The ERA-NET ARIMNet2 Project (Agricultural Research In the Mediterranean Network), funded by the 7th Framework programme, European Commission, aims at coordinating National Agricultural Research Programmes to strengthen the capacities of its partners to address in a coordinated way the major challenges that the Mediterranean agriculture is facing.
While agriculture in the countries around the Mediterranean is facing common issues and challenges, Agricultural Research in the Mediterranean is scattered and requires a coordination effort to step up the cooperation and coordination of research activities carried out at national level by joining forces to promote innovative research and cooperation. It is the purpose and the ambition of the partners of the ARIMNet2 Project.
For more information about ARIMNet2, please connect to www.arimnet2.net
2. A Joint Transnational Call for young researchers
The aim of this call is to reinforce the capacities of young scientists around the Mediterranean Area and to prepare the new generation of young research talents to become leaders and pioneers in their research area.
The call will support research consortia in a broad scope of topics to give researchers the opportunity to develop their own networks and research ideas and to facilitate the establishment of long-lasting collaborations and partnerships among young scientists around the Mediterranean.
It aims to promote international collaborations among young researchers to take up in an innovative approach the global stakes and challenges that the Mediterranean Agriculture is facing.
Previous calls in 2011, 2015, 2016 have successfully funded 31 projects (projects list www.arimnet2.net).
The 2017 call is based on a virtual common pot of around 5.4 million Euros with the aim to fund projects involving several partners from different countries.
Scope and topics
Enhancing Mediterranean agricultural and food value chains
The countries of the Mediterranean basin face a number of similar problems in relation to agriculture, mainly as regards the use and management of natural resources, such as soil and water, and threats to the security and sustainability of agricultural production resulting from climate change. The vulnerability of the Mediterranean ecosystems and unsustainable farming systems have led to problems such as soil erosion and runoff, overexploitation of natural plant cover, loss of fertility of agricultural land, soil degradation, underground water overexploitation, contamination and food safety problems.
However, socio-economic contribution of agriculture and food sectors to economic growth, rural development and employment is very important all around the Mediterranean. The diversity in products and the traditional know-how in food production and processing are important assets that have led the Mediterranean region to be deemed for the high quality and diversity of its food. Nevertheless, traditional Mediterranean food chains are suffering difficulties to face increase in urban demand and changes in consumption and life styles. This induces also poor nutrition and significant health problems. Development of sustainable agriculture and local food industries, which generate employment and added value products, is a common objective for the Mediterranean countries.
Through this call, ARIMNet2 partners are willing to support integrated and trans-disciplinary research projects aimed at leading innovations for enhancing the agricultural and food systems contribution to social and economic development in a sustainable way.
The call will cover two topics :
Topic 1: “Promoting sustainable agriculture for socio-economic development” Topic 2: “Valorising local products through food value chains improvement”
Topic 1: Promoting sustainable agriculture for socio-economic development
Climatic conditions, in particular climate variability, require the development of production systems able to cope with risk and uncertainty. Rusticity and flexibility of the different components and of the whole are two major factors of resilience of the systems and their competitiveness and sustainability is required to be improved. Therefore, research is needed in orderto improve simultaneously the productivity of agricultural systems and their sustainability. Facing climatic change and pressure in water availability, protecting the natural resources and the environment need an evolution of the current production practices to contribute to the economic and social development.
Adaptation of agriculture to climate change calls for solutions to be found in terms of genetics and agronomics to cope with water scarcity, changes in temperatures and increase in climate variability. Several issues have to be addressed in this perspective: Genetic breeding of varieties resistant to drought and to climate hazards; adaptation to climate change; use of local biodiversity; development of new farming systems combining different activities and species; diversification of cropping systems using local crop species; water-saving techniques and water efficient cropping systems; development of protein rich crops. The diversity of production systems can help to valorize the diversity of soils, slopes, and wet areas but can also play a non-negligible role in water circulation, fauna and flora dissemination or soil distribution.
