Call for Submission of Proposals

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1 SCIENCE FOUNDATION IRELAND SFI Investigators Programme 2015 Call for Submission of Proposals Key Dates Call announcement: 31 st March 2015 Deadline for proposal submission: 26 th June 2015, Dublin local time Terms of Reference While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of this document, it is provided for information purposes only and as a guide to expected developments. It is not intended, and should not be relied upon, as any form of warranty, representation, undertaking, contractual, or other commitment binding in law upon Science Foundation Ireland, the Government of Ireland, or any of their respective servants or agents. SFI Terms and Conditions of Research Grants shall govern the administration of SFI grants and awards to the exclusion of this and any other oral, written, or recorded statement. All responses to this Call for Submission of Proposals will be treated in confidence and no information contained therein will be communicated to any third party without the written permission of the applicant except insofar as is specifically required for the consideration and evaluation of the proposal or as may be required under law, including the Industrial Development (Science Foundation Ireland) Act, 2003, the Industrial Development (Science Foundation Ireland) (Amendment) Act 2013 and the Freedom of Information Acts 1997 and 2003.

2 1 Introduction Economic and Societal Impact Programme Details Definition of Lead Applicant, Co-Applicant and Collaborator Eligibility Criteria of Applicant and Co-Applicant(s) Application Eligibility Eligibility Criteria for the SFI-DEL Partnership Eligibility Criteria for the SFI-Teagasc Partnership Eligibility Criteria for the Investigator Career Advancement (ICA) Category Funding Deadlines Proposal Review Procedure and Criteria Application Procedure Eligibility Questionnaire Proposal Summary Lead Applicant Details Co-Applicant Details Expired, Current and Pending Support of Applicants and Co-Applicants Collaborator(s) Details Main Body of Proposal Proposed Budget Budget Justification (upload, max. 3 pages) Infrastructure and Services Provided by Research Body (upload; max. 1 page) Letters of Support (uploads; max. 2 pages for each letter) Excluded Reviewers Research Body Approval Applicant Agreement to Terms and Conditions View Proposal Prior to Submission Research Integrity Ethical Issues Non-Compliance Confidentiality Conflict of Interest Award Management Reporting Requirements Progress Reviews

3 11 Intellectual Property Management Further Information Appendix A: IvP 2015 Co-Funding Partnerships Appendix B: Applicant/Co-Applicant CV Template Appendix C: DEL Budget Template Appendix D: Investigators Programme Proposal Checklist

4 1 Introduction The SFI Investigators Programme supports the development of world-class research capability and human capital in areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) that demonstrably support and underpin enterprise competitiveness and societal development in Ireland. To this end, SFI funds outstanding people with innovative ideas and strategic partnerships, recognising that excellence remains a paramount criterion in the research it funds. For the Investigators Programme, scientific excellence is both necessary and paramount but is not sufficient; applications must also demonstrate potential impact. SFI s Strategic Plan, Agenda 2020 sets out a vision in which Ireland will, by 2020, be the best country in the world for both scientific research excellence and impact 1. A major objective of the 2015 Investigators Programme (IvP 2015) call is to stimulate and catalyse strong participation by Ireland s researchers in the European Commission s Horizon 2020 research framework programme (H2020). Whilst all proposals to the call must align with SFI s legal remit 2 (see below), they are also required to demonstrate a clear relevance to, and alignment with, topics that are encompassed by the Industrial Leadership and Societal Challenges pillars of H2020. The broad thematic areas relevant to the IvP 2015 call are provided in Section 3. IvP 2015 applicants will be required to include plans that outline how a successful application to this call will provide a platform for a future application to H2020. It will be expected that relevant national and international collaborators, including those from academia and industry, will be identified. The legal remit of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) is to promote, develop and assist the carrying out of oriented basic and applied research in strategic areas of scientific endeavour that concern the future development and competitiveness of industry and enterprise in the State. As outlined in Agenda , the Foundation is committed to continuing its focus on funding excellent science that will deliver strongly on impact, thus realising significant benefits for the Irish economy and Irish society. Oriented basic research is research that is carried out with the expectation that it will produce a broad base of knowledge that is likely to form the background to the solution of recognised, or expected, current or future problems or possibilities. Additionally, applied research is defined as an original investigation undertaken to acquire new knowledge and is directed primarily towards a specific practical aim or objective. The results of applied research are intended primarily to be valid for a single or limited number of products, operations, methods, or systems. Applications must be led by researchers in the STEM sector within areas under SFI s legal remit. However, in recognition of the importance of the incorporation of the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS) across many elements of H2020, SFI and the Irish Research Council (IRC) have 1 Certain awards made under this call may be co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) About SFI - What we do 3 Agenda 2020; Published

