ERA-PG first call evaluation procedure completedNewsitem, 11 November 2006
The first ERA-PG call 'Structuring Plant Genomic Research in Europe' brought together many research teams around Europe, and in a few cases even beyond. The objective of the joint call is to stimulate true collaboration between research teams of different countries in order to achieve the highest quality projects, to increase synergies between national programmes and to strengthen European competitiveness in plant genomics research. Headline topics are broad and inclusive, addressing common issues. The scientific approaches should be genomic and/or post-genomic in nature.
The call is financially supported by twelve members of the ERA-PG network. These twelve funding organisations (of eleven countries), will jointly provide funds in the order of 30 million Euros (for individual organisation commitments please see National Annexes). Each national funding organisation will fund only the project partners from its own country. There is not a predefined maximum size of the research projects. Total costs of a typical project will be about € 1-2 M.
All European researchers working in the themes of the present ERA-PG call and eligible to apply for financial support from the participating research funding organisations were invited to apply for funding, taking into account the terms and conditions of their funding agencies described in the National Annexes attached to the general ERA-PG Call Notice. The due-date for pre-proposals was the 16th of March 2006, for the full proposals the 29th of June 2006.
The response to the call was high: 106 eligible pre-proposals were received with a total amount of requested funding of almost 135 M Euro. More than 500 researchers from 21 countries are involved in the transnational consortia, including researchers from non-ERA-PG countries. Within Sub Call A 70 eligible pre-proposals were received, with a total requested budget of approximately five times the budget allocated for this Sub Call. Within Sub Call B, for which approximately 12 M Euro is allocated, 36 eligible pre-proposals were received. Nearly all invited consortia prepared a full proposal.
Evaluation and Selection
The pre-proposals have been evaluated by the Programme Board (an international panel of independent scientific experts). The Board assessed all applications in terms of their compatibility with the ambition of the call and evaluated as well as compared them according to the call criteria. These evaluation criteria are the following: relevance to the aspirations of the call taking into account specific considerations of the Sub Calls; scientific innovation and excellence; added value of joint working including evidence of true collaboration within the consortium; feasibility of the project; adequateness of planned resources and finance requested.
Within Sub Call A the consortia of the pre-proposals that were rated by the Programme Board as Excellent or Very Good, 44 in total, have been invited to submit a full proposal. Within Sub Call B all pre-proposals eligible and meeting the major evaluation criteria, 33 in total, have been invited to submit a full proposal after careful consideration of the main funding organisations of Sub Call B.
The full proposals were peer-reviewed, reports were provided to the consortium leaders for rebuttal. The Programme Board has assessed the Full Proposals, referee reports and rebuttals and have ranked the proposals. Next, moderating Sub Call panels with representatives of the funding organizations, who are aware of the budgetary constraints and are responsible for the selection of projects, made a short-list of projects for each Sub Call recommended for funding. The national decisions rest with the respective national funding organisations. The applicants will be informed as soon as all national decisions have been taken. Then, the applicants will enter into negotiations with their corresponding national funding organisations, who will take the final funding decisions regarding their share. In 2007 the research projects will start. Information about the call is available on the ERA-PG website.