Soil is a major resource for Mediterranean agriculture sustainability. The "4‰" Cop 21 Initiative1 aims to develop practical measures on restoration, improvement and/or preservation of carbon stocks in soils. Management of soil carbon will contribute to climate change adaptation. The scientific approaches should develop: Studies of mechanisms and assessment of the potential for carbon storage in soils across Mediterranean regions; performance evaluation of best farming practices for soil carbon and their impact on food security and on other regulation and production services; monitoring and estimating variations in soil carbon stock, especially at farmers level; increasing water holding capacity of soils rich in organic matter.
Intensive use of chemicals (fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics) has also generated environmental and human health problems. Several research issues should be considered in order to improve the sustainability of production systems such as on-farm improved efficiency of input uses and integrated pest management. Development of low-input systems using integrated approaches between ecology and agronomy should also be addressed.
Topic 2: Valorising local products through food value chains improvement
Improvement in the agricultural systems should take into account the potential outlets and markets for agricultural products. Thus, food chain organisation is a requirement for local economic development. The enhancement of Mediterranean food value chains is closely related to technological aspects of production and transformation, market and food chain organisation and industrial strategies. In particular, it is necessary to develop processing technologies for better valorisation of typical local products, to boost rural economy, and to create new jobs. The utilisation of the Mediterranean biodiversity, the traditional knowledge and culinary heritage should be encouraged.
A valorisation of the nutritional qualities of Mediterranean foods and the development of new products based on the traditional Mediterranean products should also consider the convenience and the accessibility of food for households. A better control of the quality throughout the food chain is a condition for food safety (hazards and risk assessment, improvements in food shelf life, storage and transportation conditions). Better management of the food chain, organisation and logistics, should allow for the reduction of food wastes and losses.
Development of new products and technologies, food safety improvement, should consider different dimensions along the whole food chain, i.e. Consumer needs, outlets and markets, and agricultural systems, within a global value chain approach. Social organization of food chains, coordination among actors, norms and standards and the promotion of territorial products through geographical indications and designation of origin should also be addressed.
Integrated approaches to address complex challenges linking technical and socio-economic issues;
Improved soil and water quality and agronomic practices with limited input use (e.g. pesticides,
chemical fertilisers, energy and water);
Improved local products and farming systems best suited to Mediterranean conditions;
Diversification and increase of farmers' incomes through access to new markets;
Innovations along the whole food chain contributing to local development.
3. Participation and funding of Research Projects
The funding for the transnational projects will be national funds by ARIMNet2 network based on a virtual common pot instrument. The funding principle is that each country funds its own research group(s), while it benefits from the research fruits of the multinational team of the Project Consortium.
Participating countries, funding organisations and funds available are listed in Annex 1.
3.1 Participation from ARIMNet2 network countries with national funding
Researchers participating in projects that have been selected for funding will receive the grant directly from their national funding organisation after meeting their national regulations. Funding will be administered according to the terms and conditions of respective national funding body.
Industry may in some countries also bid for funding as members of consortia, but should first check the Parties’ national rules for details on funding eligibility of SMEs or large industries.
3.2 Participation from ARIMNet2 network and outside ARIMNet2 network countries without national funding
Applicants from participating countries to the ARIMNET2 call without national funding and those from countries not partners in the ARIMNet2 are welcome in research consortia, but will have to fund their own contribution to the research projects. Applicants have to provide a letter attesting that the necessary funds for the realization of the project will be available. They cannot coordinate a project nor have a vital contribution to the project.
Partners in consortia from non funding partner countries are not taken into account in the minimum number of requirement of eligible partners and countries in the ARIMNet2 eligibility criteria
4. Call Schedule
The call is a “One stage procedure” that implies direct submission of full proposals.
Pre-announcement of the Call
Launching the Call and guidelines on website
Deadline for submission of proposals
Eligibility check - call secretariat
Eligibility check - funding agencies
Scientific peer review
From September 30, 2017
Meeting of the SEC ( ranking list), PARIS
15-16 November 2017
Call Results publication
First 2 weeks of December 2017
Expected start of projects
First quarter of 2018
5. Call Secretariat (CS)
The Call secretariat is the main body in managing the call. It will produce and disseminate call documents and procedures. The CS will give administrative support to applicants regarding the call procedures.
The CS is the primary contact point of the project Coordinator for all general matters in relation to the call and during the follow-up and evaluation of funded projects.
