Call for Research Proposals - eScience 2013

Proposals to FAPESP's Research Program on eScience: Regular Research Grants and Thematic Project Research Grants

 

1) Background information 

1.1) Preliminaries

In August and November 2009, the Computer Science and Engineering (CS & E) coordination at FAPESP organized two workshops with two major goals:

  • G1) To identify novel directions in computer science (CS) to advance the research in the area, in the state of SP, and mechanisms to implement related initiatives;
  • G2) To investigate how these directions could at the same time help advance other relevant FAPESP programs, with identifiable research collaboration opportunities with CS.

In the first workshop, a group of computer scientists listened to talks from scientists from other domains, who described their research collaboration opportunities from R & D in CS. Invited speakers were senior researchers who coordinate major projects – in medicine, bioenergy, climate change, biodiversity, astronomy, particle physics, urban development and digital libraries (Brasiliana). They were invited to present these talks because of their leadership in their fields of expertise and experience in organizing large multidisciplinary projects.

The second workshop gathered the same computer scientists, who debated several alternatives to attain goals (G1) and (G2). The consensus was that eScience is an appropriate theme around which FAPESP can build an interdisciplinary program to foster CS research while, at the same time, offer opportunities to the advance of research in other sciences. This Call for Research Proposals (CRP) represents the first FAPESP initiative in this context.

1.2) Why eScience – research world-wide and in the state of São Paulo

The CS&E coordination has identified demands for such a program at several levels. First, by observing the needs of major FAPESP programs such as those in which the invited speakers at workshop 1 are involved. Second, by talking to other area and supervising panels within FAPESP about the proposal, and receiving input from these panels on their needs from CS research.

The following issues observed at the workshops furthermore motivated the choice of eScience as a theme:

a) eScience meets the goals raised at the workshops: it presents ample opportunities for innovative research in CS to foster advances in other domains (from now on called target domains).

b) There is international recognition of its relevance: funding agencies in several countries are fostering/launching initiatives in this theme, motivated by needs such as the ones presented in this document. There are already several success stories – e.g., in eHealth, astronomy and environmental sciences. The FAPESP program would not only follow along such lines, but also profit from lessons learnt to improve on them.

c) It offers opportunities for partnerships: given ongoing efforts in other countries, this would allow new international partnerships within eScience - e.g., with groups in countries such as the USA, Great Britain, Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, Australia, Japan, or Canada.

d) It will augment collaboration among computer scientists: research in eScience demands the collaboration of computer scientists from several fields. An eScience program would present new opportunities for stimulating the cooperation among computer scientists in SP and in other states. This would help to revert the observed trend of pulverization of efforts in CS research, thereby increasing the overall visibility of such efforts, and augmenting their impact.

e) It will foster cooperation between computer scientists and other scientists: besides benefits to the scientific domains involved, this would directly impact the area of computer science research in São Paulo (and Brazil) in two directions: (1) by modifying the perception other scientists have of CS research; and (2) by increasing the number of people interested in following a career in CS;

Moreover, it will offer new opportunities for CS education at all levels, meeting modern needs of scientific education: one of the benefits of this program will be to create environments to train professionals with a multidisciplinary profile, involving CS and target domains. This meets a growing demand, not only from FAPESP programs, but also from the scientific community in general.

1.3) Examples of eScience abroad – agency funding and conferences

There have been long-term eScience initiatives for several scientific domains, as witness programs financed by the NSF, NSERC, EPSRC and others. Other national initiatives concern Sweden (where eScience was established in 2010 as a strategic research area), the Netherlands (and its 3-year old eScience center) and Australia (where major investments in eScience programs started in 2008).

There has been considerable funding for work associated with the life sciences (with emphasis in bioinformatics, but also, for instance, NIH funding on eHealth or the international efforts in biodiversity). Other important examples concern astronomy (and the Virtual Observatory programs) or chemistry (and the emerging field of Chemoinformatics), with additional funding from the pharmaceutical industry. In 2008, the University of Washington created an eScience Institute, to foster work in this area.

