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Call: NeGI NCoE "eScience in Climate and Environmental Research"


The submission deadline for this call has passed
Application deadline
19.09.2012 14:00
Full call title
Nordic Centres of Excellence within eScience in Climate and Environmental Research - A Grand Challenge Research Programme within the Nordic eScience Globalisation Initiative
Technical support
NordForsk Support will be unavailable during the period 14 July - 5 August 2012 due to the summer holidays.
Background

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 funding partners form the NeGI Steering Committee and the initiative is administered by NordForsk.

The NeGI Steering Committee has decided to allocate approximately 40 MNOK to set up 1 - 3 Nordic Centres of Excellence (NCoEs) for developing advanced models, simulation tools and tools for data analysis for climate and environmental research, with a special focus on Nordic/ Arctic conditions.

A summary of the NCoE concept is provided in Addendum 1 to this document. For more information about the Nordic eScience Globalisation Initiative (NeGI), please refer to http://www.nordforsk.org/en/programs/programmer/escience/escience-globaliseringsinitiativ

Who can 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 must thus be an institution, organisation or other legal entity based in one of these three countries.
Thematic framework

The NeGI NCoE should perform excellent research on eScience in climate and/ or environmental research with a special focus on Nordic/ Arctic conditions.

The research should be focused on the development of new modelling frameworks, computational models and methods, algorithms and software addressing major problems in climate and/ or environmental research with the goal of producing new research opportunities in the topical fields within the project period.

The effort should be founded on tight interaction between topical eScience research ("eClimate/ eEnvironment research") and research on more generic eScience tools and methods, including groups from topical research fields and computer science/ scientific computing/ applied mathematics.

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 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. Research infrastructure will not be funded within the NeGI NCoE grants, but the needs and availability of such resources, including human resources for eInfrastructure development, should be carefully specified in the proposal.

Through communication with international, Nordic and national eInfrastructure providers and initiatives, NeGI will use the submitted information as a basis for exploring opportunities for providing access to eInfrastructure resources that are initially not available to the proposed NeGI NCoE. In this context, the Nordic eInfrastructure Collaboration (NeIC) is potentially an important entity. NeIC is a collaborative effort by funding agencies and national providers of large-scale computing and storage resources in the five Nordic countries and is also hosted by NordForsk.

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. 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 - 3 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 can also include non-Nordic nodes funded by other contributions (cash or in-kind) as specified in the proposed budget.

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 19 September 2012 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). The institution will enter into a contract with NordForsk and will be responsible for the administration of the NeGI NCoE. This is also the institution to which NordForsk will transfer the grant
- The NeGI NCoE must have institutional commitment from at least three Nordic countries. Letters of Intent are required from all NeGI NCoE partners
- Proposals should contain a total budget of expected costs for the NeGI NCoE and a specification of how these costs are covered by different sources, including funding sought from NeGI
- All NeGI NCoE partners must document their own contribution (cash and in-kind) to the centre - The proposed duration of a NeGI NCoE is five years
- Proposals have to include an ethical statement
- Proposals have to include a description of gender aspects of the research and organisation of the NeGI NCoE

Evaluation criteria
The quality of the proposed NeGI NCoE is measured according to the following four components:
- Excellence of Research Plan (relevance to the contents of the call; 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; possibilities for specialization; 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 Addendum 2, merits in the area of open science (cited data sets, software, etc.)

The evaluation of the research plan has more weight than the other three 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 for the NCoE, including the impact of the funding requested from NeGI.

The funding decisions will be made by the NordForsk Board in December 2012 based on external peer review performed by a panel consisting of external international experts followed by a recommendation from 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.

The funding decisions will be communicated to the applicants, and NordForsk will initiate contract negotiations with the granted NCoEs and their host organisations shortly thereafter.

Granted NCoEs are expected to start their activities during spring 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 in Climate and Environmental research.

Addendum 1
THE NORDIC CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE CONCEPT

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 http://www.nordforsk.org/en/funding/finansieringsformer/nordic-centre-of-excellence
Addendum 2
OPEN ACCESS TO PROJECT RESULTS: PUBLICATIONS, DATA, SOFTWARE AND EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES

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 http://www.smhi.se/ecds/Support/Data-management/data-publication-plan-1.19537 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
40 MNOK
Responsible adviser

Sverker Holmgren, Program Director for the eScience globalisation initiative
E-mail: sverker.holmgren@nordforsk.org
Phone: +46 70 425 07 97

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