The National Contact points are supporting the Call Secretariat and must be contacted by the researchers for all matters regarding national regulations and funding. The list of National Contact point is available in annexe 1 and available on www.arimnet2.net
Call Secretariat :
Mr. Fabrice Dentressangle
Agence Nationale de la Recherche (France) email@example.com
Tel : +(33) 1 63 54 81 56
6. How to Prepare and submit a proposal?
7.1 Research Consortium composition =>
7.2 Coordinator appointment =>
7.3 Verify for each partner national eligibility criteria ( including topic , type of partner , funding) =>
7.4 Proposal drafting =>
( check the criteria of evaluation and use the forms )
7.5 Submission online by the coordinator =>
8. eligibility and Evaluation process =>
Negotiation phase and contract signature =>
Start of the project
6.1 Eligible Consortium
The project consortium must include at least three (3) young researchers from three (3) different countries participating and funding the call with at least :
1 young researcher from a southern country: Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia
1 young researcher from a northern country: France, Greece, Turkey, Croatia, Slovenia, Spain AND 1 young researcher from the participating countries (all the north and south countries listed above)
Additional researchers from other institutions /countries are welcome in a Project Consortium, but will have to fund their own contribution to the research project.
Each Consortium need to appoint a Coordinator, who will have the following role:
Be the single point of contact between the ARIMNet2 Call secretariat and the consortium partners from proposal submission to project end;
Ensure that all the partners involved in the consortium are eligible
Submit the Application Form on behalf of the Consortium;
Compile and submit reports/deliverables to the ARIMNet2 Call secretariat on behalf of the Consortium;
Ensure the role of supervision of the project workflow with the help of WP leaders.
The Coordinator will NOT be responsible for the financial management of ARIMNet2 research funding, which will be handled directly between national researchers and their national funding organisations in each participating country.
The Coordinator shall inform the Call Secretariat and each of the national funding organisations of any event that might affect the implementation of the project.
Coordination costs are supported by the national funding body of the coordinating country.
Coordinators of selected projects for funding should include in their budget the fees to cover their participation to the three (3) follow up meetings with the ARIMNET2 funding agencies.
6.3 Eligibility check ( see section 8.1)
6.4 Research proposal forms and content ( the templates can be downloaded directly on www.arimnet2.net)
6.5 Project online submission
Coordinator should register and create an account in the online submission system that will be open the 16th of August 2017 and will be available following this link : (https://aap.agencerecherche.fr/_layouts/15/SIM/Pages/SIMNouveauProjet.aspx?idAAP=1187)
On behalf the project partners, the Coordinator submits the Proposal via the on-line Electronic Submission System (Part B+ 1 annex with the copy of the diploma and the CV of the young researchers) and fills directly online administrative and financial forms (Part A). Please read and use the document “templates” available on www.arimnet2.net
A submission receipt will be issued automatically to the Coordinator.
Only one single form for Proposal is required for each project. Proposals must be completed in English. The ARIMNet2 joint Call secretariat will be the primary point of contact throughout the application process.
Applications will be accepted only via the ARIMNet2 online submission website before the date and time of the call deadline (14th of September 2017, 17h CET).
7. Evaluation Process and selection criteria
The evaluation process is designed with a one-step procedure.
Elligibility check: CS+ Funding agencies
Proposal fitting the eligibility criteria
Evaluation : Scientific committee
Ranked proposals after scientific evaluation
Funding agencies decision
Negociation, contract signature
7.1 Eligibility check
Once the proposal is submitted, an eligibility check will be operated by the call secretariat and the funding agencies. Only proposals meeting the both eligibility criteria will follow with the evaluation stage process.
All participants in a bidding consortium must check their eligibility referring to their national regulation (www.arimnet2.net). All participants must also check whether their topic is funded by their country and the maximum amount allowed per project or partner.
The coordinator of the Consortium is responsible for guaranteeing the eligibility of partners. Please, consider that if a national or ARIMNET2 network eligibility criteria fails, this will lead to the exclusion of the whole project before the evaluation process.
The coordinator of the Consortia is responsible to guarantee that all partners are eligible.