The scientific programs of two traditional annual eScience events – Microsoft’s eScience workshop and the IEEE eScience conference, entering its 9th year in 2013 – provide additional examples. The program of the 5th IEEE conference in 2009 shows that the sessions were organized along 7 main topics: Arts, Humanities & e-Social Science; Bioinformatics & Health; Climate & Earth Sciences; Digital Repositories; Physical & Engineering Sciences; Research Tools; and eScience Practice and Education. This list of themes shows the pervasiveness of CS. It also singles out the importance of novel educational efforts to train future generations of scientists and engineers. Training in eScience is also part of the needs and benefits identified by the CS & E coordination for the FAPESP eScience program.

2) Relevant topics for this call for research proposals

Relevant topics for this call for research proposals are as follows. However, this CRP is not restricted to these topics and additional issues that fit in any eScience area are welcome.

  • eScience algorithms and models
    • Mathematical models
    • Data-oriented approaches
    • Digital repositories and data management
    • Extreme scale approaches
  • Cyberinfrastructure to support eScience
    • Novel hardware
    • Novel uses of cyberinfrastructure
    • Software, services, protocols, and research tools
  • eScience target domains, including:
    • Agricultural Sciences
    • Arts, humanities, and social sciences
    • Engineering and physical sciences
    • Bioinformatics, biology, and health
    • Climate & earth sciences
    • eScience practice and education

3) Call for research proposals (CRP)

The State of São Paulo Research Foundation, FAPESP, makes this call for research proposals public and invites the interested researchers that are associated to non-profit teaching and research institutions in the State of São Paulo to submit research proposals to the FAPESP eScience Research Program, in the conditions as described here. FAPESP may include to this CRP research proposals that are under evaluation, if the applicant submits a request letter, subject to evaluation.

4) Goals

The main goal of this call is to identify, select and broaden world-class, basic and applied research associated to the topics described in Section 2. The intention is to explore and create new knowledge and technology. Bold, novel, and unconventional approaches to the core science and technology challenges in the research areas approached are encouraged.

5) Application requirements

The application requirements of this CRP must be followed rigorously. Please, read them carefully. Applications that fail to comply with these requirements will not be considered.

a. Applications should be submitted to the FAPESP only through the SAGE online system as Regular Research Grants (www.bv.fapesp.br/en/6/regular-grants-2-year-grants/) or Thematic Projects Research Grants (www.bv.fapesp.br/en/1/thematic-grants-5-year-grants/), following their conditions and restrictions unless explicitly said in this CRP.

b. To submit a proposal login to the SAGe platform (www.fapesp.br/sage) and choose: Propostas >> Nova Proposta Inicial. At the Incluir Propost’ page choose ‘Outras Linhas de Fomento’ and at the next page click [+] to expand the ‘Programas de Inovação Tecnológica’ option. As you find the ‘eScience – Programa de Pesquisa em eScience’ option, expand it to select the modality of your choice (‘eScience – Programa de Pesquisa – Regular’ or ‘ eScience – Programa de Pesquisa – Temático’). Then click at ‘Confirmar’ to start writing the proposal, following the usual procedures for Regular or Thematic Project awards and considering the specific conditions of this CRP.

c. Only researchers from public or non-profit private higher education and research institutions in the State of São Paulo, Brazil may submit applications.

d. Applications submitted to the above Grant modalities already in review by FAPESP and that relate to the aforementioned topics may be included in this CRP, upon evaluation, if the applicant submits a written requisition in English containing the grant number and additional documentation.

