“Life sciences, genomics and biotechnology for health”
ANNOTATED TABLE OF CONTENTS
This document starts with an annotated table of contents, with a very short description of each topics, beginning with external hyperlinks to official documents and internal hyperlinks to a more complete discussion of the subject.
The purpose of this document is to provide a simplified summary and guide to potential proposers who are faced with the numerous and extensive documents provided for FP6 (The European Union (EU) Sixth Framework Programme (2002-2006) for Research and Technological Development), with emphasis on Life Sciences and in particular Section 1, Fundamental Genomics. This is not a legal document, and it does not provide a substitute for reading the full documentation. What it does attempt is to allow you to quickly move through the documentation, see what you need to know and allow you to get started with preparing your proposal. (Disclaimer: The views expressed are purely those of the writer and may not in any circumstances be regarded as stating an official position of the European Commission).
To help you, this document (to be available on the directorate website) can be used in three ways:
1) If you like sitting in front of a computer, it gives you hyperlinks to the right place.
2) If you are using Word for Windows or equivalent software, the document has internal hyperlinks to summary sections.
3) If you like sitting at a desk with a thick pile of printouts, it gives you references in each document, and links within this document by headings.
So, relax and do not be intimidated by the thickness of the paper or the number of WebPages. Get something soothing to drink, sit comfortably in your chair, and get ready for the "FP6 experience". It will be easier and more enjoyable than you expect. Also, significant parts of the official documentation and requirements have actually been simplified, in the dictionary sense of simple: "not complicated or elaborate..". Ready?? Here we go!
LINKS: In each section below, clicking on the blue internal hyperlink takes you to that section, and each section ends with a hyperlink that takes you back to the heading in the main document. There are also external hyperlinks beginning with http:// that take you to relevant websites, and e-mail addresses containing @ for contacting people or organisations. Each section begins with a general website where more information or an alternative approach is available. This introduction begins with the website http://www.cordis.lu/fp6/step.htm which gives a step by step structured approach through what is involved in FP6 participation, which could be used instead of this document.
Finding your research topic in the Work Programme and call text
There are many different ways to navigate through the FP6 documentation. Some people start with partners, some with instruments for funding, but we choose to start with the research topic.
The key document is the recently issued (17 Dec 2002) call for proposals, available at: http://fp6.cordis.lu/fp6/calls.cfm . Note that "All FP6 activities are implemented through calls for proposals." On this webpage, you will find information about all areas, not just life sciences, etc.. This is an important consideration, since your research area may be covered in several areas, for example "Information society technologies" or "Food quality and safety" or even "Research Infrastructures" or others. Therefore, you should check all areas. The details for "Life sciences, genomics and biotechnology for health" may be found at http://fp6.cordis.lu/fp6/call_details.cfm?CALL_ID=4 .
The examples in what follows are based on the Information package in this programme, but there may be variations between programmes.
The 6th Framework Programme has a number of new instruments and some "traditional" instruments, although even the "traditional" instruments have changed somewhat due to new rules and financial approaches. The two websites above give a simplified description and a more detailed brochure.
For more information, go to 2. Details of Choosing the most appropriate "Instrument" for funding your project
Key information from the call text in the official journal
It is possible to obtain a full information pack for the call on Life sciences, genomics and biotechnology for health at the above website or by branching from the general Cordis FP6 website. This webpage gives you access to a large number of documents available now or in the near future. The range of these documents is discussed at 5. Details of Accessing the full Information Pack .
Strategy for Proposal Preparation
Strategy is a matter for each proposer to decide, but it may help to have an understanding of what the Commission is trying to accomplish, as discussed in all the documents in the above website, and what factors may contribute to having a proposal accepted and then made a success. To this end, we cover the following areas:
-Nature and Scope of New Instruments
-Topics (also ethics)
-Partners (also balance, distribution, gender), rules of participation
-Knowledge Management and pooling, IPR, Innovation aspects
-Model contracts and Consortium Agreements
-Financial aspects(esp. NoE awarding, spending, auditing)
-Evaluation and evaluators
-Planned results and exploitation
For more information, go to 6 Details of Strategy for Proposal Preparation
In addition to the general directorate website listed above, this section has contacts listed by sub-area of responsibility, with people assigned and their e-mail addresses.
For more information, go to 7. Details of Unit F.4 (Fundamental Genomics) Contacts
In addition to the most general websites given above, this document gives a set of general websites for FP6, and contacts:
For more information, go to 8. Details of General Websites
We hope you have found this useful, and wish you good luck with your proposals.
1 Details of Finding your research topic in the Work Programme
DOCUMENTS: The key document is the recently issued (17 Dec 2002) call for proposals and work programmes, available at:
where it indicates that "All FP6 activities are implemented through calls for proposals." On this webpage, you will find information about all areas, not just "Life sciences, genomics and biotechnology for health." This is already an important consideration, since your research area may be covered in several areas, for example "Information society technologies" or "Food quality and safety" or even "Research Infrastructures" or others. Therefore, to be thorough, you should check all areas.
APPROACH: To select the topic, we concentrate on the area of fundamental genomics and the very specific example of bioinformatics, but the approach is general. First we list the programme content, then have a quick look at the official call text, then go to the work programme to get more details.