7.1.1 ARIMNet2 criteria
Each project proposal must meet the following criteria:
Project consortium must include at least three (3) young researchers from three (3) different countries participating and funding the call (at least 1 from a southern country: Algeria, Egypt, Morocco or Tunisia and 1 from a northern country: France, Greece, Turkey, Croatia, Slovenia, Spain)
A young researcher is somebody who has obtained his/her PhD (or equivalent to be defined in the national regulations) within the last 10 years (meaning that applicants must have obtained their PhD after 1 January 2007). In some cases, the definition can be slightly different according to the countries, then the definition of eligible profiles is specified in the national regulations.
This limit of 10 years may be pushed back for the following events occurring after the PhD is awarded: maternity leave, parental leave, long term sick leave (> 90 days), national service. The limit is pushed back for a period equal to the duration of the event. Where appropriate, the events will be specified at the time of proposal submission and supporting documents will be provided
Additional young researchers from other countries not funding the call are welcome in a Project Consortium but will have to participate on their own financial contribution. Applicants with own or other sources of funding than ARIMNet2 are not taken into account in the minimum requirement of eligible consortium partners
Additional senior researchers (not young researchers as defined in the call) can participate in the consortium but cannot lead a team nor coordinate the consortium, they must be part of a team led by a young researcher.
Be of a maximum three-year duration,
Be written in English, using the ARIMNet2 Application Forms provided on the submission website (www.arimnet2.net), with part A filled online and part B + an annex containing the CVs of the young researchers with the copy of their diploma uploaded correctly via the submission website before the call deadline (14th of September 2017, 5 PM CET).
Fit the formal requirements for proposal submission,
7.1.2 National eligibility criteria
Each partner of the consortium has to read carefully the national regulations on www.arimnet2.net.
To receive funding, applicants must be eligible for funding by the national funding organisations participating in the call.
They must check whether their topic is funded by their country or not and the maximum amount allowed per partner or project
Eligible costs (included subcontracting) will be determined by the regulations and conditions of each national funding organisation. For more details on this point, please contact your National Contact Point.
Please, consider that if a national or ARIMNET2 network criteria fails, this will lead to the exclusion of the whole project before the evaluation process.
i. Applicants from countries not providing identifiable funds for the call
Applicants from ARIMNET2 partner countries without national funding and those from countries not partners in the ARIMNet2 network are welcome in research consortia, but will have to fund their contribution to the research projects themselves.
These applicants have to provide a letter attesting that the necessary funds for the implementation of the project will be available. They cannot coordinate a project nor have a vital contribution to the project.
Applicants with own or other sources of funding than ARIMNet2 are not taken into account in the minimum requirement of eligible consortium partners (min 3 partners from 1 northern country+ 1 southern country).
7.2 Scientific Evaluation
The Call Secretariat will transmit all the eligible proposals to the Scientific Evaluation Committee.
All proposals submitted will be treated confidentially by the ARIMNet2 partners and their appointed evaluation experts.
7.2.1 The Scientific Evaluation Committee (SEC)
Each proposal will be evaluated by 2 members of the Scientific Evaluation Committee
The Scientific Evaluation Committee (SEC) will be composed of 10 to 20 Mediterranean experts based on their acknowledged scientific excellence in the research areas covered by the call.
The SEC members are internationally recognized scientists chosen for their scientific or technical expertise. They do not represent the nominating parties or adopt national considerations. SEC members are contributing to the evaluation process; they evaluate proposals, act as rapporteur for final evaluation reports and propose a final ranking of selected proposals.
The Chair of the SEC is an independent scientist, internationally recognized.
The SEC members and Chairperson must not apply to this call and avoid any conflict of interest.
During the evaluation meeting, the projects will be ranked by consensus in 3 categories (A, B, C).
A: Projects recommended for funding.
B : Projects that could be funded if funds are available.
C: Projects not recommended for funding
7.2.2 Scientific review criteria and score
The SEC members (1 rapporteur and 1 reader for each proposal) will have to evaluate the proposal by scoring the four criteria (see below) on the scale 0-5 (from poor to excellent) and by justifying their score with a short comment (each criteria has the same weight):
Criteria 1: Relevance to the scientific scope of this call (Relevance and strategic nature of the project with regard to the call's orientations) (yes/no). In case the proposal is not relevant to the call topics, the proposal will not be evaluated for the next criteria.