6) Characteristics of the research proposals

Given the particularities of eScience, all fundable projects should clearly present the following:

  • Engagement of both computer scientists and scientists from the target domain: at least one collaborator from CS and one from the target domain.
  • Evidence of research in CS: eScience is about research in CS to advance research in other areas. Therefore, projects must have a solid core of CS research (including methods, potential for high-impact publications, and training of students).
  • Evidence of benefits to research in the target domain: Projects must clearly indicate how results will help the scientists from the target area to improve their research.
  • Evidence of offering training in eScience practices: One of the issues here is the lack of qualified labor to meet the specific demands of multidisciplinary projects (already identified by the Brazilian Computer Society as a problem, in its Grand Challenges meeting of 2006) [http://www.sbc.org.br/index.php?option=com_jdownloads&task=viewcategory&catid=50&Itemid=195]. The field of bioinformatics provides us with a very good example. Research in this area requires people who have skills in biology and in CS. This has prompted the creation of graduate and undergraduate programs in this field. These programs are providing much-needed qualified people to work in bioinformatics projects and research centers. During the first workshop, all invited guest speakers stressed their need of special training, including requirements in terms of sophistication in CS – e.g., projects in the Bioen program are engaging computer scientists.
  • Dissemination of results: the research results should be widely communicated through relevant scientific communities using established academic channels, such as high-impact international conferences and refereed journals. All selected projects should result in a detailed Web presence and relevant conference publications or presentations. Other channels for community development include regional workshops, graduate seminars, open source software projects, and curriculum components such as courses or course materials.
  • Data management policy: A major characteristic of eScience projects is its dependency on data management practices, and the need of publishing results on the Web to allow reuse and collaboration with other groups. Therefore, all projects should provide indication of how they intend to manage the data produced during the project (where the term “data” is taken on the large, and includes files, algorithms, software, samples, models, curriculum material and others).

7) Benefits and obligations specific to the eScience program

The eScience Program will have periodic workshops with mandatory attendance for all the PI's involved with the program and, in some cases, their collaborators and students. These workshops will be a special opportunity to update all involved on the research conducted in the field and to have access to new data and information before publishing.

Proposals must explicit which efforts will be made for the results of selected projects (including intellectual property of these results) to be largely available. The results should be accessible under an open source license approved by the OSI (www.opensource.org/licenses), in the case of software, or under a Creative Commons license (www.creativecommons.org), in the case of documentation, technical reports, and associated documents. These considerations also apply to databases, datasets, workflows, etc. generated by the project.

8) Funds available for this call for research proposals

a) The total amount of resources available for the grants selected by this call for research proposals is R$ 4 million (four million reais) (approximately equivalent to USD 1,6 million).

b) The adequacy of the requested funding (including fellowships) as related to the proposal’s goals and the qualification of the proposing research team is a primary review consideration.

c) FAPESP reserves the right to propose lower funding levels for some of the proposals.

9) Allowable costs

The following items can be included in the budget:

a. Costs: all the costs traditionally funded by FAPESP in the Grant modality chosen by the applicant (Regular Research Grant or Thematic Project Research Grant) and described at www.fapesp.br/en.

b. Fellowships:

b.1) Exceptionally for this Call, proposals submitted as Regular Research Grants may request fellowships of the following types: Technical Training (TT), Scientific Initiation (IC), Masters (MS) and Post-Doctoral (PD).

i. The duration of any fellowship cannot be longer than the duration of the grant. The supervisor/advisor must be PI or co-PI (approved by FAPESP) of the grant.

ii. The adequacy of the requested fellowships as related to the proposal’s goals and the qualification of the proposing research team is a primary review consideration. The Program encourages proposals that include the participation of Post- Doctorate level researchers.

b.2) Proposals submitted as Thematic Project Research Grants may request fellowships of the following types: Technical Training (TT), Scientific Initiation (IC), Honours Doctorate (DD) and Post-Doctoral (PD). Exceptionally for this Call, the proposal may include requests for Masters (MS) and Doctorate (DR) level fellowships.

i. The duration of any fellowship cannot be longer than the duration of the grant. The supervisor/advisor must be PI or co-PI (approved by FAPESP) of the grant.

ii. The adequacy of the requested fellowships as related to the proposal’s goals and the qualification of the proposing research team is a primary review consideration. The Program encourages proposals that include the participation of Post- Doctorate level researchers.

