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Call: NeGI NCoE eScience in Health and social preconditions for health

The submission deadline for this call has passed
Application deadline
17.04.2013 14:00
Full call title
Nordic Centres of Excellence within eScience in Health and Social Preconditions for Health A Grand Challenge Research Programme within the Nordic eScience Globalisation Initiative

The Nordic eScience Globalisation Initiative (NeGI) was established by the Nordic Council of Ministers, NordForsk and national funding agencies in Finland, Norway and Sweden. The NeGI Steering Committee is comprised of representatives of the funding partners, and the initiative is administered by NordForsk. The NeGI Steering Committee has decided to allocate approximately NOK 40 million to the establishment of 1 - 2 Nordic Centres of Excellence (NCoEs) for eScience research on the use of genetic/molecular data and clinical/population registries for research in health and social preconditions for health. This involves development of methods and tools for advanced data integration, data analysis, modelling and simulation for research related to health and social preconditions for health, with a special focus on exploiting national registry, biobank and genetic data in the Nordic countries. A summary of the NCoE concept is provided in Annex 1 to this document. For more information about the Nordic eScience Globalisation Initiative (NeGI), please refer to

Who is eligible to apply?
The NeGI NCoE must have commitment from institutions in at least three Nordic countries, and the Project Leader should be an established senior researcher based in one of the NeGI co-funding countries, i.e. Finland, Norway or Sweden. The formal applicant (legal entity) must thus be an institution, organisation or other entity having research as their primary objective based in one of these three countries.
Thematic framework
The Nordic countries together possess unique sources of information from national registries and health surveys. Well-developed population and health data registers covering the whole population have been in operation for decades and are now complemented by databases with molecular data. Combining these sources across national boundaries by use of modern eScience tools will provide unique opportunities for research exploitation in combination with biobanks and modern technology for genetic analysis. The NeGI NCoE should perform excellent research focused on developing methods and tools for advanced data integration, data analysis, modeling and simulation for research related to health and social preconditions for health, with a special focus on exploiting national registry, bio-bank and genetic data in the Nordic countries. The NeGI NCoE should perform excellent research on eScience with the goal of producing new research opportunities in the fields of Health and Social Preconditions for Health within the project period. The effort should be founded on tight interaction between relevant research groups active in these fields and research on more generic eScience tools and methods, including groups from topical research fields and computer science/ scientific computing/ applied mathematics/statistics. The NeGI NCoE should build competence and long-lasting networks of younger researchers and promote their career opportunities through coordination of researcher education within the centre. NeGI is planning an effort on graduate education in eScience tools and techniques with funding for developing and giving specifically developed courses at the Nordic level, and for student participation in these courses. The researcher education within the centre of excellence should take benefit of and be integrated in this effort. It can be anticipated that the NeGI NCoEs supported within this call will be dependent on the availability of existing research infrastructure, especially eInfrastructures. It can also be anticipated that this research infrastructure would mainly be used for development of new methods and for performing pilot experiments, providing a platform for more extensive use of eInfrastructure when the methods and tools developed within the centre of excellence are put into production. The needs and availability of research infrastructure should be carefully specified in the proposal. However, investments in research infrastructure will not be funded within the NeGI NCoE grants. An important aspect of a NeGI NCoE is that it should foster the concept of open science. This implies that publications, data (both raw data and results from analysis) and software produced should also be openly available for research performed outside the centre whenever this is possible under applicable laws and regulations, see also Addendum 2. Courses and workshops should be open for external participation and the educational material produced should be made available for external use.
Financial framework
The call for proposals is funded through a common pot provided by the NeGI funding partners (Nordic Council of Ministers, NordForsk, the Academy of Finland, the Research Council of Norway and the Swedish Research Council) and administered by NordForsk. The total budget for this call for proposals is approximately 40 MNOK with the intention to establish 1 - 2 NCoEs. The NCoE funding is granted for five years. Funding is granted for Nordic research collaboration, as specified in the proposal. The NCoE funding can also be used for collaboration with non-Nordic researchers and research groups. To fulfil its goals, the NCoE is encouraged include non-Nordic nodes funded by other contributions (cash or in-kind) as specified in the proposed budget, when relevant. In order to support cross-border mobility, new positions within a NeGI NCoE should be announced internationally in open competition.
Processing of proposals

Proposals should be submitted electronically through NordForsk Application Portal no later than April 17th 2013 14:00 CEST. Proposals must be submitted in English. No attachments are allowed, unless specifically requested in the application form. The application form is based on the eligibility criteria and evaluation criteria stated below, and can be found in its complete form at NordForsk Application Portal. In order to access the application form you must register as a user at NordForsk Application Portal and create an application draft.

