Virtual Joint Research Centres in Agricultural Nitrogen

Guidelines for the Applicants – NEWTON FUND – FAPESP - BBSRC

Virtual Joint Research Centres in Agricultural Nitrogen: Brazil, China, India

Call for Collaborative Research

Detailed conditions of the Call for Proposals, including the full description of available themes (“Agronomic nitrogen use efficiency”, “Biological nitrogen use efficiency” and “Biological nitrogen fixation”) can be found at: www.bbsrc.ac.uk/funding/opportunities/2015/bbsrc-newton-fund-call-virtual-joint-centres-nitrogen/.

Proposals will be processed by FAPESP as Thematic Project Research Grants, Young Investigator Awards, or São Paulo Excellence Chair (SPEC) Awards. Below is a summary description of each Program below. For the complete information please consult the links mentioned in each case.

Thematic Projects aim to support research proposals with bold scientific objectives with a research team coordinated by an experienced researcher in the field. The projects are expected to result in significant findings for the advancement of knowledge.  

Young Investigator Awards grants are offered with duration up to four years as described at www.fapesp.br/en/6251.The PI, a Young Investigator, who does not have to be Brazilian, will be based full time in a university or research institution in São Paulo, Brazil. This will allow the building of links between the UK and Brazil, contributing directly to capacity building of skills and knowledge in partner institutions. The selected Young Investigators will have the possibility to participate in a public selection process for permanent positions as professors or researchers at their hosting university or research institute. The Young Investigator program offers funding for equipment, consumables, travel, services, and fellowships for undergraduate and graduate students. The proposer must demonstrate an outstanding track record in research, typically with 3-7 years post-doctoral experience in an advanced research group and demonstrating excellent leadership capacity.

São Paulo Excellence Chair (SPEC) Awards have the objective of fostering the association of top level foreign researchers to qualified higher education and research institutions in the State of São Paulo, Brazil. Proposals for this program will be led by the foreign researcher who must be associated to a higher education or research institution in the State of São Paulo, Brazil, with a commitment to spend at least 12 weeks per year for at least 3 years at the host institution (the 12 weeks do not need to be consecutive). Eligible items for funding are: fellowships for students in the modalities Scientific Initiation (for undergraduate students working in a research project) and Fast Track Doctoral (graduate students going directly from graduation to a doctorate work, without before getting a MSc), scholarships for Post-doctoral fellows, research equipment, consumables, field trips, travel to and from the host institution for each period of stay (see below), and other items (details at www.fapesp.br/en/thematic).

1. Eligibility by FAPESP

1.1 Applicants in the State of São Paulo, Brazil, must note that the requirements for eligibility are those applied to each Program above described:

a. FAPESP Thematic Grants, described at www.fapesp.br/176, item 3.3.

b. FAPESP Young Investigator Award program, described at www.fapesp.br/en/6251, item 3.3 .

c. São Paulo Excellence Chair (SPEC) Awards, foreign researchers associated to a higher education or research institution in the State of São Paulo, Brazil, with a commitment to spend at least 12 weeks per year for at least 3 years at the host institution . Please see FAPESP recommends that applicants considering using this mechanism should contact FAPESP and BBSRC before submitting a SPEC award.

1.2 Please, note that for each Program there is a qualification phase (“enquadramento”) upon submission. Researchers are encouraged to consult FAPESP (chamada_bbsrc-nitrogen@fapesp.br) regarding their eligibility before initiating the preparation of a joint proposal.

Failure to observe this procedure may result in the rejection of the proposal, without review .

1.3 FAPESP calls the special attention to the PI eligibility for Thematic Grants, transcript below:

  • Have a Ph.D. or equivalent qualification;
     
  • Have a formal contract with a Research Institution in the State of Sao Paulo;
     
  • Have significant scientific or technological production;
     
  • Have proven experience and expertise in the area of the project, demonstrated by:
    • Quality, regularity and impact of scientific and technological production.
    • Supervision of researchers at the postgraduate level; this is defined as supervision of at least 2 PhD students and 2 Post-Doctoral researchers.
    • Experience in scientific exchange and execution of research projects in collaboration with researchers from institutions in Brazil and other countries; this is defined as having joint publications with international colleagues.
    • Ability to form research groups with known results in the area; this is defined as proven leadership of a research team in the project area.

2 Funding principles

2.1 To support the areas of this Call for Proposals the UK side will offer up to £3.5 million and the Brazilian partner organizations will match this with equivalent research effort.