10) Proposal formatting

10.1) Project duration

a. Applications submitted as Regular Research Grants will have a maximum duration of 24 months.

b. Applications submitted as Thematic Project Research Grants will have a maximum duration of 48 months.

10.2) Proposal language and formatting

a. Submission of the research proposals will be via FAPESP’s SAGE online system only.

b. All text contents and attached documents submitted must be in English as non-Portuguese speaking reviewers may be used.

c. The Research Project must be written in Times New Roman with font size 11, or equivalent, and 1.5 paragraph spacing.

10.3) Required documents, project and budget organization

a. All proposals must be submitted according to the rules and procedures of the program chosen by the applicant (Regular Research Grants and Thematic Projects Research Grants), exception made to any additional requirements mentioned in this call.

b. CV Summary according to FAPESP model (in English) for the PIs, co PIs and associated researchers.

c. The Research Project must be in English and must cover all items of the guidelines described in Annex I of this call for research proposals. FAPESP recommends the adoption of the suggested draft of the chosen Grant modality. Please use the headings listed in Annex 1 as section headings.

11) Intellectual property rights

a. According to Brazilian law, the host institution is the owner of any intellectual property resulting from the research project.

b. The PI and his/her institution are responsible for safeguarding the above mentioned intellectual property.

c. In consideration of the funding provided by FAPESP, the institution that employs the PI will grant FAPESP a non-exclusive, royalty-free license to any intellectual property arising from the research project.

d. If the research project results in patentable inventions, the researcher must notify FAPESP. The PI and his/her institution will retain the right to use the technology for research and teaching purposes.

e. If the host institution receives royalties for technology resulting from the research project, FAPESP will receive a percentage of those royalties. A separate agreement will document this.

f. If the PI wishes to use any pre-existing intellectual property in the research project, they must obtain adequate rights from the owner in order to grant the licenses to FAPESP as stated above.

12) Communications regarding this call for research proposals

12.1) Application submission

Applications must be submitted to FAPESP exclusively through the SAGE online system.

12.2) Queries

Please send all queries about this call for research proposals to eScience@fapesp.br. In order to speed up the processing of the query, please use "eScience Call" as the email subject.

Queries for this call will be dealt by:
Virginia Sanches Subiñas
Technical Advisor
Scientific Directorate
FAPESP

13) Review process

Project evaluation and monitoring will follow FAPESP mechanisms and workflows. Evaluation of all projects will consider evidence of CS research and actual impact on the target domain’s research. This also applies to project monitoring. Some specific issues apply to the eScience FAPESP program:

  • Post-docs: The program encourages proposals that include the participation of post-docs, considered as a positive element in proposal evaluation.
  • Collaboration via co-supervision (CS): One suggestion that arose from the scoping workshops was to promote fellowships with two supervisors – one from CS and another from the target area. Proposals that consider such fellowships are encouraged. In this case, the fellowship plan must indicate the co-supervisor.
  • Collaborations in the State of São Paulo: The program encourages the creation of networks for collaboration and student interchange. Researchers should look for collaborations with centers in the State with incipient research background, such as recently established CS departments. This is considered a means to foster new strong research groups.
  • International collaborations: The program encourages projects that foster international collaboration with excellence groups working in the field. They should not be limited to exploiting collaborations in Brazil, but also involve groups of excellence abroad. Indication of such collaborations will be a positive element in proposal evaluation.
  • Involvement of industry and research centers: The program encourages the collaboration with research centers and industries. This is desirable from two points of view – additional funding, and increasing the impact of the results.
  • Support from the Host Institution: The program encourages equivalent funding by the Host Institution of Information Technology personnel to match fellowships requested in this Call (e.g., junior or senior systems analysts that will work for the project in software design, development and documentation).

