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CHIST-ERA

European Institution


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Call 2017 Announcement

  - 47 days Deadline: 11 Jan 2018

 Electronics and Microelectronics
 IT
 IT Applications
 Robotics
 Research
 Industrial Engineering



Key Facts & Figures

CHIST-ERA

CHIST-ERA is a consortium of funding organisations with programmes supporting Information and Communication Sciences and Technologies (ICST). The CHIST-ERA consortium is itself supported by the European Union’s Future & Emerging Technologies scheme (FET).

CHIST-ERA promotes multidisciplinary and transnational ICST research with the potential to lead to significant breakthroughs. The funding organisations jointly support research projects selected in the framework of CHIST-ERA, in order to reinforce European capabilities in selected topics.

 

Topic 1

Object recognition and manipulation by robots: Data sharing and experiment reproducibility ORMR

Topic 2

Big data and process modelling for smart industry BDSI

Indicative budget:
14.3 M€

 

Proposals must be submitted by international consortia with research partners in at least 3 of the

following countries:

Austria (only topic ORMR), Belgium (Wallonia-Brussels), Bulgaria, Canada (Québec), Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece (only topic BDSI), Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Spain, Slovakia, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom (only topic ORMR)

Proposals are evaluated jointly based on criteria of
relevance to the topic, scientific excellence, implementation, and impact.

Each consortium partner is funded separately by a funding organisation.

Each partner must fulfil the conditions of the funding organisation they are applying to, as described in the annex. Industrial partners are eligible to be funded by some funding organisations.

Tentative Timeline
Deadline for pre-proposal submission
11 January 2018, 17: 00 CE T 

Notification of accepted pre-proposals
Mid-March 2018

Deadline for full proposal submission
Mid-May 2018

Notification of accepted proposals
October 2018

First possible start date for accepted projects
1 December 2018

 

Research Targeted in the Call

Each year, CHIST-ERA launches a call for research proposals in two new topics of emergent scientific importance. This year’s call concerns the following topics:

1. Object recognition and manipulation by robots: Data sharing and experiment reproducibility (ORMR);

2. Big data and process modelling for smart industry (BDSI).

In previous years, CHIST-ERA calls have targeted quantum computing, consciousness, knowledge extraction, low-power computing, intelligent user interfaces, smart communication networks, adaptive machines, distributed computing, trustworthy cyber-physical systems, human language understanding, security and privacy in the internet of things, terahertz communication, lifelong learning for intelligent systems and visual analytics.

The CHIST-ERA consortium has created a common funding instrument to support international research groups that engage in long-term research in the area of ICT and ICT-based sciences. Through this instrument, funding organisations support and join the European Union’s “Future and Emerging Technologies (FET)” agenda. By coordinating their efforts, they can support more diverse research communities, who are able to tackle the most challenging and novel research topics.

Community-defined topics

A workshop was held in Cracow on 21-23 June 2017 to identify important research challenges within the two selected topics. The workshop brought together ICST researchers from across a range of research communities and countries. The delegates identified a number of research challenges, which have formed the scope of this call. Presentations given at the workshop are available on the CHIST- ERA website (http://conference2017.chistera.eu/). Attendance at the workshop is not a prerequisite for submitting an application to this call. The evaluation criterion “Relevance to the Topic” is assessed only based on the topic descriptions below. The workshop presentations can nevertheless provide background information for preparing a proposal.

Nature of research

Submitted proposals should be of a FET-like nature and contribute to the development of an international and multidisciplinary research. The transformative research done in CHIST-ERA should explore new topics with potential for significant scientific and technical impacts in the long term.

The two topics of this year’s call are described below.

 

1st Topic: Object recognition and manipulation by robots: Data sharing and experiment reproducibility (ORMR)

The ability to recognise and manipulate objects is central to robotics. For example, it might be useful for a robot to recognise a certain object requested by a user, and to determine if and how the object can be safely grasped in order to fetch it. However, despite decades of research, such abilities remain limited in practice. Some of the limiting factors are a paucity of usable, large data sets for training robust models for the tasks under study, a lack of objective evaluation protocols to test these models in a comparable way, and more generally the challenge of reproducing results.

