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Call for Research Proposals – FAPESP – Microsoft Research


Virtual Research Institute FAPESP–Microsoft Research

November 2011

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

1 - Background

There are multiple scientific and technological challenges in making progress with respect to advancing Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) research in the state of São Paulo, for application to Global Climate Change and Environmental Sciences issues. With this call for research proposals, Microsoft Research and FAPESP will support academic research and have a keen interest in interdisciplinary approaches to the research issues previous mentioned. The objective of the academic research projects must be to advance knowledge of relevant technologies to ICT challenges and its application to promote solutions to the research areas here contemplated, 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 ICT, 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 knowledge and technology advancements, taking into account the technology issues described in the points below, which will provide benefits in such areas as global climate change and environmental sciences.

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

2 - Objectives

The objective of this call for research proposals is to explore the application of Computing Science to the challenges of basic research in areas related to Global Climate Change and other disciplines linked to Environmental Sciences. It is worldwide acknowledgeable that ICT’ tools and instruments can be applied beyond its traditional platform and users in the search for ruptures in research that attend key issues in the benefit of society and planet’s sustainability.

This call for research proposals is not restrict to the potential application of Computing Science, but has particular interest in:

a) Introduction of computing tools and techniques for the acquisition, analyses, elaboration and visualization of data, as well as modeling/revision of elements that affect climate change (for example climate, hydrology, oceanography, ecology) and the environment;

b) Application and exploration of computing models related to global climate change and environment;

c) Promotion of science advancement in a way that the produced knowledge may be used in a multi and inter disciplinary manner;

d) Application of computing science to the challenges of databank in large scale in scientific research, including the potential use of many/multi-core technologies and/or computing services cloud-based.

3 - 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 Institutions of Higher Education or Research, public and or private, in the State of São Paulo.

b) Proposals that are incomplete, or are otherwise not responsive to the terms and conditions of this call of research proposals will, at the sole discretion of the Joint Steering Committee for the FAPESP-Microsoft agreement, be excluded from consideration.

c) Proposals must make clear that efforts will be made for the results of selected projects (including intellectual property of these results) will be largely available: (i) becoming the results of public domain; or (ii) becoming the results accessible by non restrictive license that allow modifications and redistribution without significant restrictions or conditions, such as the BSD license available at

4 - 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 Microsoft encourage bold, novel, and unconventional approaches to the core science and technology challenges in the research areas approached in the call for research proposals.

b) Clear Relevance: FAPESP and Microsoft are seeking academic research projects that are highly complementary to society and planet’s sustainability. Goals should be specific, measurable, and results-oriented with tangible metrics.

c) 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. 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 call for research proposal is to advance knowledge and state of the art of technologies. The development of pilot projects is highly encouraged but not a strict requirement. This call for research proposals excludes routine application development using well-known technologies.

5 - Funds

The total amount available under this request for proposals (RFP) is US$ 750,000.00, equally shared by FAPESP and Microsoft Research. The appropriateness of the requested funding amount in relation to the proposal goals and qualification of the proposing team are a primary review consideration. In addition, FAPESP and Microsoft reserve the right to propose lower funding levels for projects.

6 - Presentation of proposals

Proposals must be presented in paper (only one copy) and accompanied by a CD containing, in only one archive in .pdf format, all the material to be submitted.

Proposals should contain:

6.1 - FAPESP – Microsoft Form and Researchers’ Register Form (to be filled by the Responsible Researcher and all other Associated Researchers involved with the project), available at LINK [modality: Research Support Program for Technological Innovation in Partnership (PITE)].

6.2 - FAPESP Biosketch for the Responsible Researcher and all other Associated Researchers involved with the project. This document should be submitted in English. Guidelines are available at

6.3 - Description of the team: all the project’s participants must be listed: besides their names, institutions and entities must be mentioned; the function of each participant within the project must be defined, as well as their dedication (time) to it; each participant listed in the spreadsheet must sign it.

6.4 - Description of the infrastructure available for the project execution, as well as resources from other national and/or international sources that may benefit the project.

6.5 - Description of the set of equipments.

6.6 - Research proposal: Proposals should be submitted in English. The proposal should cover items from a. to f. below in no more than 20 pages, using font Arial size 10 and double spacing. Please address the sections listed below, from a. to f. under separate numbered headings:

a. 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 ine field as appropriate.

b. 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. 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.

d. 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.

e. 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?

f. 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):

6.7 - Work plan for the requested fellowships: The proposed budget may include costs for Scientific Initiation, Master, Doctoral 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.

6.8 - Budged Spreadsheets

a. Consolidated Budget Request, classified by types of expenses (FAPESP-Microsoft, and other sources such as universities, research institutes, other agencies); 

b. Detailed Budget Request (FAPESP-Microsoft) 

c. Physical and financial schedule (FAPESP – Microsoft)

Proposals must be addressed directly to FAPESP or by post to:

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

No proposals will be accepted by any other means.

7 - 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 proposals within the Research Support Program for Technological Innovation in Partnership (PITE), plus the Joint Steering Committee for the FAPESP – Microsoft Research agreement.

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 CFP

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

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) Adequability of the infrastructure of the institution.

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

g) 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.

h) 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.

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

8 - Schedule



 Launching of the CFP at FAPESP Web site

November 08, 2011

 Last date for receiving proposals

December 19, 2011

 Publication of results

March 12, 2012

9 -  Project lengths

The selected projects will have duration of up to 48 months.

10 - Announcement of results

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

11 - 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 and Microsoft Research. Cancellation does not preclude other measures that might be deemed necessary.

12 - 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.

13 - 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 – Microsoft Research agreement. The full Term of Agreement can be found at 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 work in progress reports twice a year. These reports will be shared with the joint FAPESP - Microsoft Research 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 Microsoft Research’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.

13.1 - 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 Microsoft Research 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 Microsoft Research through a separate agreement.

d) In consideration of the funding being provided, the institution that employs the PI will grant to both FAPESP and Microsoft Research 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 Microsoft Research 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.

13.2 - 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 Microsoft Research as stated above.

14 - Information and clarification

Please send any questions to Please use “CFP FAPESP-Microsoft” in the subject line of your e-mail message to ensure a prompt and proper response.