5 established a partnership to specifically enable collaboration between these sectors in IvP 2015, where relevant. This activity is complementary to the IRC-led New Horizons Interdisciplinary Call, which aims to facilitate AHSS researcher-led projects in partnership with STEM-based partners. Statements outlining future H2020 activities will be used to inform the Irish network of National Contact Points (NCPs) and National Delegates (NDs) about the plans being formulated across the research landscape, which will enable them to follow up with IvP 2015 applicants and awardees in order to provide advice and assistance for future H2020 applications. It is strongly advised that applicants discuss their H2020 plans with relevant NCPs and NDs in advance of preparing an IvP 2015 application. The NCPs and NDs have valuable insight into research topics that are likely to be included in upcoming H2020 Work Programmes. Furthermore, the NCPs and NDs will have access to all proposals submitted under the IvP 2015 call and will be consulted as part of the process to advise on areas of potential strategic benefit to Ireland. They will also confirm that plans for future H2020 applications are feasible and are likely to be relevant to future Work Programmes. All Lead Applicants that are successful through the first part of the two-stage IvP 2015 review process will be granted an opportunity to obtain an H2020 Catalyst Award of up to 25,000, which can support preliminary coordination and/or other activities that seek to create future strategies and build consortia for future applications to relevant H2020 calls. Such activities may include the organisation of targeted workshops and symposia, face-to-face meetings with potential consortium partners, and other relevant planning initiatives. Applicants should note that the Catalyst Award is seen as being complementary with, but preliminary to, H2020 coordination support funding provided by Enterprise Ireland. The outcome of a successful Catalyst Award is expected to be the construction of a competitive team or consortium (ideally led by an IvP 2015 Lead Applicant or Co- Applicant) with a fully developed plan for a future application (or applications) to H2020, which could then be supported further through other coordination support funding, including that provided by Enterprise Ireland. IvP 2015 applicants will be asked to include statements that outline how this catalyst funding would be successfully utilised as part of their proposal. Importantly, funding will be available to applicants regardless of their success in the second stage of the IvP 2015 review process, such that all applicants successful at the first stage of the review process can benefit from the support provided (subject to an acceptable plan being submitted). The Catalyst Awards will be granted as soon as possible after completion of the initial stage of the review process, such that plans can be put in place as rapidly as possible. A key objective of Agenda 2020 is to enter into collaborative arrangements with partners and contribute to the funding of international and all-island collaborative projects. In recognition of the national importance of H2020 and the need to demonstrate a collaborative all-island approach, SFI is pleased to announce that the IvP 2015 call involves the participation of a number of Government Departments and funding agencies. Co-funding Partners include the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland (DEL), Teagasc, the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI), the Marine Institute (MI), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Irish Research Council (IRC). The research topics of interest to each Partner organisation under this call, where relevant, and the specific objectives of the Partnerships are described in Appendix A. In addition, further details concerning applications submitted under a given Partnership are provided below: 5

6 The IvP 2015 call includes a number of co-funding Partnerships. Lead Applicants are not obliged to apply under any of the Partnerships; applications including one or more Co-Applicant from either Queen s University Belfast (QUB) or the University of Ulster (UU) must be submitted under the SFI- DEL Partnership. Partnership and non-partnership applications to this call will be treated the same, with respect to the review process. SFI Partnerships with the GSI, the MI and the EPA: The Partnerships between SFI and the GSI, the MI and the EPA are based on alignments to research topics that are of particular significance to the Partners respective research objectives, and which have also been identified as areas of key importance within future H2020 Work Programmes. Following the close of the IvP 2015 call, SFI will reach agreement with each of these Partners on which proposals may be supported through the given Partnerships. All applications that potentially align to the research topics outlined for GSI, MI and the EPA in Appendix A will be considered for support under the relevant Partnership. There is no requirement for applicants to indicate specifically that funding through any of these Partnerships is sought. SFI-DEL Partnership: Applicants intending to apply under the SFI-DEL Partnership should pay particular attention to the following sections of this call document: Sections 3.1, 3.2.2, 3.4, 3.7, 4, 4.8 and 4.9, in addition to Appendices A and C. These sections and appendices provide specific information concerning the preparation of proposals under this Partnership. SFI-Teagasc Partnership: Applicants intending to apply under the SFI-Teagasc Partnership should pay particular attention to the following sections of this call document: Sections 3.2.2, 3.5, 4.8 and 4.9, in addition to Appendix A. These sections and the appendix provide specific information concerning the preparation of proposals under this Partnership. SFI-IRC Partnership: Applicants intending to apply under the SFI-IRC Partnership should pay particular attention to the following sections of this call document: Sections 4.6 and 4.8, in addition to Appendix A. These sections and appendices provide specific information concerning the preparation of proposals under this Partnership. 6