PROGRAMME CONTENT FOR:
Fundamental knowledge and basic tools for functional genomics in all organisms
First, read through our programme content to see if your research area of interest coincides with our programme (the reference for this is on page nine of the specific programme, found at http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/pri/en/oj/dat/2002/l_294/l_29420021029en00010043.pdf )
- Fundamental knowledge and basic tools for functional genomics in all organisms to foster the basic understanding of genomic information, by developing the knowledge base, tools and resources needed to decipher the function of genes and gene products relevant to human health and to explore their interactions with each other and with their environment. Research actions:
- Gene expression and proteomics to enable researchers to better decipher the functions of genes and gene products as well as to define the complex regulatory networks (biocomplexity) that control fundamental biological processes. Research will focus on: developing high throughput tools and approaches for monitoring gene expression and protein profiles and for determining protein function and protein interactions;
- Structural genomics to enable researchers to determine, more effectively and at a higher rate than is currently feasible, the 3-D structure of proteins and other macromolecules, which is important for elucidating protein function and essential for drug design. Research will focus on: developing high throughput approaches for determining high-resolution 3-D structures of macromolecules;
- Comparative genomics and population genetics to enable researchers to use well characterised model organisms for predicting and testing gene function and to take full advantage of specific population cohorts available in Europe to determine the relationship between gene function and health or disease. Research will focus on: developing model organisms and transgenic tools; developing genetic epidemiology tools and standardised genotyping protocols;
- Bioinformatics to enable researchers to access efficient tools for managing and interpreting the ever increasing quantities of genome data and for making it available to the research community in an accessible and usable form. Research will focus on developing bioinformatic tools and resources for data storage, mining and processing; developing computational biology approaches for in silico prediction of gene function and for the simulation of complex regulatory networks;
- Multidisciplinary functional genomics approaches to basic biological processes to enable researchers to study fundamental biological processes by integrating the above innovative approaches. Research will focus on: elucidation of the mechanisms underlying fundamental cellular processes, to identify the genes involved and to decipher their biological functions in living organisms.
SHORT LIST OF TOPICS FROM OFFICIAL CALL TEXT (17 December 2002):
Let us start by getting the document on the "Thematic call in the area of “Life sciences, genomics and biotechnology for health", available at: http://fp6.cordis.lu/fp6/call_details.cfm?CALL_ID=4
We will start by clicking on the boxes on that webpage to obtain the Full Call text (OJ - Official Journal Version) in pdf format in English (or whatever you prefer).
(If you are an enthusiastic reader of the Official Journal, the reference is "III (Notices) COMMISSION, Calls for proposals for indirect RTD actions under the specific programme for research, technological development and demonstration: ‘Integrating and strengthening the European Research Area’ (2002/C 315/01), 17.12.2002, Official Journal of the European Communities EN") .
A summary list of short titles of topics open for submission is available on page 3 of the OJ text, as follows:
*******Larger Funding Instruments: NOE and IP*******
IP = Integrated project;
NOE = Network of excellence
(IP or NOE) means there is a choice, otherwise the instrument is specified as one or the other.
Topic reference -- Short titles of topics -- Instrument
Gene expression and proteomics
LSH-2002-1.1.1-1 Development of advanced array technologies IP or NOE
LSH-2002-1.1.1-2 Development and application of high throughput proteomics technologies for the generation of a large data set of protein-protein interactions IP or NOE
LSH-2002-1.1.2-1 The 3D-structure determination of membrane proteins IP or NOE
LSH-2002-1.1.2-2 Supramolecular analysis by 3D-electron microscopy in situ NOE
LSH-2002-1.1.2-3 Development of new hardware and software for the implementation of innovative automated technologies at synchrotron sites IP
Comparative genomics and population genetics
LSH-2002-1.1.3-1 Integrated tools for functional genomics of non-mammalian vertebrate models for human development and disease mechanisms IP
LSH-2002-1.1.3-2 Development of in-vivo imaging technologies for phenotyping and functional analysis in cells and animal models IP or NOE
LSH-2002-1.1.4-1 Developing methods and resources in bioinformatics to focus on the annotation of human and other genomes NOE
Multidisciplinary functional genomics approaches to basic biological processes
LSH-2002-1.1.5-1 Integrated comparative and functional genomics approaches for studying the cell cycle IP or NOE
LSH-2002-1.1.5-3 Functional genomics of erythroid development and disorders IP
LSH-2002-1.1.5-4 Multidisciplinary approaches of functional genomics to study lymphangiogenesis IP or NOE
LSH-2002-1.1.5-5 Epigenetics:chromatin dynamics,non-coding RNA,imprinting and silencing NOE
LSH-2002-1.1.5-6 Multidisciplinary approaches of functional genomics to study chronic inflammation
processes in human disease NOE
LSH-2002-1.1.5-7 Functional genomics approaches to decipher ubiquitin-proteasome and/or related pathways NOE
*****There are not just NOE and IP available, there are also STREP/CA/SSA possibilities*****
STREP = Specific targeted research project;
CA = Coordination action;
SSA = Specific support action.
LSH-2002-1.1.0-1: For STREP and CA, research should focus on multidisciplinary functional genomics approaches (gene expression and proteomics, structural genomics, comparative genomics, population genetics and bioinformatics), in all organisms to decipher the basic mechanisms underlying the following processes: transcription activation, signal transduction, intracellular communication, the role of non coding genomic information, mechanisms of integration of genes.
Proposals dealing with in silico prediction of gene function and for the simulation of complex regulatory networks will also be considered. Proposals concerned with the development of new tools and approaches, including the standardisation of protocols, to facilitate generation of new knowledge in functional and structural genomics are also envisaged. Topics already addressed in the calls for new instruments will not be considered for STREP/CA.
