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EIG CONCERT-Japan Joint Call on Functional Porous Materials
Deadline: 11 Jun 2018   CALL EXPIRED

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PART 1: Call Text

1. Background and rationale of the EIG CONCERT-Japan Joint Call 1.1. EIG CONCERT-Japan

The European Interest Group (EIG) CONCERT-Japan (http://www.concert-japan.eu/) is an international joint initiative to support and enhance science, technology and innovation (STI) cooperation between European countries and Japan. The EIG CONCERT-Japan is flexible and inclusive in nature, able to accommodate a range of forms of collaboration from unanimous concerted efforts to optional participation among its core members and other interested STI institutions.

The primary function of the EIG CONCERT-Japan is to collaboratively implement multilateral joint funding with the objective of enhancing the cooperation and promoting the transnational mobility between European countries and Japan in various fields of STI.
CONCERT-Japan began as an ERA-NET project funded by the 7th EU Framework Program for Research and Technical Development (FP7) from 2011 to 2014. As an FP7 project, CONCERT- Japan had a high impact on the coherence and coordination of European collaboration and joint funding activities with Japan as a partner country.

At the end of the period, the outcomes showed a high relevance of the schemes and the need for continuation. As a result, the European Interest Group was founded as a flexible platform for communication and coordination among STI institutions in Europe and Japan. The collaboration which began in the FP7 project is now continuing independently of EU support as an activity of the European Interest Group, hence the name “EIG CONCERT-Japan”.

As a collaborative funding activity of the EIG CONCERT-Japan (the fifth of CONCERT-Japan, the third as an EIG activity), the core members representing France, Germany, Spain, Turkey, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Japan have decided to implement a Joint Call on the theme of “Functional Porous Materials”.

Incentives for partnering with EIG CONCERT-Japan

The EIG CONCERT-Japan research community, in addition to nurturing links between Europe and Japan, is a close-knit coordinated network supported by common academic interests as well as social and interdisciplinary concerns. The coordinating funding institutions are an independently governed, flexible body continually monitoring current support needs in research as well as science- society engagement. Successful applicants may be invited as speakers at interdisciplinary scoping events, institutional advisory roles and generally looked to as pillars of the EU-Japan cooperative network.

1.2. EIG CONCERT-Japan Joint Calls

EIG CONCERT-Japan Joint Calls aim to support sustainable and multilateral research cooperation, especially promoting the transnational mobility between European and Japanese researchers, through:

  •   Enhancing inter-regional communication and cooperation

  •   Increasing and developing opportunities for high quality research networking between researchers

  •   Developing new partnerships and strengthening existing ones

  •   Exchanging existing knowledge and creating new knowledge

Previous CONCERT-Japan Joint Calls have been implemented on the themes of “Efficient Energy and Distribution” and “Resilience against Disasters” (2012), “Photonic Manufacturing” (2014), “Food Crops and Biomass Production Technologies” (2016) and “Efficient Energy and Distribution” (2017), with more than a hundred joint applications received and €7,800,000 of funding in total.

 

2. The EIG CONCERT-Japan Joint Call on “Functional Porous Materials”

2.1. The thematic area

This EIG CONCERT-Japan Joint Call will focus on the thematic area of “Functional Porous Materials”.

Background

In recent years, the degree of freedom in designing and controlling the composition and structure of substances and materials has increased dramatically, and with it the promise for vital new functions to help solve major problems in society and industry.

Technology applications now stand to benefit from a conceptual shift from historical concepts of “interfaces” and “surfaces”, to encompass phenomena related to pore structure and dimensions. In this era of functional porous materials, referred to as nanospace materials in some research, innovation is particularly expected from the cross-collaboration over diverse fields from materials to life science.

The ever-growing need for advances in material research has been recently accelerated by the demand for countermeasures for climate change. Many ideas for harnessing developing technology are required from a global pool of academic and industry stakeholders particularly towards sustainable and low-carbon solutions.

Porous material technology holds much potential to contribute to these and other causes through improvements to high energy conversion, superconductors, high ionic conductors, heat-resistance, mechanical strength, lightweight materials, bioactivity and medicine.

The overall advancement of functional porous material technology is hence a global priority area, motivating this Call for Proposals to address material and application research in a combined holistic setting.

Project Aim and Requirements

Projects submitted to this call should develop porous structure controlled material technology addressing the above challenges, achieved through advanced functions and properties applicable in particular to the storage, transportation, conversion and separation of energy and chemical resources, mitigation and removal of environmental contaminants, procurement of potable water, and materials for medical care and health purposes.

These materials are envisioned to be formed from the spacing of atoms and molecules into complex architectures; in other words, innovation stemming from design and control in multiple scales (nano to macro) of their dimension, shape, size, composition, regularity, crystallinity, and functionalised interface must be clear compared to conventionally procured materials.

