ERA-PG funds 29 transnational research projects through first joint callNewsitem, 29 May 2007
The first joint call of the ERA-NET Plant Genomics provided researchers an opportunity for transnational collaborations within overarching plant genomics themes. Either within academic or public-private partnerships, but always with added value through international collaboration. The response and the overall quality of the proposals was high. With a final budget of over 35 M Euro the ERA-PG partners will jointly fund 29 projects out of the 106 that were submitted in March 2006.
The purpose of ERA-PG is to contribute to the development of the European Research Area and to build a strong knowledge-base in Europe to strengthen the competitivess in plant genomics. Aiming towards collaboration, scientific excellence, synergy and cohesion, ERA-PG developed its first joint call for research ‘Structuring Plant Genomic Research in Europe’. The call, launched on 1 February 2006, was addressed to plant genomic researchers in Belgium (Flanders), Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and United Kingdom. The call was divided into two sub calls. Sub Call A; “Broad Call for Publicly Funded Research in Plant Genomics”, and Sub Call B; “Trilateral Partnership and beyond; the Future for European Public-Private Partnerships in Plant Genomics”.
Grants were awarded using a 'Jointly Administrated Pot' model. In this model there is one central secretariat, evaluation and selection are centrally organized following commonly agreed procedures and consortium agreements and IPR conditions are developed transnationaly while the funding follows national rules and each national funding organisation funds only the research consortium members from its own country.
The projects were selected and proposed to the funding institutions by the Programme Board (scientific advisory committee) that made a first shift by assessing pre-proposals. In the second step the board selected experts from the international scientific community to evaluate the full proposals through a peer review process. Applicants were given the opportunity to provide a rebuttal to the (anonymous) peer review reports. The ranking list was produced during a meeting of the scientific advisory committee. After the evaluation, moderating panels consisting of representatives of the national funding agencies have made the final recommendations for funding. The final decisions rested with the national funding institutions.
The projects, 15 out of Sub Call A and 14 out of Sub Call B will start in the coming months. A first grant-holders workshop will be held during PlantGEM, at Tenerife on the 2nd of October 2007. The ERA-PG partners explore further possibilities for continuing their collaboration and have started preparations to open a second call in 2008.