2.1.1 In the UK research costs are estimated as Full Economic Costs (FEC), as defined below by RCUK:
FEC is “a cost which, if recovered across an organisation’s full programme, would recover the total cost (direct, indirect and total overhead) including an adequate recurring investment in the organisation’s infrastructure.” Proposers must demonstrate the full economic costs of the project regardless of which funder is covering them. Costs can include institution facilities, estates, direct and indirect costs. FEC costs must also include values of salary expenses of the research team, including faculty and staff, proportional to the weekly hours dedicated to the proposed project. The individual funder’s financial forms will provide more information on this. In accordance with RCUK policy, the UK funders will contribute up to 80 per cent FEC.

2.2 Applicants do not need to request equal amounts from both sides. The difference in values should reflect the difference in costs covered and local prices. The agencies also expect the costs on each side to accurately reflect the research effort to be carried out. What is expected is that the research effort on both sides be comparable.

2.3 Proposals are invited for projects up to 36 months duration.

2.4 Considering item 2.1, it is necessary that costs in Sao Paulo be demonstrated also as FEC. Applicants from São Paulo must include in their proposals the completed summary budget worksheet specifically designed for this Call: FAPESP-RCUK Funding Summary, including budget forms to BBSRC. 

2.5 The types of costs allowed by FAPESP are: 

2.5.1 For Thematic Project Research Grants, as available at www.fapesp.br/176 (item 7):

Funding for equipment, consumables, travel, services, and fellowships for undergraduate and graduate students.

2.5.2 For Young Investigators Awards, as available at www.fapesp.br/en/4479 (item 7):

Funding for equipment, consumables, travel, services, and fellowships for undergraduate and graduate students.

2.5.3 For São Paulo Excellence Chair (SPEC) Awards:

Fellowships for students in the modalities Scientific Initiation (for undergraduate students working in a research project), and Fast Track Doctoral (graduate students going directly from graduation to a doctorate work, without getting a MSc before), scholarships for Post-doctoral fellows, research equipment, consumables, field trips, travel to and from the host institution for each period of stay (see below), and other items (details at www.fapesp.br/176). 

In all cases, in the budget request to FAPESP, applicants must include the values for the applicable FAPESP Overheads (“Reserva Técnica”), including Additional Benefits (“Benefícios Complementares”), RTP (“Reserva Técnica de Infraestrutura Direta do Projeto”) and RTI (“ Reserva Técnica para Infraestrutura Institucional de Pesquisa”), as presented at www.fapesp.br/rt.

3 Proposal Characteristics

3.1 Proposals are invited by FAPESP for research projects that are part of a “Virtual Joint Research Centre in Agricultural Nitrogen”.

3.1.1 A proposal for a “Virtual Joint Research Centres in Agricultural Nitrogen” may encompass more than one grant submission to FAPESP, but each proposal must be in one of the FAPESP funding lines mentioned above.

3.1.2 The joint case for support, as described in the item 3.4.4 below, must refer explicitly to each of the grant requests submitted to FAPESP, describing how each one will contribute to the Virtual Joint Research Center being proposed.

3.2 The common application documents as described in pages 5 and 6 of the Call Specification text must be submitted in English to both BBSRC and to FAPESP. 

3.3 Exceptionally for this Call for Proposals, the duration of proposals submitted to FAPESP will be limited to 36 months. Submissions for longer periods will not be qualified for analysis. 

3.4 Applicants from the State of São Paulo must submit (in hard copy) all the required documentation necessary, in addition to the specific documents requested by this Call.

Each proposal must contain, for the chosen FAPESP funding line (2.5.1, 2.5.2, and 2.5.3), the following documents:

3.4.1 Submission Form specific for this Call for Proposals available at: www.fapesp.br/chamadas/2015/BBSRC-FAPESP_Submission Form.doc. The Submission Form contains the complete list of documents to be sent to FAPESP, also considering the requirements of each Program;

3.4.2 The Case of Support related to the Virtual Joint Research Centre; 

3.4.3 All forms required in each specific Program (Thematic Grants, Young Investigator Awards and São Paulo Excellence Chair), as described as budget forms, research team form, e.g., besides the specific forms linked in the CFP.

3.4.4 The summarized budget worksheet (FAPESP-RCUK Funding Summary), as described in item 2.4 above, must also be submitted. 