LSH-2002-1.1.0-2: Specific Support Actions (SSAs)can take the form of workshops, conferences, training activities, or publications. The activities supported should be in the context of wider research policy objectives but have a clear link to fundamental genomics. The activities should aim at structuring research activities in fundamental genomics in important areas not yet addressed or newly emerging, including technology foresight meetings to identify future opportunities within the field. Furthermore they should address opportunities for start-up initiatives or strengthen the international dimension in fundamental genomics research, e.g. standardisation, structuring of international genomics initiatives, integration of activities.
WORK PROGRAMME: For the full titles and definition of topics, applicants must refer to the work programme (access is by typing http://fp6.cordis.lu/fp6/call_details.cfm?CALL_ID=4 , then download the work programme) (section 1.3 ‘Technical content ’). For our programme, read pages 14 to 18.
EXAMPLE: FINDING A SPECIFIC TOPIC - BIOINFORMATICS
If you are looking for a particular subject, a keyword search in the work programme is always a good starting point. As an example, take the word " bioinformatics ". We discover there is a topic area called bioinformatics, and a specific call topic, as follows:
The objectives are to enable researchers to access efficient tools for managing and interpreting the ever-increasing quantities of genome data and for making it available to the research community in an accessible and usable form.
Topics for first call:
LSH-2002-1.1.4-1: Developing methods and resources in bioinformatics to focus on the annotation of human and other genomes – NETWORK OF EXCELLENCE. The focus should be on stimulating cooperation between life scientists and bioinformaticians to coordinate, via a joint programme of activities, the design and the development of new integrated bioinformatics tools and approaches for the annotation of the human and other genomes.
The call topic comprises a topic reference, a short title, NOE, and a more detailed comment.
Legal basis, Instrument optional or obligatory: ***NOTE that the Call Text in the Official Journal (OJ) says NOE as opposed to "NOE preferred" in a PREVIOUS version of the work programme. The OJ version is legally binding in this matter as in others, and means that a network of excellence must be the chosen instrument for this topic.
Obligatory Choice of instrument: The proposers may ask why a specific instrument was chosen in a particular area. Sometimes it was because the best Expression of Interest was written that way, sometimes because the topics, which were not linked exactly to one proposal, seemed more appropriate. For example, concerning the Bioinformatics example on annotation, this was felt to be a major and continuing effort, and that a strong European capacity was needed to participate in this worldwide and long-term project, since annotation in its widest sense implies a full knowledge of all aspects of the human genome. Thus a Network of Excellence to build a virtual institution to treat this area in the long term was felt to be more appropriate.
Indicative topics for second call: Remember that indicative topics are just that: indicative. In planning strategy, there is no guarantee that the actual topics in the second call will be in exactly the form listed, and there may be topics added or removed.
A further search gives a match underLSH-2002-1.1.0-1. within the category STREP/CA. Note that this general heading gives scope for a very wide range of proposals, including both bioinformatics as such and related or sub- areas, such as "Proposals dealing with in silico prediction of gene function and for the simulation of complex regulatory networks will also be considered." It is aimed at the more traditional and lower funding level instruments STREP (Specific Targeted Research Project) and CA (Coordinated Action.) The paragraph below on also shows topics available for the SSA (Specific Support Action) instrument.
A further search for bioinformatics shows the topic "Development of new diagnostics, LSH-2002-1.2.2-2 Development of novel non-invasive and repeatable diagnostics using bioinformatics tools STREP", which is already in the different general area "(b)Application of knowledge and technologies in the field of genomics and biotechnology for health".
To return to the main document, go to: Finding your research topic in the Work Programme
2 Details of Choosing the most appropriate "Instrument" for funding your project
The 6th Framework Programme has two new "large funding" instruments and some "traditional" instruments, although even the "traditional" instruments have changed somewhat due to new rules and financial approaches. The website http://www.cordis.lu/fp6/instruments.htm gives a simplified description. A more detailed brochure is available at http://europa.eu.int/comm/research/fp6/pdf/brochurefp6.pdf .
In what follows, we copy a short description of each instrument from the brochure, and make a number of comments based on "Frequently asked questions" and "Frequently held misconceptions" .
PLEASE NOTE that within the area "Thematic call in the area of “Life sciences, genomics and biotechnology for health", we will be evaluating integrated projects, networks of excellence, STREP, CA, and SSA. However, this does not mean that proposers interested in this thematic area should necessarily limit themselves to these instruments. There are several other instruments and thematic programmes which may be very interesting to people interested in this area, and much more tailored to their particular interest.
Examples in bioinformatics:
We again take the bioinformatics area as an example. It is also noted that since bioinformatics involves both research and infrastructure aspects, coordinators should consider it both as a lead topic and/or as a necessary part of many research projects in the life sciences.
In the first call, there is a topic specifically for Networks of Excellence.
In the second call, there are two indicative topics which may be Integrated Projects or Networks of Excellence.
In the first call, under STREP/CA, there is scope for a very wide range of proposals, including both bioinformatics as such and related or sub- areas, such as "Proposals dealing with in silico prediction of gene function and for the simulation of complex regulatory networks will also be considered."