The purpose of this call is to progress the field of robotic perception and manipulation, building solid scientific foundations of experimental reproducibility through transparent sharing of data and methods. This call challenges researchers to propose collaborative projects, which will simultaneously address the three pillars of recognition, manipulation and reproducibility within this domain.

Target Outcomes

Projects should aim to enable the development of robots, which are able to accurately recognise and appropriately manipulate objects in various environments. Projects should lead to quantitative results which can be reproduced by others. Project teams should in particular make publicly available all the data, protocol description and software metrics needed to reproduce experiments. Appropriate efforts and means for doing so should be foreseen. Projects should address real-world challenges, and record and annotate robotic perceptions in order to experiment with different approaches for these challenges. Enough data from various environments and contexts should be used to show the robustness of the experimented approaches.

Key challenges are expected to be:

  •   Perceiving or predicting physical properties (shape, orientation, mass, fragility, etc.) of objects or environments;

  •   Handling of unknown objects and environments;

  •   Developing systems which are capable of operating in ambiguous contexts;

  •   Managing the perception-action loop;

  •   Interaction and cooperation with humans or other robots;

  •   Designing safe, secure, robust and ethically-sound systems;

  •   Independent and objective evaluation;

  •   Criteria and measures for reproducibility.

    Approaches to Maximise Expected Impacts

    Projects are strongly encouraged to address the following objectives in order to enhance impact:

  •   Grant access to the training data, evaluation data and metrics set up by the projects where possible, in order to help build momentum beyond the project consortia;

  •   Support the development of objective benchmarks and evaluation strategies for research in this domain;

  •   Cross traditional boundaries between disciplines in order to strengthen the community involved in tackling these new challenges. A broad range of disciplines needed to cover the breadth of this topic should be considered and could include expertise and skills in computer vision, embodied cognition, performance evaluation and robot ethics, among others.

  •   Training and dissemination with a view to strengthening European research, knowledge and expertise in the topic areas;

  •   Expand understanding and engage with stakeholders on the issues of long-term security, ethical and legal issues associated with the adoption of intelligent and autonomous systems.

 

2nd Topic: Big data and process modelling for smart industry (BDSI)

Industry is becoming increasingly digitized. Production and operational processes generate growing amounts of heterogeneous data, from simple sensor data to complex 3D video streams. This opens the way for new intelligent, flexible, network-centric production and operational approaches where parts, products and machines are interconnected across equipment, companies and value chains. The goal of these approaches is to enable production and operation at higher yield, higher quality, lower costs, lower environmental footprint and increased flexibility. This evolution is often referred to as the fourth industrial revolution, and it is relevant to most industrial sectors.

The aim of this call is to progress basic research on new information technologies for smart industries. Intelligent context-aware automation systems which are fit for purpose need to be developed. Such systems should be generic enough to be reusable in various settings. Success in this area will strengthen European competitiveness both in science and in industry. This topic is a prime opportunity for science and innovation to benefit by working closely together.

Target Outcomes

Projects should combine big data and process modelling for optimal and accurate operation. The developed models should be reusable across various contexts and application domains. Their performance should be measureable in an objective way.

Key challenges and opportunities are expected to be:

  •   Large-scale, complex systems in dynamic environments;

  •   Designing conceptual models for autonomous or semi-autonomous decision support;

  •   Intelligent fusion of multiple data streams;

  •   Integration of heterogeneous, structured and unstructured data;

  •   Combining a priori knowledge and models with empirically derived data;

  •   Undertaking research in collaboration with industrial partners who can provide representative

    data;

  •   Managing to combine the requirements for privacy, security and intellectual property with the

    need to develop models openly;

  •   Taking advantage of collaboration to collect data from multiple international environments

    (physical, cultural and regulatory);

  •   Implement independent evaluation of systems, data and outputs.