The aim of this call is to reinforce the capacities of young scientists around the Mediterranean Area and to prepare the new generation of young research talents to become leaders and pioneers in their research area. The aim of the ARIMNet2 programme is to promote Research, Innovation, Mobility and Training between its members by supporting projects through transnational research networks, consisting of European and Mediterranean Partner Countries’ (MPC) scientists.
This call addresses two main topics Promoting sustainable agriculture for socio-economic development & Valorising local products through food value chains improvement.
Criteria 2: Scientific and/or technological excellence - innovation and international competitiveness of the transnational project (score 0-5).
o scientificexcellenceintermsofprogressofknowledgewithrespecttothestateoftheart,conceptual breakthrough.
o innovative nature in terms of technological innovation or of innovation potential with respect to the current situation.
o integration of the different disciplinary fields.
Criteria 3: Quality and efficiency of the implementation and the management (score 0-5).
o level of scientific excellence or expertise of the teams, appropriateness of the partnership for the scientific and technical objectives.
o scientificandtechnicalfeasibilityoftheproject,choiceofmethods,structuringoftheproject,rigor in presenting the final results (deliverables), identification of milestones.
o appropriateness of the project management means implemented, quality of the coordination plan (project management related to the functional, technical, organisational, temporal and financial aspects), involvement of the coordinator.
resources, appropriateness of the coordination costs, justification of the temporary personnel resources (trainees, PhD students, post-doctoral researchers), evaluation of the sum for investments and equipment purchases, evaluation of the other financial items (travel, subcontracting, consumables, etc.).
Criteria 4: Potential impact: contribution to the advancement of knowledge and innovation approaches and socio-economic aspects, stakeholder involvement (score 0-5).
o strategy for technology transfer and for exploiting the potential of the project results, if relevant; industrial or technological application prospects and economic and commercial potential, business plan, integration in the industrial activity. Credibility of the described technology transfer and the method for exploiting the results.
o potentialforutilisationorintegrationoftheprojectresultsbythescientificorindustrialcommunity or society, and impact of the project in terms of knowledge acquisition.
o benefit for society, public health, consideration of environmental issues. o participation of stakeholders in the consortium.
Criteria 5: Contribution to capacity building, transnational activities (score 0-5).
o complementarity of the partnership for the Mediterranean.
o actions to promote scientific and technical culture and communication.
o actions for the dissemination of scientific results in higher education.
o training and mobility (for partners funded on these items by their corresponding party)
Score description for the evaluation criteria
The proposal fails to address the criterion under examination or cannot be judged due to missing or incomplete information.
The criterion is addressed in an inadequate manner, or there are serious inherent weaknesses
While the proposal broadly addresses the criterion, there are significant weaknesses.
The proposal addresses the criterion well, although improvements would be necessary.
4 very good
The proposal addresses the criterion very well, although certain improvements are still possible.
The proposal successfully addresses all relevant aspects of the criterion in question. Any shortcomings are minor.
8. Proposal selection
The Chair of the SEC will present to the Call Board the recommended ranking list elaborated by the SEC.
Based on this ranking a list of proposals will be selected for funding by the national funding agencies.
After the approval of the final list by respective funding agencies, the Call Secretariat will – on behalf of the funding parties to this agreement – send notification letters and the reviewer’s report to all project consortia coordinators to inform them of the result of the final funding decision. Only after this communication, sent in copy to the funders involved, each Funding agency will enter into the national contracting process with the national researchers of successful Project Consortia.
After the notification sent by the Call Secretariat of not selected proposals, we remind that it is not possible to appeal on the decision of the call Board.
9. Contract negotiation
9.1 Terms of participation
Research participants are required to recognise the coordinating role of ARIMNet2 throughout the duration of funded research projects until approval of the final report. Research consortia will be asked for feedback on call process in order to improve the process for next calls.
9.2 Contractual relationships
Regarding the call and the funding, ARIMNet2 has a coordination role and does not directly provide funding. All of the contracts and funding procedures remain the full responsibility of the national research funding agencies.
Each national funding agency will enter into a contract (or any official documents acting as contract) with the relevant researchers and will ensure in collaboration with other funding agencies that these contracts are synchronised both in time and content as much as possible, so that the Project Consortium can deliver transnational outputs as described in the project proposal. The national funding agencies have to ensure that common ARIMNet2 conditions are met (e.g. common commencement date of a given project, reporting requirements etc.).