Under SSAs, which can take the form of workshops, conferences, training activities, or publications, the activities should aim at structuring research activities in fundamental genomics in important areas not yet addressed or newly emerging, including technology foresight meetings to identify future opportunities within the field. Furthermore they should address opportunities for start-up initiatives or strengthen the international dimension in fundamental genomics research, e.g. standardisation, structuring of international genomics initiatives, integration of activities. It is clear that bioinformatics qualifies in several of these areas.
Under Cooperative research projects for SMEs, in the official call, under the Specific programme: Integrating and strengthening the foundations of the European Research Area, for Horizontal research activities involving SMEs, Call identifier: FP6-2002-SME-1, with an indicative budget of EUR 95 million for the first closure date and EUR 60 million for any subject across the whole field of science and technology, and also Collective research projects, Call identifier: FP6-2002-SME-2, for EUR 40 million. Such instruments are clearly available to bioinformatics SMEs.
Under Specific actions to promote research infrastructures, especially since bioinformatics clearly has infrastructure aspects, there are several possibilities. In the area of "Transnational Access and Integrating Activities", Identifier: FP6-2002-Infrastructures-1, where access may be made available to external users, either in person ("hands-on") or by suitable electronic communications. In the area of Communication Network Development, where the networks of the type GEANT and GRID are being established, the Communication Network Development - Grids, Identifier: FP6-2002-Infrastructures-2 is relevant, in particular INFRASTR-3: Communication network development in conjunction with thematic priority 2 (Information Society Technologies) to establish a high-capacity and high-speed communications network for all researchers in Europe (GÉANT) and specific high performance Grids and test-beds (GRIDs).
Under Marie Curie actions, there are specific possibilities for conferences and training, for example for Marie Curie Conferences and Training Courses, Identifier: FP6-2002-Mobility-4.
Under Information society, in addition to infrastructures, all instruments are available under the call for eHealth, identifier IST-2002-126.96.36.199, which includes such areas as networking of researchers in the areas of medical informatics, bioinformatics and neuroinformatics with the objectives of advancing health knowledge leading to a new generation of eHealth systems assisting in the individualisation of disease prevention, diagnoses and treatment.
Purpose – to support objective-driven research necessary to generate the knowledge needed for implementing the priority thematic areas; Primary deliverable – new knowledge; Other deliverables – as they mobilise a critical mass of expertise, IPs should also have a structuring effect on the European research fabric; Scale of effort is a medium to high Community contribution; Financial regime – ‘grant to the budget’ paid as a contribution to actual costs.
Comments: There is a lot of confusion between Integrated Projects (IP) and Networks of Excellence (NOE), even after many conferences and much explanation. (What follows is an unofficial appreciation, but it may help:) These instruments are designed as a way of implementing the concept of the ERA (European Research Area) ( http://europa.eu.int/comm/research/era/index_en.html ): "Europe has a long standing tradition of excellence ... However our centres of excellence are scattered across the continent and all too often their efforts fail to add up in the absence of adequate networking and cooperation.... now is the time to bring our endeavours together ... That structure is called the European Research Area and is regrouping all Community supports for the better coordination of research activities ...." Therefore, the instruments have structural goals in mind as a starting point.
IPs aim more at mobilising resources to accomplish a specific goal, NOEs are more directed at combining resources to produce a lasting virtual organisation. In practice there is overlap, since combined resources need a management structure to allow the combined resources to work together, and organisations need goals in order to decide on their purpose and how they work. The key point is the "centre of gravity": Is the emphasis more on the goal aspects or on the organisational aspects? Getting the balance right will be a key element in the evaluators approach to each proposal.
Topic Competition and Funding: In the context of the first call for "Fundamental knowledge and basic tools for functional genomics in all organisms", there will be euro 121 million available, of which 75% for IP and NOE, and probably only 9 of the 15 topics will be chosen, after competition between and within topics. Some topics will not be funded. This leads to an available funds range of about euro 10-15 million per IP chosen.
NETWORKS OF EXCELLENCE
Purpose – to address fragmentation of European research; Primary deliverable – the structuring and shaping of European research on a particular topic to strengthen excellence there; Other deliverables – as they support the work of excellent research teams, NoE will also generate new knowledge; Scale of effort – medium to high Community contribution; Financial regime – a fixed grant for integration, disbursed in annual instalments on the basis of progress towards achieving lasting integration.
Comments: A false worry expressed by some proposers is "that a Network of Excellence (NoE) will only be supported, if it gathers all leading European centres in the field..." The true picture is summarised in the quote from the officially published information on CORDIS information pack. "It is expected that larger networks may involve several hundreds of researchers. Others may be of a much more limited size, provided that they pursue ambitious goals and gather the critical mass needed to ensure their achievement." The official minimum sizes are set out in the documents. A network must be made up of at least three participants from three different Member or Associated States, of which at least two are Member States or Associated candidate countries. However, in practice, for a NoE to achieve durable results – reaching the necessary critical mass – the Commission would expect at least six partners per network.
Funding: In the context of the first call for "Fundamental knowledge and basic tools for Functional Genomics in all organisms", there will be an available funds range of about euro 8 12 million per NoE chosen.
Purpose – to support research programmes undertaken jointly by several Member States and Associated States; Scale of effort – high (the use of Article 169 will only be for large-scale initiatives beyond the scope of IPs and NoE).
Comments: This Article, although it has always been present from the time of the Treaty of Rome, effectively and for the time being only has money available for the EDCTP (European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership).