Projects with a workplan including benchmarking, piloting and trials of the developed technology for implementation in social and industrial applications are encouraged. Methods for the evaluation and analysis of structure and functional properties should also be detailed.

Research should promote the use of safe-by-design approaches in order to avoid potential nanosafety issues of the processes and materials developed.

Collaboration with industry from the start of the project’s conception and innovative application proposals are highly encouraged in order to ensure future scaling-up of the technologies developed at acceptable cost and quality.

Research Scope

Research areas include not only conventional porous materials such as nanoporous materials, mesoporous materials, materials with layered or cage structures, nanotubes, macromolecules, supramolecules, biomolecules, and structural materials, but materials capable of embedding specific functionality into the pore-structure design. Innovative material designs envisioned include metal- organic frameworks, covalent-organic frameworks, porous organic polymers, porous molecular solids and porous liquids.

Opportunities for functionality include photonic sensors, smart thermal materials, unconventional light sources, novel acoustic and phononic structures and devices, templating routes, chemical nano- and micro-reactors, solar cells and secondary battery cells.

Examples of project applications include:

  •   Development of separation membranes that economically and sophisticatedly purify, contaminated water, and air

  •   Development of functional crystalline porous compounds with industrial application to sorbents and catalysts

  •   Development of ultra-lightweight and high-strength construction materials through porosity controls that drastically increase aseismic/seismic isolation function

  •   Development of micro/nanoporous materials for hydrogen storage

To crystallise this diverse knowledge, teams are expected to form from backgrounds such as chemistry, physics, biology, engineering and computational science, while encompassing the experience of industry and stakeholders for the implementation of technology in real-world platforms.

2.2. Participating countries and regions

The following national/regional funding organisations have agreed to participate in this Joint Call, leveraging their national/regional R&D programmes and applying their respective funding regulations:

  •   Japan: Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST)

  •   France: National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS)

  •   Germany: Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

  •   Spain: State Research Agency AIE - Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness

    (MINECO)

  •   Turkey: The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK)

  •   Czech Republic: Czech Academy of Sciences (CAS)

  •   Czech Republic: Ministry of Education, Sports, Youth and Science (MEYS)

EIG CONCERT-Japan Joint Call Text and National/Regional Regulations 5

  •   Bulgaria: Bulgarian National Science Fund (BNSF)

  •   Lithuania: Agency for Science, Innovation & Technology (MITA)

  •   Poland: National Centre for Research and Development (NCBR)

Only researchers based in these countries/regions are eligible for call funding in this EIG CONCERT- Japan Joint Call.

2.3. Eligible beneficiaries and composition of the consortia

In general, this EIG CONCERT-Japan Joint Call is open to applications from public and private legal RTD entities, higher education institutions and non-university research establishments, as well as enterprises and other kinds of organisations (the “beneficiaries”) depending on the individual national/regional regulations and restrictions of the participating funding institutions (see Part 2).

Each project consortium submitting an application should consist of at least 3 eligible beneficiaries (project partners), one from Japan and two from two different European countries participating in the Joint Call. In addition, in consideration of the priority to spread research networks across Japan and the EU, projects with 4 or more partner countries will be given strong consideration. The number of beneficiaries in a project consortium should be appropriate for the aims of the research project and reasonably balanced in terms of multilateral participation. Applications should clearly demonstrate the added value of working together.

Each project consortium should choose two project leaders, one from the Japanese side and one from the European side. One of the two project leaders (the “principal project leader”) will be responsible for submitting the proposal on behalf of the whole consortium. Project leaders may participate in only one project proposal. Each beneficiary will be represented by one (and only one) Principal Investigator (PI) and this PI will be the contact person for the relevant national/regional funding organisation.

Researchers/research teams from countries/regions not participating in this EIG CONCERT- Japan Joint Call may participate as additional partners in a project consortium (after satisfying the minimum consortium criteria) if they can prove that they have secured funding from other sources that allows them to fulfil their obligations within the consortium. A confirmation letter from the external funding institution has to be submitted at the time of proposal submission.

2.4. Eligible costs and duration of funding

Within the framework of this EIG CONCERT-Japan Joint Call, costs eligible for funding may be:

  •   Research materials and small-scale research equipment: Consumables, small equipment and subcontracting (for example for the fabrication of samples at a specialised facility) are eligible if their need is listed in detail and duly justified

  •   Travel costs: Only travel costs and associated living expenses incurred in travel to the countries participating in the same project consortium (including additional partners from countries/regions other than those participating in the Joint Call who secure their own funding) are eligible

  •   Expenses for the organisation of small scientific events: Room rent, catering, printing of conference brochures, travel and accommodation of invited external experts (that do not form part of the project consortium but are considered necessary for the success of the event) are eligible

  •   Personnel costs

The eligibility of all costs for each applicant depends on the relevant national/regional regulations applied by each Joint Call funding institution and should be calculated accordingly (see Part 2).

