurate, request funds in excess of the maximum award available, or are otherwise not responsive to the terms and conditions of this RFP will, at the sole discretion of the Joint Steering Committee for the FAPESP-Agilent cooperation, be excluded from consideration.

5 Research proposal characteristics

Proposals should target some or all of the following research goals:

a) Novel and Creative Solutions: The intention of the project is not to enable incremental engineering projects with a known outcome, but rather to explore and create new knowledge and technology. FAPESP and Agilent encourage bold, novel, and unconventional approaches to the core science and technology challenges in this area.

b) Immediate Relevance: FAPESP and Agilent are seeking academic research projects that are highly complementary to a broad community need. Goals should be specific, measurable, and results-oriented with tangible metrics.

c) Potential for Economic Impact: An ideal project will have the potential of sustainability beyond the timeframe of the proposed funding. Projects with direct economic impact offer far greater incentive for regional stakeholders to learn and support new technologies.

d) Dissemination and Potential for Academic Publication: Research results should be widely communicated through relevant scientific communities using established academic channels, such as international conferences and refereed journals. All funded projects should result in a detailed Web presence and relevant conference publications or presentations. Other channels for community development include regional workshops, graduate seminars, and curriculum components such as courses or course materials.

e) Pilot Deployment: The goal of this request for proposal is to advance the state of the art of technologies. The development of pilot projects is highly encouraged but not a strict requirement. This RFP excludes routine application development using well-known technologies.

6 Funds

The total amount available under this request for proposals (RFP) is US$ 400,000.00, with 50% of this value to be provided by FAPESP and 50% by Agilent. It is anticipated that 3-5 proposals will be selected, with individual values in the range of US$75,000 to $150,000. The appropriateness of the requested funding amount in relation to the proposal goals and qualification of the proposing team is a primary review consideration. In addition, FAPESP and Agilent reserve the right to propose lower funding levels for projects.

7 Presentation of proposals

Proposals should be for duration of at most three years and should be presented containing:

a) FAPESP-Agilent Form, available at www.fapesp.br/chamadas/agilent/agilent2011_submission.doc

b) FAPESP Biosketch for the PI. This document should be submitted in two versions, one in English and the other in Portuguese. Please make sure that the English version of your proposal is an appropriate translation of the Portuguese version. Guidelines are available at www.fapesp.br/materia/5266.

c) Research proposal: Proposals should be submitted in two versions, one in English and the other in Portuguese. Please make sure that the English version of your proposal is an appropriate translation of the Portuguese version. The proposal should cover items from c.1) to c.7) below in no more than 20 pages, using font size 12 and double spacing. Please address the sections listed below, from c.1) to c.7) under separate numbered headings:

c.1) Problem statement: What is the problem addressed by the proposal and why is it important? What is the potential research contribution to the field of the project if successful? Cite relevant work in the field as appropriate.

c.2) Expected outcomes: What new science will be created or produced as a result of the proposed project? How will the results of this project be disseminated to others?

c.3) Scientific and technical challenges and the ways and means to overcome them: This is a critical part of the proposal. Describe the scientific and technical challenges that the project will overcome to reach the proposed goals. Describe the methods and means that will be used for this. Cite references that can help the reviewers to ascertain that such challenges were not yet overcome (or were not overcome in an adequate way) and that they can be overcome with the methods and means proposed in the project.

c.4) Expertise and infrastructure used in the project: List the expertise in your research group and the infrastructure (measurement instruments and facilities) to be applied to execution of the research proposal.

c.5) Schedule: When is the project to be completed? What milestones will be used to measure progress of the project and when will they be completed? If the project described is part of a larger ongoing research program, estimate the time for completion of this project only.

c.6) Dissemination and Evaluation: How will the results of this project be evaluated (if appropriate), and how will they be disseminated to others? Under what general license terms will be the results made available?

c.7) Other Support: List other contributions by the University to this project (cash, goods, or services), if any, but not including such things as use of university facilities otherwise provided on an ongoing basis. Note that authors of winning proposals will be required to present an original letter on university letterhead signed by the institution director certifying the commitment of any additional support.