Topic Competition and Funding for STREP/SSA/CA
In the context of the first call for "Fundamental knowledge and basic tools for Functional Genomics in all organisms", there will be euro 121 million available, of which 25% for STREP/SSA/CA. This leads to available funds of euro 30 million for all types of STREP/SSA/CA together, giving an average of about euro 2 million per STREP, and up to a few hundred thousand euro per CA or SSA.
SPECIFIC TARGETED RESEARCH PROJECTS
Purpose – to support RTD and demonstration activities of a more limited scope and ambition than the IPs; Deliverables – new knowledge; Scale of effort – low to medium Community contribution - ‘grant to the budget’ paid as a contribution.
Comments: STREPs (and STIPs) are multipartner research, demonstration or innovation projects. They are an evolved form of the shared-cost RTD projects and demonstration projects used in FP5. Their purpose is to support research, technological development and demonstration or innovation activities of a more limited scope and ambition than IPs. STREPs are used in implementing the priority thematic areas, in other areas supporting Community policies and anticipating scientific and technological needs, in specific international co-operation research activities, and in research activities developing harmonious relations between science and society. STIPs are used in activities exploring, validating and disseminating new innovation concepts and methods at European level. Further information is available at: http://www.cordis.lu/fp6/instrument-strp/
SPECIFIC SUPPORT ACTIONS
Purpose – to support the implementation of the Framework Programme; Financial regime–grant to the budget paid as a contribution to actual costs, or (if necessary) as a lump sum.
Comments: The specific support actions for use in the priority thematic areas are essentially a continuation of the accompanying measures used in FP5. Specific support actions are intended to support the implementation of FP6, and may also be used to help prepare for future Community research policy activities. Within the priority thematic areas, they will involve, for example, conferences, seminars, studies and analyses, high-level scientific awards and competitions, working groups and expert groups, operational support and dissemination, information and communication activities, or a combination of these. Specific support actions will also be implemented to stimulate, encourage and facilitate the participation of small research teams, SMEs, newly-developed and remote research centres – as well as organisations from the candidate countries – in the activities of the priority thematic areas, especially through networks of excellence and integrated projects. Implementing these actions will rely on specific information and assistance, including the network of National Contact Points established by Member States and the Associated States, at local, regional and national level, and will aim at ensuring a smooth transition from FP5 to FP6.
Further information: http://www.cordis.lu/fp6/instrument-ssa/
Purpose – to promote and support the networking and co-ordination of research and innovation activities; Financial regime – ‘grant to the budget’ paid as a contribution to actual costs
Comments:Co-ordination actions are a continuation of the concerted actions/ thematic networks used in FP5, in a reinforced form. They will cover the definition, organisation and management of joint or common initiatives, as well as activities such as the organisation of conferences, meetings, the performance of studies, exchange of personnel, exchange and dissemination of ‘good practices’, and the setting up of information systems and expert groups.
Further information: http://www.cordis.lu/fp6/instrument-ca/
Specific actions to promote research infrastructures
Communication Network Development
The objective of this scheme in support of existing research infrastructures is to create, in conjunction with the priority thematic research area on Information Society Technologies (IST), a denser network between related initiatives, in particular by establishing a high-capacity and high-speed communications network for all researchers in Europe (GÉANT) and specific high performance Grids and test-beds (GRIDs).
In general, the Communication Network Development scheme will be concerned with the development of a “cyber-infrastructure” for Research capitalising on new computing and communication opportunities and will promote a further breadth and depth to the collaboration amongst researchers in Europe. In this context, broadband communication networks and Grid technologies are key; in general, they are also highly relevant to the political goals set out by the European Research Area and the eEurope+ initiative and should be used as a means to enhance scientific co-operation with third countries
Construction of new infrastructures
Further information: http://www.cordis.lu/fp6/infrastructures/
Marie Curie actions on mobility, training, knowledge transfer and excellence recognition
Marie Curie Research Training Networks (RTN)
Marie Curie Host Fellowships for Early Stage Research Training (EST)
Marie Curie Host Fellowships for the Transfer of Knowledge (ToK)
Marie Curie Conferences and Training Courses (SCF, LCF)
These actions will enable researchers (with up to 10 years of research experience) to benefit from experience of leading researchers. Support will be available for the organisation of coherent series of specific training events (conferences, summer schools, laboratory courses etc.) and for the participation of researchers in large conferences selected for their specific training interest.
Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowships (EIF)
Marie Curie Outgoing International Fellowships (OIF)
Marie Curie Incoming International Fellowships (IIF)
Promoting and recognising excellence
Marie Curie Excellence Grants (EXT)
Marie Curie Excellence Awards (EXA)
Marie Curie Chairs (EXC)
Return and Reintegration Mechanisms
Marie Curie European Reintegration Grants (ERG)
Marie Curie International Reintegration Grants (IRG)
To return to the main document, go to: Choosing the most appropriate "Instrument" for funding your project
3 Details of Key information from the call text in the official journal
Even if you do not fully enjoy reading Commission documents in all detail, there are a number of key points in this 57 page document, especially on the first three pages.
The individual paragraphs refer to:
1. the specific programme for research, technological development and demonstration:‘Integrating and strengthening the European Research Area ’(2002-2006)(2) (referred to as ‘the specific programme’), and to ‘the work programme ’) which sets out in greater detail the objectives and scientific and technological priorities of the specific programme,and the timetable for implementation.