Eligibility criteria

  • The NeGI NCoE Project Leader must be an established senior researcher based at a research institution in a NeGI co-funding country (Finland, Norway, Sweden). NordForsk will enter into a contract with this institution, which will be responsible for the administration of the NeGI NCoE. This is also the institution to which NordForsk will disburse the grant.
  • The NeGI NCoE must have binding institutional commitment from at least three Nordic countries. Letters of Intent are required from all NeGI NCoE partners.
  • Proposals must include an overall budget detailing the expected costs for the NeGI NCoE and a specification of how these costs will be distributed among the different funding sources, including funding sought from the NeGI.
  • All NeGI NCoE partners must document their own contribution (cash and in-kind) to the centre.
  • The proposed time frame for a NeGI NCoE is five years.
  • Proposals must include a description of the relevant legal and ethical frameworks and procedures needed to perform the research.
  • Proposals must describe any relevant gender perspectives relating to the research and organisation of the NeGI NCoE. Evaluation criteria The quality of the proposed NeGI NCoE will be assessed in relation to the following four components:
  • Excellence of research plan (relevance relative to the call for proposals, scientific quality, originality and novelty of research, feasibility and expected results, appropriateness of budget, potential for knowledge transfer and use of knowledge to other areas, potential for long-term cooperation beyond the funding period).
  • Excellence of people (scientific merits; leadership; experience and skills related to management and operation)
  • Excellence of environment (inclusion of relevant environments, cohesion, possibility for specialisation, economy of scale, international strategy and profile, demonstrated skills and plans for researcher training, organisation of the centre of excellence).
  • Contribution to open science: Plans as described in Annex 2, merits in the area of open science (cited data sets, software, etc.)

The evaluation of the research plan will be weighted more heavily than the other components. Note that the evaluation of the research plan includes an evaluation of the feasibility of the proposed budget describing the total costs and overall funding contributions to the NCoE, including the impact of the funding requested from the NeGI. The final funding decision will be taken by the NordForsk Board based on external peer review performed by an international referee panel and the subsequent recommendation of the NeGI Steering Committee. NordForsk's Guidelines on Impartiality will be applied in order to avoid conflicts of interest in the prioritisation and funding decisions. The evaluation panel will provide written feedback to the applicants via NordForsk. Applicants will be notified of the outcome of the funding decision, and NordForsk will initiate contract negotiations with the approved NCoEs and their host organisations shortly thereafter. The NCoEs granted funding are expected to launch their activities during autumn 2013.

Management and organisation
NordForsk signs a contract with the hosting institution for the NeGI NCoE where exact funding rates and details are agreed. The grant is transferred to this institution and a consortium agreement regulates the relations between the institutions involved in the centre. NordForsk administers the funding. The NeGI Director at NordForsk has an active secretariat role managing and further developing the programme under the governance of the NeGI Steering Committee. Performance of the NeGI NCoE is monitored through annual progress reports comprising a scientific progress report and a financial report. After three years of operation, a midterm evaluation is performed and a more comprehensive progress report is assessed, before granting the centre the last two years of funding. A final evaluation of the results and impact of the NeGI NCoE is conducted after the end of the funding period. In order to facilitate the best scientific progress, a NeGI NCoE should receive regular and structured scientific advice from internationally renowned non-Nordic scientists in their field of research. NeGI will therefore, in collaboration with the centre(s) supported in this call, appoint a Scientific Advisory Board for the Nordic Grand Challenge Research Programme on eScience research in Health and Social Preconditions for Health.
Addendum 1

The NCoE is a main NordForsk funding instrument established to strengthen cooperation between outstanding researchers, research groups and research institutions within areas of priority for the Nordic countries. NCoEs add value to research performed in the countries and increase the international impact of Nordic research.

An NCoE is a multi-site or single-site research environment with a common research agenda, joint management and budget, and joint communication and outreach activities providing a coherent view of the centre. An NCoE facilitates more efficient use of resources by gathering people and funding into a collaborative entity. It stimulates international researcher mobility, true interdisciplinary research, and joint use and establishment of research infrastructure. An NCoE contributes to the attractiveness of the Nordic region and strengthen linkages to and impact on relevant European research initiatives by providing an international strategy and through providing joint access to the best research environments. Through coordination of researcher education an NCoE builds competence and long-lasting networks of younger researchers and promotes their career opportunities, and through joint communication and dissemination as well as coordinated data management, the possibilities to use research results are improved both in the scientific communities and in society as a whole.

NCoE status and funding is granted for five years. This period should be used to create favourable conditions for continued cooperation beyond the end of the NCoE project.

For more information about the NCoE concept, please refer to
Addendum 2

Results from projects funded under this call should be published open access under an appropriate Creative Commons License (ex. CC-BY). A publication plan is required if data production, software development (preferably open source) or development of educational resources represent a significant part of the project. The purpose of this is to ensure future reuse of project outputs for the wider Nordic and international community. This means that within a reasonable time, project results should be published and made available through relevant national and/ or international organisations or on suitable web sites.

For data, the publication plan should contain:
- Description of data. Describe the data to be collected as part of the project. The description should include an overview meta-data declaration
- Data collection. State when data will be collected, and how they will be stored (data format and storage location)
- Data publication. Describe when and how your data will be made available to other users, for example, by publication through a national or institutional data repository, or through deposit in a subject-specific database. Also indicate the license that will be used in the publication. Justify any delay, omission or selective publication of data. In those cases where there are technical difficulties with data publication, also state how you intend to solve this
- Budget for data publication. Justify your budget information relating to data publication, together with other items in your budget. Note: the costs of data storage that are deemed to be the responsibility of another organisation should not be included in the proposal
- Contact person. Indicate the contact person and contact information regarding these data

For projects in the fields of climate and the environment, the ECDS template may be useful starting point for a data publication plan.

Open access as described above is strongly encouraged and applicants would need strong arguments for exceptions.
Max applied amount
Responsible adviser

Sverker Holmgren, Program Director for the eScience globalisation initiative
Phone: +46 70 425 07 97

NordForsk, Stensberggata 25, 0170 Oslo, Tlf: +47 476 14 400, E-post:, Organisasjonsnummer: 971 274 255