In addition, each proposal must add as annexes the item below, if applicable (this item is not included in the 20 pages limit mentioned above):

d) Work plan for the requested fellowships: The proposed budget may include costs for Scientific Initiation, Master or Post-Doctoral fellowships, which must have a duration equal or less than the duration of the proposed project. For each requested fellowship a work plan with less than two pages (12 point font size, double spacing) must be submitted together with the research proposal. This work plan must include: Title for the Fellowship Project, Summary, and Description of the plan. It is not necessary to nominate the holder of the fellowship. If the proposal is approved the Principal Investigator will have the responsibility to organize a public selection process to select the appointees for the fellowships through an internal merit review process.

e) Requested budget description (spreadsheets available at www.fapesp.br/chamadas/agilent/agilent2011_budget.xlsx):

e.1) Consolidated Budget Request, classified by types of expense;

e.2) Consolidated Budget Request, for fellowships;

e.3) Budget Request by types of expense:

e.3.i) Capital and equipment expenses in Brazil;
e.3.ii) Capital and equipment expenses from abroad;
e.3.iii) Consumables acquired in Brazil;
e.3.iv) Consumables acquired abroad;
e.3.v) Services acquired in Brazil;
e.3.vi) Services acquired abroad;
e.3.vii) Transportation expenses;
e.3.viii) Per diem expenses

The proposals must be sent printed in one copy and with a CD containing, in a single PDF file, the English versions of all documents described in items 7.b), 7.c) and 7.d.1).

The envelope should be addressed to:

Chamada de Propostas de Pesquisa FAPESP- Agilent
FAPESP
Rua Pio XI, 1500, Alto da Lapa
05468-901, SP, São Paulo

No proposals will be accepted by any other means.

All submitted proposals under this RFP will not be returned to the researchers submitting such proposals. For record-keeping and administrative purposes a copy will be archived by FAPESP.

8 Analysis and selection of the submitted proposals

All submissions must adhere to the terms stated in this Request for Proposals.

An international and multidisciplinary team of scientists will review the proposals; therefore, it is very important to write the proposals in clear and well-structured English. Proposals that are difficult to understand in English might be poorly understood and receive poor ratings.

The selection process will use a merit review and comparative analysis. These will use reviewer’s reports and the FAPESP’s Area and Adjunct Committees, following the criteria used for the selection of Regular Research Grants selected by FAPESP, plus the Joint Steering Committee for the FAPESP-Agilent cooperation.

Researchers participating in any submitted proposal will not take part in the analysis and selection process.

All proposals will be analyzed and selected using the following criteria:

a) Adherence to the terms of this RFP

b) Novelty and Ambition of the proposed academic research project, as it relates to the goals of this RFP.

c) Qualification of the research project, in the specification of clear goals, of the challenges to be overcome and the scientific, technical and material means and ways for this, in relation to the state-of-the-art in the field.

d) Engineering diligence, including interface definitions, testing methodology, and plans for experimental deployment.

e) Qualifications of principal investigator and his team, including previous history of work in areas relevant to this RFP, successful completion of previous funded projects, teaching awards, and publications, all of those items being demonstrated in the Biosketches of the principal investigators.

f) Ability to complete the project, including the adequacy of resources available, institutional support, reasonableness of timelines, and number and qualifications of identified contributors; value, which encompasses the efficient use of requested resources and funding.

g) Potential for wide dissemination and use of intellectual property created, including specific plans for publications, conference presentations, web sites, as well as plans to distribute content in multiple formats or languages.

h) Formation of new researchers and professionals, as a result of the execution of the project.

9 Schedule

Event

Date

Launching of the RFP at FAPESP Web site

August 26, 2011

Last date for receiving proposals

November 28, 2011

Publication of results of the selection process

March 5, 2012

10 Project duration

The selected projects will have duration of up to 36 months.

11 Announcement of results

The results of the selection process will be announced in FAPESP’s Web Site at www.fapesp.br and by communication to the proponents.

12 Cancellation of the award

The award might be canceled by FAPESP, in the event of justifiable cause, on the basis of evaluation by the Scientific Director of FAPESP. Cancellation does not preclude other measures that might be deemed necessary.