2. the date(s)of closure for the submission of proposals for indirect RTD actions,an indicative date for the completion of the evaluations, the indicative budget, the instruments and the areas concerned, the evaluation criteria for the evaluation of proposals for indirect RTD actions, the minimum number of participants, and any applicable restrictions.
3. who may submit proposals.
4. guides for proposers relating to the calls which contain information on the preparation and the submission of a proposal for an indirect RTD action. These guides, as well as the work programme and other information relating to the calls, can be obtained from the Commission via one of the following addresses:
For the specific programmes (except ‘Information Society technologies’****):
The FP6 Information Desk
Directorate General RTD
The IST Information Desk
Directorate General INFSO
5. how to submit proposals, preferably in electronic format, either on CD-ROM or on diskette. In any case, proposals for indirect RTD actions may also be prepared and submitted using the forms in the guide for proposers (referred to as on ‘paper ’). Once the software tool within the electronic proposal submission system (EPSS) is available, before the closure date in the relevant call, proposals for indirect RTD actions may be prepared off-line or on-line and submitted on-line. The EPSS software tool will be available via the Cordis website www.cordis.lu.
6. where to send proposals for indirect RTD actions submitted on CD-ROM, diskette, or paper by post: must be received by the Commission at the following address, and labelled as follows:
For deliveries by hand or by representatives (including by private courier), the delivery must be to the central postal service at the following address, and labelled as follows:
‘FP6 —Research Proposals ’ (Call identifier:…)
Rue de Genève, 1
Note that Proposals for indirect RTD actions submitted by e-mail or by fax will be excluded.
7. when proposals have to reach the Commission, at the latest on the closure date and at the time specified in the call concerned. Proposals for indirect RTD actions arriving after this date and time will be excluded.
8. how more than one version of a proposal is treated.
9. the need to cite the relevant call identifier.
In the following ANNEX 1, key information is provided on dates, topics and MONEY AVAILABLE.
1. Specific programme :Integrating and strengthening the European Research Area.
2. Activity :Priority thematic area of research ‘Life sciences, genomics and biotechnology for health ’.
3. Call title :Thematic call in the area of ‘Life sciences, genomics and biotechnology for health ’.
4. Call identifier :FP6-2002-LIFESCIHEALTH.
5. Date of publication :17 December 2002.
6. Closure date(s): 25 March 2003 at 17.00 (Brussels local time).
7. Total indicative budget for all of thematic priority one : EUR 513 million, broken down as follows:
Instrument EUR million
IP or NOE 385 -410
STREP or CA 92 -121
SSA 8 -10
IP =Integrated project;
NOE =Network of excellence;
STREP =Specific targeted research project;
CA =Coordination action;
SSA =Specific support action.
These "instruments" are further defined in Choosing the most appropriate "Instrument" for funding your project
To return to the main document, go to: Key information from the call text in the official journal
4 Details of A Guide to the "Guide for Proposers"
When accessing the guide for proposers, there are five documents according to the five main instruments: The Guide for Proposers are call and instrument specific. As an example, we will concentrate on the document for networks of excellence. So, click on http://fp6.cordis.lu/fp6/call_details.cfm?CALL_ID=4 and choose guide for proposers. There is a text file and five files available, identified as a_pg followed by initials corresponding to the instrument. We choose a_pgne... to get the network of excellence, and find Key recommendations for submitting a proposal to the LifeSciHealth Priority. These key recommendations are a bit detailed, but very important in making sure that your proposal is correctly done. Hence they are reproduced here:
This version of the Guide for Proposers concerns: LifeSciHealth Priority CALL 1
The structure required for a proposal, and the rules which will govern its evaluation, vary according to the type of instrument used and also may vary from call to call. It is entirely your responsibility to ensure you are using the correct version of the Guide for Proposers for the type of action and the call for which you are proposing.
Key recommendations for submitting a proposal to the LifeSciHealth Priority
Priorities and objectives: Check that your proposed work does indeed address research topics open in the current Call and as described in the current LifeSciHealth Priority Work Programme. Multidisciplinary proposals addressing several topics may be submitted. Any proposal submitted in response to this call should however have a centre of gravity on one topic open in the current Call. If the major part of your proposal concerns a topic of another Call it should be submitted to that Call. PROPOSALS CANNOT BE ACCEPTED IF THEY ARE NOT FOCUSED ON THE PRIORITIES OF THE FRAMEWORK PROGRAMME; THE MULTIDISCIPLINARY NATURE OF A PROPOSAL DOES NOT REMOVE THIS REQUIREMENT.
Completeness: Proposals must comprise a Part A, containing the administrative information (including partner and project cost details) on standard forms; and a Part B, containing the scientific and technical description of your proposal, (as described in Annex 2). Check that your proposal contains both parts.
Use of correct forms and instrument: The proposal forms for Part A and the structure of Part B vary according to the different instruments.
Check that you have chosen the correct contractual instrument for the type of work you are proposing (http://www.cordis.lu/fp6/find-doc.htm).
Check in the Work Programme that the call is actually open for instruments of this type in the particular Research topic in which you propose to work.
Check on the call page that you are using the version of the Guide for Proposers specific for this instrument and call.
Eligible partnership: Confirm that you and your partners are indeed eligible for participation in the Priority - The minimum requirements for the makeup of your consortium can be found in the Work Programme and the call text, and organisations must have a registered legal existence.
Evaluation criteria: All proposals are evaluated according to fixed sets of criteria, depending on the type of instrument, which are defined in Annex B of the Work Programme. Be sure that your proposal clearly addresses each of the evaluation criteria used for this instrument. Be aware that there are threshold scores on the criteria which must be achieved or else the proposal fails.