9.3 Funding contracts
For the whole duration of the contract the Project Consortium Coordinator is the only responsible person to inform the Call Secretariat of any changes which might affect the implementation of the project (e.g. work plan, consortium modifications) and other changes such as changes in contact details. Research partners shall also inform their national funding agency of those changes affecting the national contract.
If a change occurs to the project consortium which poses a risk to the project, the issue has to be solved by the consortium (in line with the Consortium Agreement). The Call Secretariat must be kept informed of such events.
Any changes in the work plan should be only minor, but will need to be authorised by all of the funding agencies involved before amendments to the contract by the national funding agencies can be issued. The coordinator should send his request to the Call secretariat and relevant funding agencies for their approval.
9.4 Research Consortium Agreement
The consortia selected for funding must enter into a Consortium Agreement, in order to manage the delivery of the project activities, finances, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and to avoid disputes which might be detrimental to the completion of the project.
It will be the responsibility of the Project Consortium Coordinators to draw up a Consortium Agreement suitable to their own group.. The purpose of this document is:
To underpin the Project Partners collaboration and provide the Project Partners with mutual assurance on project management structures and procedures, and their rights and obligations towards one another;
The following items (as a minimum) should be addressed by the Consortium Agreement:
purpose of and definitions used in the Consortium Agreement
names of organisations involved
organisation and management of the project
role and responsibilities of the Coordinator and the Research Partners: person in charge, their obligations and key tasks, conditions for their change
deliverables (transnational reports and if relevant requirements for national reports where coordination is required)
resources and funding
confidentiality and publishing
Intellectual Property Rights (how this issue will be handled between Research Partners)
decision making within the consortium
handling of internal disputes
The Consortium Agreement must be signed by all Project Partners of the Project Consortium. It is strongly recommended to include in the Consortium Agreement that in case of breaking of the confidentiality agreement, the funding bodies involved will not assume the damages caused for that.
9.5 Intellectual property rights and use and access to results
The joint call ARIMNet2 funding will take all reasonable steps to ensure that information provided in the application is treated as confidential subject to submission to the members of its committees and merit review and to any obligations under law.
Results and new Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) resulting from projects funded through the 2017 young researcher Call ARIMNet2 will be owned by the project partners according to the regulations in their Consortium Agreement if not conflicting with the respective national regulations.
Researchers are encouraged to actively exploit the results of the research project and make them available for use, whether for commercial gain or not, in order for public benefit to be obtained from the knowledge created.
All ARIMNet2 Partners shall have the right to use documents, information and results submitted by the Project Partners for their own purposes, provided that this is compatible with the protection of intellectual property rights, confidentiality obligations, and the legitimate interests of the owner of any foreground involved.
9.6 Starting of projects
Projects should start in accordance with 2017 young researcher call calendar
A project can start as soon as the Call secretariat has been informed by the Project Consortium Coordinator about the signature of the national contracts.
Coordinators of selected projects for funding should include in their budget the fees to cover their participation to the three (3) follow up meetings with the ARIMNET2 funding agencies.
10. Project monitoring
Interim monitoring procedures will be mandatory for all applicants involved in the funded projects. These
will be independent of other specific national requirements.
Additionally, there will be a final report at the end of the project, which has to be delivered to the Call Secretariat within two months following project conclusion. Three meetings (kick-off meeting, one mid- term meeting and a final one) will be organised to share and capitalise experience to the benefit of the ARIMNet2 community and beyond. Expenses related to the participation in those meetings that would gather the coordinators of the projects should be included in the budget required.
The project deliverables shall only be deemed approved when the Call Secretariat confirms approval to the Project Consortium Coordinator, or (if modifications are required) confirms to the Project Consortium Coordinator approval of the modified version of any deliverable.
Project reports must be produced in English, and may be produced in other languages at the Project Partners’ discretion. The Project Partners are jointly responsible for the delivery of work, and the Call Secretariat will only accept reports delivered by the Coordinator on behalf of the consortium.
Where required, each participant must report progress on its own component of the work to the national funding organisations in line with national contractual obligations. This also applies to financial reports.