13 Awarding, Follow-up and Evaluation

For the selected proposals there will be a FAPESP Award Term, which will be signed by the Principal Investigator and by the authority in charge of the hosting institution

Results must be demonstrated in Scientific Reports, as well as Expense Demonstration, according to the specified in the FAPESP Award Term.

Once your specific research project has been accepted by the FAPESP/Agilent joint steering committee, you will be presented with a “Grant Award Agreement”. For your convenience, below is a brief synopsis of the key provisions of the agreement to aid you and your legal counsel in reviewing the document.

14 Operational Matters

If your proposal is selected, there will be a Grant Award Agreement to be signed by you, by FAPESP and by your Institution, regarding the rights and obligations of each part. This is similar to the standard FAPESP Grant Award Agreement, with some modifications to allow for the compromises of the FAPESP – Agilent cooperation. The full Term of Agreement can be found at www.fapesp.br/en/6578 to be specified. The main points of the Term are:

a) The concession of support for a project by FAPESP does not create any type of labor relationship between the researchers involved in the project and FAPESP.

b) The timing and amounts of funds disbursement will be mutually agreed upon between you and FAPESP.

c) Funds will be held in a joint account and may only be used for the research project.

d) Any equipment or materials you wish to acquire to assist you in your research will be subject to standard Brazilian laws and concession of use requirements.

e) You are required to provide FAPESP with yearly progress reports. These reports will be shared with the joint FAPESP/Agilent steering committee.

f) The PI for each selected proposal and his team of researchers and students are required to participate in a yearly scientific workshop with the colleagues from all other selected projects.

g) The PI will notify and obtain approval from FAPESP prior to publication of any details about the research project, in the cases for which the publication might jeopardize the protection of the intellectual property.

g.1) In these cases, FAPESP and your institution will work together to obtain timely protection for any Intellectual Property generated by the project and to allow for the publication of scientific results.

h) The PI will acknowledge FAPESP and Agilent’s support in any approved publication or press release regarding your research project.

i) The Term will have to be signed by the PI and by a legal representative from your institution.

14.1 Intellectual Property Rights

a) According to Brazilian law your institution is the owner of any intellectual property you create as a result of the research project.

b) The PI and his institution are responsible for safeguarding that intellectual property.

c) If you and Agilent engage in any joint research activities, both will jointly own any inventions. Terms of that Joint Intellectual Property will be mutually agreed upon between your University and Agilent through a separate agreement.

d) In consideration of the funding being provided, the institution that employs the PI will grant to both FAPESP and Agilent a non-exclusive, royalty-free license to any intellectual property arising from the funded research project.

e) If the research project results in patentable inventions, you must notify FAPESP so that Agilent can decide if it wants to engage with you for an exclusive license. Terms of that exclusive license (fees, etc.) will be mutually agreed upon. The PI and his institution will retain the right to use the technology for research and teaching purposes.

f) If your institution receives royalties for technology created as a result of the research project, FAPESP will receive a percentage of those royalties. This will be documented by a separate agreement.

14.2 Intellectual Property Limitations

a) If you wish to use any pre-existing intellectual property in the research project, you must obtain adequate rights from the owner so that you can grant the licenses to FAPESP and Agilent as stated above.

15 Information and clarification

Please send any questions to chamada_agilent@fapesp.br. Please use “RFP FAPESP-Agilent” in the subject line of your e-mail message to ensure a prompt and proper response.

For technical information please contact: 

1. Metabolomics in Plant and Microbiology
Agilent Contact:
Dr. Leo Bonilla
Market Director, Life Science Research/Integrated Biology 
leo.bonilla@agilent.com

2. Original Ideas in Mass Spectrometry Measurement
Agilent Contact:
Dr. Carl Myerholtz
Molecular Detection Laboratory Director
carl_myerholtz@agilent.com

3. Advancing Measurement in BioEnergy
Agilent Contact:
Dr. Wayne Collins
World-wide Industry Manager, Energy & Chemical
wayne_collins@agilent.com