All project partners are advised to contact their National and Regional Contact Persons (see Part 3) for further information on eligible costs and national and regional specifications.

Funding will be provided for the maximum duration of 3 years. The funding of projects should start in April 2019 and should be concluded by March 2022.

2.5. Call budget and funding principle

This EIG CONCERT-Japan Joint Call follows the principle that the national/regional financial contributions to a virtual common pot will be assigned to project partners of that respective country/region only, in accordance with national and regional regulations. Cross-border funding is not envisaged.

The overall budget of this EIG CONCERT-Japan Joint Call is the sum of the individual budgets allocated by each participating funding institution. If more than one funding institution from a given country participates in the Joint Call, the combined amount from these institutions is considered as the country’s overall Joint Call contribution.

Below is an overview of the individual national/regional funding contributions envisaged to this EIG CONCERT-Japan Joint Call budget by each participating funding institution:

Japan: Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST)
€750.000

France: National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS)
€110.000**

Germany: Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
€750.000

Spain: State Research Agency AEI - Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness (MINECO)
€250.000

Turkey: The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK)
€800.000

Czech Republic: Czech Academy of Sciences (CAS)
€240.000

Czech Republic: Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MEYS)
€600.000

Bulgaria: Bulgarian National Science Fund (BNSF)
€300.000

Lithuania: Agency for Science, Innovation & Technology (MITA)
€100.000

Poland: National Centre for Research and Development (NCBR)
€750.000

Overall call budget
€4.650.000

 

*Indicative only. The funding amount should be confirmed with the national contact point towards the end of the call. Check Part 2: National and Regional Regulations for details on funding in local currencies
**CNRS personnel costs are not included in the framework of the EIG CONCERT-Japan Call budget. CNRS funding covers only the surcoût international of the project.

It is expected that 5 projects will be funded in this EIG CONCERT-Japan Joint Call.
Some funding institutions may choose to set an upper limit on the amount that can be requested per project partner coming from their country/region. Applicants should therefore thoroughly check the national and regional regulations (Part 2) and contact their National and Regional Contact Persons (Part 3) for related inquiries.

 

3. Proposal Submission
3.1. Project Consortium Submission

Project proposals are to be submitted between Monday, 2 April 2018 and Monday, 11 June 2018 electronically using the PT-Outline webtool: https://secure.pt-dlr.de/ptoutline/app/eig_jc2018
(The server will not accept proposals outside of this application period)

The principal project leader should submit the proposal via the webtool on behalf of the whole consortium. Only one online proposal per project is needed. Proposals sent by post, e-mail, or fax will be rejected. Proposals must be written in English.

3.1. National Funding Institution Submission

Some participating funding institutions may require the project partner applicant from their country/region to submit a parallel proposal or project registration in line with the national/regional requirements (see Part 2).

The Japanese project leader is required to register their project’s information on the e-Rad website portal according to the national regulations listed in Part 2.

Before the submission of a proposal the national or regional regulations (Part 2) applicable for each consortium partner should be thoroughly checked.

4. Proposal evaluation and funding decision

A four-step evaluation process will be implemented for proposals submitted within this EIG CONCERT-Japan Joint Call.

4.1. Eligibility check

The Joint Call Secretariat and the National and Regional Contact Persons (see Part 3) will check the eligibility of all submitted proposals taking into consideration the general Joint Call criteria and the individual national/regional criteria respectively. If a partner is found to be non-eligible by one of the funding organisations, the entire proposal may be rejected without further review.

The general eligibility criteria are:

  •   Appropriate length and layout of the proposal (maximum number of pages adhered to and use of template for the Project Description)

  •   Inclusion of all necessary information in English

  •   Eligibility of all project partners

  •   Participation of at least three eligible project partners (beneficiaries), from a minimum of two different European countries participating in this Joint Call and Japan

  •   Eligible thematic focus

  •   Eligibility of requested funding

  •   Inclusion of a confirmation letter from the external sponsoring institution in case of additional partners that need to secure their own funding

The national/regional eligibility criteria of the participating funding institutions are given in the National and Regional Funding Regulations (Part 2).

Proposals meeting all eligibility criteria will be forwarded to the online evaluation stage.

4.2. Online evaluation of proposals

The selection of project proposals to be funded is based on an international, independent evaluation by scientific peers. Each proposal is assessed and given a written evaluation by at least two evaluators, nominated by the participating funding institutions.