14) Schedule

Applications must follow the schedule below:

Event

Dates

Publication of the call for research applications at FAPESP website.

December 3rd, 2013

Last day to submit applications

April 28th, 2014

Release of results of the review process

October 29th,2014

15) Communication of results

FAPESP will publish the selected proposals on its website (www.fapesp.br), and will inform the PIs directly by e-mail.

16) Grants, progress analysis and evaluation

Approved proposals will be the object of a Grant Contract. FAPESP, the Principal Investigator and a legal representative of the host institution will sign the grant.

Progress reports and financial reports due on the dates established in the Grant Contract will be used to evaluate the outcomes of the research project.

17) Grant cancellation

FAPESP grants itself the right to cancel any grant if a significant event justifies its cancellation in the opinion of FAPESP Scientific Directorate. Cancellation does not reduce the possibility of other sanctions.

 

Annex I: Guidelines for the Research Project

FAPESP eScience Program

- Items 1 through 9 should necessarily be part of the Research Project along with usual suggested sections for each Grant modality. FAPESP establishes the limit of twenty (20) pages for Regular Grants or forty (40) pages for Thematic Projects with 1.5 spacing and font equivalent to Times New Roman 11, with relevant publications, Figures and Tables as necessary

- Please use section titles as listed in items from 1 through 11 of the following table:

Item

Section Title

Description

 

Title Page

- Title, names of Principal Investigators and their host institutions, start and end dates.

 

Table of Contents

- Table of Contents referring to the page number of each section.

1

Abstract

- In English and in Portuguese. 20 lines maximum.

2

Statement of scientific problem(s) to be tackled by the proposed project

- Description of the scientific challenges and their relevance.

- Description of the contribution to Computer Science and to the target domain.

- Summary of preliminary results, if any.

- Significance and relevance for the FAPESP eScience Program.

3

Specific aims and Expected Results

- List of the Proposal’s aims, with a short description of each one.

- Description of the knowledge that will be created and how it will be disseminated to the community.

- Description of the expected impacts of the results in research, education, industry, society, environment etc.

4

Means and methods

- Description of the methods and means to overcome the challenges of the project.

- Relevant references regarding these challenges and the methods and means proposed.

5

Timetable

- Estimate of Project completion.

- List of the milestones used to assess the progress of the project and its completion.

 

6

Data management policy

- Description of data, samples, models, software, curriculum materials, or other materials to be produced by the project. Mechanisms and formats for storing these data and making them accessible.

- Types of data to be shared, sharing policy, and plans for doing so, including the period of time the data will be retained and shared, how these data are to be managed.

- Legal and/or ethical restrictions on access to such data, provisions for privacy, security and others, when applicable.

7

Dissemination and evaluation

- Description of the evaluation of the results and their proposed dissemination to the pertaining community. In particular, consider policies to share data and software produced by the project.

- Evidence of offering training in eScience practices.

8

Additional Funds and Resources

- Description of additional funds requested and already available from other sources (as from the host institution or other agencies). Resources may be assets, goods, services, infrastructure, equipment, among others.

9

References

- References cited in the preceding items.

ATTENTION: Items 10 and 11 are not included in the page limitation.

10

Work plans for each of the fellowships requested

 

- For each of the fellowships requested, a work plan of 2 pages or less must be included, indicating the type of fellowship, advisor or supervisor (which must be a PI or co-PI), start date and duration, title and proposed activities. Also, indicate co-supervisor, if any.

- It is not necessary to specify the name of the candidate. If the proposal is approved, the PI will be responsible for the selection of the candidates for each fellowship through a public selection process. The candidate chosen by the PI must be validated by FAPESP.

11

Provision of human resources by host institution

- For projects demanding TT Fellowships above level 3, the host institution(s) should provide written guarantee (in English) of equivalent funding of Information Technology personnel to match the additional fellowships – e.g., junior or senior systems analysts that will work for the project in software design, development and documentation