Ethical, safety and regulatory issues: Clearly indicate any potential ethical, safety or regulatory aspects of the proposed research and the way they will be dealt with in your proposed project. An ethical check will take place during the evaluation and an ethical review will take place for proposals dealing with specific sensitive issues. Proposals will fail if they do not respect the ethical rules for FP6.
Gender issues: Clearly indicate the way in which these issues are taken into account (see Proposal Part B and Annex 4).
Presentation: Proposals should be precise and concise. They should present the objectives and the expected results, how the participants intend to disseminate or exploit these results and how the project contributes to integrating and structuring the European research area. Proposals should assemble the necessary critical mass of activities, expertise and resources to achieve the proposed objectives.
Competition: There will be strong competition. Therefore edit your proposal tightly, strengthen or eliminate weak points. Arrange for your draft to be evaluated by experienced colleagues, using the evaluation criteria for the type of action you are proposing, before sending it in. Then use their advice to improve it before submission.
Deadlines: Call deadlines are absolutely firm and are strictly enforced. Proposals must be received by the Commission before or on the deadline as it is specified in the Call for proposals . Proposers are reminded that it is their own responsibility to ensure the safe delivery of their proposal.
PROPOSALS ARRIVING AT THE COMMISSION AFTER THE DEADLINE ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR EVALUATION. NO EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES WILL BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION.
The Key Recommendations are followed by the table of contents, which are dealt with section by section:
This Guide for Proposers contains the basic information needed to guide you in preparing a proposal. It contains the proposal forms needed to prepare Part A of a proposal, and instructions on how to write Part B. Both parts are required to make a complete proposal. Incomplete proposals will be ineligible and therefore will not be evaluated. It also describes other services which may be available for the proposers, like pre-registration, and the different support services. It contains references to other documents, reports, forms and software tools which are of assistance in the preparation of proposals.
Other documents which constitute, together with this guide, the Information Package for Networks of Excellence and which you will need to consult during the preparation of your proposal are:
The brochure “The 6th Framework Programme in Brief”.
The current LifeSciHealth Priority Work Programme.
The Call for proposals as published in the Official Journal of the European Communities.
Additional documents which you should review are :
The Guidelines on proposal evaluation procedures (the “Evaluation Manual”).
The LifeSciHealth Priority Guidelines for Evaluators.
The model contract for a Network of Excellence, and its annexes.
The background document on Networks of Excellence.
This Guide for Proposers does not supersede the rules and conditions laid out, in particular, in Council and Parliament Decisions relevant to the Sixth Framework Programme, the LifeSciHealth Priority, the Call for proposals or the Evaluation manual, available at: http://www.cordis.lu/fp6/find-doc.htm
II PROPOSAL PREPARATION
Key points that you need to keep in mind:
-The submission is one stage. This means that there will be only one round of evaluations, although this may involve evaluations on general panels, immediately followed by a consensus panel to make the final recommendations, without any intermediate reference to the proposers.
-There are a wide range of possible participants and funding rules, specified in the rules of participation. Co-operation with international organisations with intergovernmental agreements is welcome.
-A proposal has a part A, with administrative information, and a part B, with technical content.
-Although any community language may be used for proposals, English is the effective working language, since an abstract in English is required, and a translation is encouraged.
-Pre-registration is helpful
-An electronic submission system is available, but with special requirements.
-No pre-proposal check is available.
III SUBMISSION OF PROPOSALS
There are several possibilities for submitting proposals, depending on preferences of the submitter. Since most people will use computers for preparing the proposal, and since a pure online system may not perfectly function immediately, and although all options are perfectly good, an optimal way might be to do the following:
The EPSS comprises a software tool for preparing proposals off-line. The coordinator may download this tool to fill in forms and attach the proposal content file(s). The same restrictions on file formats apply as for the on-line submission method. Once the proposal is complete, the coordinator submits it by entering his/her login and password. On submission, the EPSS performs an initial check on eligibility and informs the coordinator of any apparent eligibility problems with the proposal. This check does not replace the eligibility check carried out by the Commission and the coordinator may decide to submit the proposal even when apparent eligibility problems have been indicated by the EPSS. Once successfully submitted, the coordinator receives a message that indicates that his/her proposal has been received and accepted for submission.
IV EVALUATION AND NEGOTIATION
An outline of this information is available. More detailed evaluation guidelines will be prepared, and these aspects are also discussed in the Call.
V CHECK LIST FOR PROPOSERS
This is a very useful list.
VI SUPPORT TO PROPOSERS
Also very useful discussion.
These give access to key help references.
ANNEX 1 – PROPOSAL PART A: FORMS AND INSTRUCTIONS
ANNEX 2 – PROPOSAL PART B: GUIDELINES FOR DRAFTING
ANNEX 3 – ETHICAL RULES FOR FP6 PROJECTS
ANNEX 4 – INTEGRATING THE GENDER DIMENSION INTO FP6 PROJECTS
ANNEX 5 – ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF RECEIPT FORM
These titles are self explanatory.