    Approaches to Maximise Expected Impacts

    Projects are strongly encouraged to address the following objectives in order to enhance impact:

  •   Where possible, aim to ensure that data used by the project can be made usable beyond the project, in order to help build momentum beyond the project consortia;

  •   Take advantage of international collaboration to make impact on multiple countries and markets;

  •   Training and dissemination with a view to strengthening European research, knowledge and expertise in the topic areas;

  •   Support the development of objective benchmarks and evaluation strategies for research in this domain;

  •   Expand understanding and engage with stakeholders on the issues of long-term security, ethical and legal issues associated with the adoption of intelligent and autonomous systems.

 

Eligibility

CHIST-ERA is a hybrid funding instrument. Proposals are submitted by international consortia with partners (research groups) from multiple countries. The call as well as the proposal evaluation and selection are international. Funding is then provided by participating funding organisations directly to the selected consortium partners.

Each partner is directed by a principal investigator (PI), who interacts with the funding organisation. One partner acts as the coordinator for the consortium and is the single point of contact with the CHIST-ERA Secretariat.

It is necessary that both the consortium is eligible for CHIST-ERA and all partners are eligible to be funded by their respective organisation. All partners have to fulfil the regulations of their respective funding organisation.

If a partner may be eligible to receive funding by multiple participating organisations, the partner must choose a single organisation for funding.

CHIST-ERA projects have a duration of either 24 or 36 months. Eligibility of the Consortium

The following criteria must be met:

1. The consortium is international:
 It must have a minimum of three partners requesting funding to organisations in the call

from at least three distinct countries. 2. The consortium is balanced:

 At most 60% of the total funding may be requested by partners from one country.
The consortium needs to be focused, that is, the proposed research must have a clearly defined goal.

Consortia should therefore normally contain between three and six partners.

Research groups who are not eligible to receive funding from any organisation participating in the concerned topic may be part of a consortium if they are able to secure their own funding. Third-party funding is not considered for the criteria above. The consortium coordinator must be supported by a funding organisation participating in the topic.

Eligibility of Partners

The eligibility criteria for partners are specific to the chosen funding organisation. Be aware that some funding organisations:

  •   require that eligibility of partners is checked with them prior to applying;

  •   request additional national forms to be submitted prior or alongside the CHIST-ERA Call;

  •   only fund non-commercial research.

The table on the next page provides an overview of each organisation’s eligibility rules. Further details, including those of the Funding Organisations’ contact points, can be found in the annex.

In order not to jeopardize the whole consortium, partners should avoid that a priori doubts exist about the eligibility of their institution (university, academic institutions, industry), the eligibility of their PI (permanent staff, position secured for the duration of the project, etc.), and their eligible costs.

 

(TABLE NOT AVAILABLE)

 

2 Stages Application Procedure Ensure the Proposal is Valid

  •   The research is clearly in line with one of the two topics of the call.

  •   The consortium meets eligibility criteria.

  •   Each partner meets eligibility criteria.

It is the responsibility of each partner to ensure their eligibility. Refer to the overview table on the previous page and the detailed regulations of each organisation in the annex for partner-specific conditions.

Please make sure that all partners who must contact their funding organisation prior to submission of their proposal have done so.

Proposal Submission: 2 stages

The call follows a two-stage submission and evaluation procedure. First, a pre-proposal (max. 10 pages, see pre-proposal template) is submitted. If the pre-proposal is selected after evaluation by an international Evaluation Panel set up specifically for each Call topic, the consortium is invited to submit a full proposal (see full proposal template).

The projects presented in the full proposal and in the pre-proposal must be consistent. Any change to the plans described in the pre-proposal should be explained and justified. If the changes involve a change in consortium composition, it is strongly advised to contact the national contact points in the concerned countries as well as the CHIST-ERA Secretariat prior to submission to check for any eligibility issue.