The following three evaluation criteria are used:

1. Scientific excellence (scoring from 0 to 5 points)

  •   Sound research concept and quality of objectives

  •   Ambition, innovative potential and uniqueness of the research idea

  •   Scientific track–record / potential of the partners (including publications in scientific journals)

  •   Scientific standing of the organisations the applicants belong to

2. Impact of project results (scoring from 0 to 5 points)

  •   Impact of the project on the scientific field/community

  •   Contribution to enhancing innovation capacity and integration of new knowledge

  •   Expected exploitation and dissemination of the results

  •   Added value of the multilateral project consortium

3. Implementation (scoring from 0 to 5 points)

  •   Quality and effectiveness of the methodology

  •   Feasibility of the work plan (in relation to governance, adequate budget, resources, time schedule)

  •   Collaborative interaction and complementarity of project partners

  •   Expected sustainability of the collaboration

  •   Interdisciplinarity

  •   Involvement of early-stage researchers and gender balance

The scoring system is as follows:

5: EXCELLENT – The proposal fully satisfies all relevant aspects of the criterion in question. Any shortcomings are minor.

4: VERY GOOD – The proposal addresses the criterion very well, although certain improvements are possible.

3: GOOD – The proposal broadly addresses the criterion, but improvements are necessary.

2: FAIR – There are serious inherent weaknesses in relation to the criterion in question.

1: POOR – The criterion is addressed in an inadequate and unsatisfactory manner.

0: FAILS / INCOMPLETE INFORMATION – The proposal fails to address the criterion in question or cannot be judged due to missing or incomplete information.

 

4.3. Meeting of the Scientific Committee

A Scientific Committee, comprising one expert nominated by each participating funding institution and chaired by an independent chairperson, will rank the proposals based on the online evaluations and internal discussion and recommend to the Funding Organisations Forum a list of proposals to be funded.

4.4. Meeting of the Funding Organisations Forum

The Funding Organisations Forum, comprising representatives of each participating funding institution, will take the final decision on the project proposals to be funded on a consensus basis, based on the recommendations of the Scientific Committee and in consideration of available budget. Funding will be administered in accordance with the rules and regulations of the participating national and regional funding institutions.

All applicants will be informed by the Joint Call Secretariat of the outcomes of the evaluation.

 

5. Project implementation and reporting

Following announcement of the funding decision to successful applicants, the project partners of each proposal to be funded will conclude an individual funding contract with their respective national/regional funding institution. Support to funded projects will be provided on the basis of these funding contracts and in accordance with all applicable national/regional rules and regulations.

Each project consortium funded in this EIG CONCERT-Japan Joint Call is required to conclude a Consortium Agreement listing the rights and responsibilities of each project partner. Depending on the nature of the funded project, special regulations should be included in the Consortium Agreement regarding Intellectual Property Rights. Scientific and technological outcomes and any other information derived from the collaborative activities funded in this call can be announced, published or commercially exploited with the agreement of all partners in a funded project and according to the national/regional regulations as well as international agreements concerning intellectual property rights. The Consortium Agreement must be signed by all project partners and sent to the Joint Call Secretariat by the principal project leader preferably before the official project start date but no later than six months after the official project start date.

The principal project leaders of the funded projects will be requested to send an interim report (after 18 months of funding) as well as a final report (after three years of funding) to the Joint Call Secretariat. The reports should highlight the main results and outputs of the projects and any problems that have arisen and how they have been solved. Report templates will be prepared to ensure the comparability of information.

Additional reporting to the individual national/regional funding institutions may also be necessary depending on national/regional regulations (see Part 2).

 

Project teams will be expected to attend and reserve budget for two joint workshops to be held within Europe, one mid-term and one final, as shown in 6. Indicative Timetable.

In case of any significant changes in the work program or the consortium composition, the principal project leader must inform the Joint Call Secretariat, who will inform the relevant funding organisations, who will decide upon the proper action to be taken.

 

6. Indicative timetable*

Publication of the Call for Proposals
2 April 2018

Deadline for proposal submission
11 June 2018 (10 weeks)

Eligibility Check
12 June – 26 June 2018 (2 weeks)

Online Evaluation
27 June – 10 August 2018 (6 weeks)

Scientific Committee meeting
September 2018

Funding organisations Forum meeting
September 2018

Publication of results online & Notification letters to Applicants (Principal Project Leader only)
October/November 2018

Preparation of national/regional funding agreements
October – February 2019

Start of Projects
April 2019

Joint mid-term workshop
May/June 2020

Interim project reporting
October 2020

Final joint workshop
Jan/Feb 2022

Final project reporting
April 2022

[* This is an approximate implementation schedule and is subject to change]



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