To return to the main document, go to: A Guide to the "Guide for Proposers"
5 Details of Accessing the full Information Pack
[Life sciences, genomics and biotechnology for health]
There are several documents available in the information package for the Thematic call in the area of “Life sciences, genomics and biotechnology for health”
In order to receive a complete Information Package for this call, you will need to select the following elements:
The call text in your preferred language (which is based on the work programme, but is not identical to it. Remember, it is the call text as published in the Official Journal which officially defines the topic)
The work programme in your preferred language (this gives details not only of the first call, but also the second call and general trends. However, it in turn does not cover all the details of the specific programme, which can be viewed separately for Genomics, on Pages 11-12 of Specific Programme for RTD for FP6, Official Journal of the European Communities 29.10.2002 EN L 294/9 at:
FP6 in Brief - an overview of the basic features of this programme (This is an excellent and clear summary document, especially for explaining the instruments for financial support)
The Guides for Proposers relevant to the instruments used in this call, including application forms A and B (This tells you how to put your proposal together)
There are Additional Documents which should be available sometime in January 2003.
Guidelines on Proposal Evaluation Procedures
Guidelines for evaluators (Call Specific)
There are various means of getting support:
View and print relevant National Contact Points.
Any questions concerning this Call may be sent to the European Commission's Infodesk for this area. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (Advanced genomics and its application for health) or email@example.com (Combating major diseases)
To return to the main document, go to: Accessing the full Information Pack
6 Details of Strategy for Proposal Preparation
Strategy is a matter for each proposer to decide, but it may help to have an understanding of what the Commission is trying to accomplish, as discussed in the documents in http://www.cordis.lu/fp6/find-doc.htm#inbrief and summarised in the brochure available in that section "FP6 in brief" and what factors may contribute to having a proposal accepted and then made a success. This section is necessarily subjective, and certainly following it gives no guarantee of success. To this end, we cover several areas. We suggest reading the excellent brochure FP6 in brief, and what follows gives some additional commentary.
Nature and Scope of New Instruments
It is very important to remember that the new instruments, especially the NoE and IP, are not just like the old instruments, but with an order of magnitude more money than an average project in FP5. Similarly, a strategy that will almost certainly fail is one in which the researchers start from the premise that they just want to keep doing the same thing, and hope that their contract managers will be able to decipher how to convince the Commission and their evaluators to hand out the money. The aim of the new instruments is to achieve a sharing of effort, knowledge and facilities to truly improve integration at a European level.
A very important point to remember is that the Commission has designed the new instruments to allow a great deal of flexibility to the participants in forming the organisations. In particular, there is no hidden "secret example" or "preferred type" of IP or NoE. Especially during the first call, there really is a great deal of room for inventiveness on the part of the proposers. This is also frustrating for some proposers, who say, "please tell me how to put together a proposal which will be accepted." It really is up to you to a greater extent than before.
NoEs are multipartner projects aimed at strengthening scientific and technological excellence on a particular research topic by integrating at European level the critical mass of resources and expertise needed to provide European leadership and to be a world force in a given domain. This expertise will be networked around a joint programme of activities aimed primarily at creating a progressive and durable integration of research capacities of network partners while at the same time advancing knowledge on the topic.
NoEs are more than just schemes for the co-ordination of research and information exchange; and the research itself is not their main focus either. Participating institutions have to invest seriously in structural change aiming at a durable integration of their research capacities. This requires the commitment of all levels of decision-making in an institution, including top management, supervising and financing bodies.
IPs are multipartner projects to support objective-driven research, where the primary deliverable is generating the knowledge required to implement the thematic priorities. IPs should bring together a critical mass of resources to reach ambitious goals aimed either at increasing Europe’s competitiveness or at addressing major societal needs. They must contain a research component and may contain technological development and demonstration components, as appropriate, as well as perhaps a training component. A project may be at any point in the research spectrum. A single project may indeed span large parts of the spectrum, i.e. from basic to applied research.
Integration within an integrated project may take several forms:
Vertical integration of the full “value-chain” of stakeholders from those involved in knowledge production through to technology development and transfer.
Horizontal integration of a range of multidisciplinary activities.
Activity integration: integrating various research activities from fundamental to applied research and with other types of activity, including take-up activities, protection and dissemination of knowledge, training, etc, as appropriate.
Sectoral integration of actors from private and public sector research organisations, and in particular between academia and industry, including SMEs.
Financial integration of public and private funding, with overall financing plans that may involve the European Investment Bank and co-operation with Eureka.
The effective management of knowledge and its dissemination and transfer, will also be an essential feature of each integrated project together with the analysis and assessment of the technologies developed and of the factors relating to their exploitation, where relevant.
Topics (also ethics)
The topics in many cases are well defined and specified for the larger instruments, and more flexible for the smaller instruments. The proposers should read the topics carefully to really see what is in scope, and also to see that their own approach conforms to the appropriate ethical and legal principles. It should also be realised that the ethical principles are far from being subjective: they are often part of national legal systems, which must followed by national participants, as well as being part of EU law and requirements.
Researchers participating in Community funded projects must respect fundamental ethical principles, as set out for instance in the “Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU”, as well as relevant international regulations/guidelines (by the Council of Europe, UN, UNESCO, WHO etc.). Researchers also have to follow European and international regulations/guidelines on animal welfare. Research proposals, must conform to current legislation and regulations in the countries where the research will be carried out. They must describe the ethical implications of the research and, where required by national legislation or rules, participants must seek the approval of the relevant ethics committees prior to the start of the RTD activities that raise ethical issues. The European Commission services will carry out an ethical review of those research projects containing ethically sensitive questions and, in some cases, an ethical monitoring may take place during the research project.