At both stages of the application, the coordinator prepares a joint proposal (pre-proposal or full proposal) for the whole consortium, using the template available on the CHIST-ERA website (http://www.chistera.eu/). The form is submitted via the electronic submission system on the website.

In addition, a Partner Search Tool is provided at http://www.chistera.eu.

We recommend that a preliminary proposal be submitted several days before the deadline to guarantee against unforeseen issues. Proposals that have already been submitted can be modified until the deadline.

Partners whose funding organisation requires submitting forms alongside the joint proposal submission must do so at this point, see the overview table and the national annexes.

The coordinator and all partners must be in a position to diligently answer e-mail queries after the submission. If a partner’s PI is not available, the PI must be represented by a collaborator from the same organisation.

 

Evaluation and Selection of Proposals

Proposals are assessed by an evaluation panel of international experts. There is one panel for each topic of the Call.

The proposals are evaluated and ranked within each topic according to the following criteria:

  1. Relevance to the Topic: Relevance of the project with respect to the topic description. (this criterion applies to the pre-proposal stage only)

  2. S/T Quality: Scientific and/or technological excellence:

    1. Soundness of the concept, and quality of the objectives;

    2. Progress beyond the state-of-the-art;

    3. Quality and effectiveness of the methodology and the associated work plan;

    4. Originality and novelty of ideas.

  3. Implementation: Quality and efficiency of the implementation and management:

    1. Appropriateness of the management structure and procedures;

    2. Quality and relevant experience of individual participants;

    3. Quality and added value of the consortium (complementarity, balance, etc.);

    4. Appropriateness of allocation and justification of requested resources (staff,

      equipment...);

    5. Identification of risks.

  4. Impact: Potential impact through the development, dissemination and use of project results:

    1. Contribution, at the European and/or international level, to the expected impacts;

    2. Societal and scientific importance;

    3. Appropriateness of measures for the dissemination and/or exploitation of project results, and management of intellectual property.

On the basis of the ranking established by the evaluation panel, the top ranked pre-proposals, representing a cumulated requested funding of about three times the total available budget for the call, are selected by a board representing the call’s funding organisations (Call Steering Committee) and invited to submit a full proposal.

Full proposals are assessed by the evaluation panel with the help of external reviewers. On the basis of the ranking and of available funding, the Call Steering Committee will prepare a list of projects recommended for funding.

At each stage, the assessment by the evaluation panel of each proposal is detailed in a consensus report, which is made available to applicants.

 

Management of Projects Setting up the Consortium

If the full proposal is recommended for funding, each partner may need to submit an administrative application to the chosen funding organisation to apply for their CHIST-ERA funding (grant or contract). In rare cases, specific partners in a consortium may be requested to apply for their funding from another funding organisation than the one they had chosen initially. The subsequent negotiation phase between the partner and the funding organisations follows the established procedures and, if successful, results in a grant agreement between the two parties.

All partners of a consortium should request their funding to start at approximately the same date, to ensure that the collaborative research can be conducted as planned.

The administrative and financial management of funding is overseen by the respective funding organisations, according to their rules and guidelines.

At the latest three months after the start of a project, a consortium agreement has to be signed by all partners and sent to the CHIST-ERA Secretariat. Some funding organisations require that the consortium agreement is signed before the grant agreement can be finalised.

Reporting and Publications

Consortia must present the status of their project at each yearly event organised by CHIST-ERA. The related costs are eligible.

Furthermore, the coordinators of funded projects have to submit a scientific report on each 12-month period of the project. The reports must be sent to the CHIST-ERA Secretariat within two months after the end of each period.

Some funding organisations require separate reports for individual project partners. This is specified in their grant agreements.

Any publications resulting from CHIST-ERA projects must acknowledge CHIST-ERA, and an electronic copy must be sent to the CHIST-ERA Secretariat. Granting open access to publication and data is encouraged (related costs are eligible in the framework of the respective funding organisation regulations).

 

 

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