3.4.5 The following joint application documents must be sent, as described in pages 5 and 6 of the Call Specification text:

Case for Support (“Projeto de Pesquisa”, 10 pages max)

a. Justification of Resources (2 pages per country)

b. Pathways to Impact (2 pages max)

c. CVs (2 pages max for each named researcher including brief list of up to 15 project related personal publications)

d. List of Publications cited in proposal (1 page max)

e. Letters of Support (only if applicable)

f. The International Agency Resource Form (1 page worksheet)

3.5 In case of approval, a Letter of Agreement between the Partner Host Institution and the Host Institution to which the PI from São Paulo is affiliated, establishing how Intellectual Property rights, confidentiality, and publications will be treated jointly, in observance of the policies of each funding Party. The Letter of Agreement is not mandatory for the submission of proposals, but no approved project will be contracted before the presentation of a copy of the signed Agreement.

3.5.1 Ownership of IP generated during the project and rights to exploitation, as well as any costs regarding management of IP, are expected to be agreed between the collaborating research organizations before the research begins. The presentation of this agreement is mandatory before the signature of the grant award in case of FAPESP funding.

4 Submission of proposals

4.1 All proposals shall be sent to FAPESP in hard copy before 12:00 (Brasilia time) on 22nd July 2015 to the following address: Rua Pio XI, 1500, Alto da Lapa, CEP 05468-901 - São Paulo - SP, with “BBSRC Virtual Joint Centres in Agricultural Nitrogen” written on the envelope.

4.1.1 If sent by mail, only proposals with a stamped postmark date within the deadline of this Call will be processed.

4.1.2 All documents listed in item 3.3 above (including those listed by the submission form) must be included.

4.1.3 Online application is not available.

4.2 Proposals submitted by any other means will not be accepted.

4.3 No proposal will be accepted after the closing date for submission, nor will any addendum or explanation be accepted, unless those explicitly and formally requested by FAPESP or BBSRC. 

5 Analysis and selection

5.1 Once a joint application has been received and accepted as eligible at BBSRC and at FAPESP, each agency will send the proposal to peer reviewers drawn separately by both UK and FAPESP.

5.2 Proposals that receive supportive responses from the reviewers will be considered by a single joint BBSRC/CONFAP assessment panel. 

5.3 The proposals will be assessed on their fit to the scope of the call and to the criteria as follows:

5.3.1 Design and feasibility of the Virtual Joint Centre proposal;

5.3.2 Previous experience of research teams;

5.3.3 Scientific rationale: novelty, importance and timeliness of the joint research proposal;

5.3.4 Research partnership development: including strength and clarity of collaborations and opportunities provided;

5.3.5 Quality of the project structure proposed (including governance, arrangements for data management and sharing and management of intellectual property);

5.3.6 Added value of the joint research partnership;

5.3.7 Quality and suitability of the research environment and of the facilities;

5.3.8 Significance and impact of the research partnership;

5.3.9 Capacity building potential;

5.3.10 ODA compliance and value for money.

5.4 The evaluation of the proposal submitted to FAPESP will follow the regular procedures used by the Foundation. Before the final decision, FAPESP will carry an internal analysis using its Area and Supervising assessment panels. Final decisions on the proposals from the State of São Paulo will be made jointly between UK Funders and FAPESP.

5.5 The proposal will be funded by FAPESP only if it is approved also by the UK Funders.

5.6 It is very important that FAPESP’s reviewers and committee members understand clearly that the collaboration of the applicant in São Paulo is scientifically relevant, integrated to the BBSRC proposal, and determinant to the success of the whole proposal. It is also essential that the participation of the PI in São Paulo in the conception and in the preparation of the proposal be made clear. The PI in São Paulo is ultimately responsible for making these elements clear in the proposal submitted to FAPESP.

6 Results of the selection

The results will be announced by FAPESP at www.fapesp.br.

7 Contract for selected projects

Selected proposals will be the object of a grant contract to be signed by the PI, a representative of the Host Institution and FAPESP.

8 Grant cancellation

FAPESP may cancel funding if, during the grant timeframe, a fact is of sufficient significance to justify cancellation, at the discretion of the Scientific Director, regardless of any other appropriate actions.

9 Information about this Call at FAPESP

The questions related to this Call for Proposals must be directed to Mr. Diego Muñoz – email: chamada_bbsrc-nitrogen@fapesp.br.