7 Objectives of the Investigators Programme To support excellent scientific research that has potential economic and societal impact To stimulate and catalyse strong participation by Ireland s researchers in the H2020 research framework programme To build capacity, expertise and relationships in order to increase the number of leadership roles held by Ireland-based PIs in H2020-funded projects To enable researchers to compete in future SFI Research Centres Programmes To facilitate partnerships with other agencies To support relevant collaborations and partnerships between academia and industry To maintain Ireland s top-20 position in international bibliometric rankings through an increase in the number and quality of journal publications To allow Ireland-based researchers to win top-tier international prizes (e.g., the Nobel Prize, the European Science Prize, the Lasker Award, etc.) To support researchers returning to active academic research after a prolonged absence through the Investigator Career Advancement (ICA) component of the call 2 Economic and Societal Impact Each year the Irish Government spends in the region of 800M on scientific research, training and development. As with all public spending, it is necessary to demonstrate and articulate the potential impact and benefits of scientific research. In the current climate of constrained public spending there is an even greater focus on demonstrating the economic, social and cultural benefits of publicly funded scientific research to wider society if this level of funding is to be maintained. For the Investigators Programme, scientific excellence is both necessary and paramount but is not sufficient; applications must also be able to clearly articulate the potential for economic and societal impact. SFI regards clear and convincing impact statements as being fundamental components of competitive proposals. Applicants should be aware that proposals that are not seen to have the potential to deliver impact, or have not successfully articulated how this impact can be delivered, will not be funded through this programme, regardless of scientific excellence. What is meant by Impact? Impact can be described as the demonstrable contribution that excellent research makes to the economy and society. Impact embraces the diverse ways in which research-related knowledge and skills benefit individuals, organisations and nations by: Powering an innovative and enterprising economy Creating high-value jobs Attracting, developing and nurturing businesses, scientists and talented people Increasing the effectiveness of public services and policy Enhancing quality of life, health and creative output Developing the country s international reputation Educating and training the population Solving major national and global problems and challenges, such as food security and world hunger, climate change, energy security, ageing population, rural sustainability, and other sustainability challenges 7

8 How will impact be assessed and measured? SFI recognises that some research projects may have immediate impact whereas other projects may take much longer to achieve impact. For example, an output such as a filed patent is unlikely to create an impact until the patent is licensed to develop a product, which can then generate revenue and jobs. The adoption of a project output such as a new standard or protocol could improve the performance of an existing business, which could also impact revenue and jobs. The discovery of a new treatment or medical device will have obvious health as well as potential economic benefits. Researchers applying to IvP 2015 have an obligation to articulate how and when they believe their proposed research programme will deliver impact on Ireland s economy and society in the Impact Statement section of the application (see below). Reviewers with expertise in research translation and commercialisation will be asked to assess the potential impact and the likelihood of the delivery of that impact, as described in the Impact Statement. In addition, expertise from the AHSS disciplines will be sought and utilised as required. The relevant impact review criterion is: Quality, credibility and relevance of the impact statement, including the likelihood, scale and value of societal and economic effects on Ireland as a result of the proposed research. For more information and guidance on how to successfully articulate impact, detailed information is available on the SFI website. Applicants are advised to refer to this information in advance of preparing the Impact Statement in an IvP 2015 application. Impact Statement An Impact Statement (maximum of three pages) is a requirement in applications to the Investigators Programme. The Impact Statement should articulate the planned and potential impact of the proposed research. SFI recognises that impact can take time and in many cases is unforeseen; as such, it is not possible to predict all impacts at the time of submission. However, considering that impact is a key review criterion that will be assessed by experts with expertise in research translation and commercialisation, applicants are advised to make full use of the space provided to make a strong, unambiguous, and realistic impact case with appropriate emphasis. The statement should be as specific as possible and provide information that reviewers will find helpful in assessing the potential impact of the proposed research activity. Appropriate plans, milestones and deliverables associated with the potential impact should also be indicated. Plans to utilise appropriate alternative funding sources to assist with achieving impact should be included, where relevant. Applicants are encouraged, where relevant, to discuss their proposals and Impact Statements with Technology Transfer Offices and/or other institutional personnel with responsibility for the commercialisation of research, prior to submission. The Impact Statement should be written primarily in lay, non-technical language. It should be as specific and comprehensive as possible and it should cover potential economic and societal impacts by answering the following overarching questions: Who will benefit from this research? What plans will you put in place to increase the chances of economic and societal impacts from the proposed research? Over what timeframe might the benefits from your research be realised? 8

9 In order to best describe the possible impacts in an IvP 2015 Impact Statement, the following points should also be considered: What is the potential impact of the proposed research on the development of Ireland s industry, economy, competitiveness and development? Are there potential international beneficiaries or collaborations with international industry or partner organisations? IvP 2015 encourages industry collaborations where appropriate to the topic of the research. How will the industry collaborators contribute to increased impact? What supports/contributions are they offering? Have routes to commercialisation been considered? How will the incorporation of collaborators with expertise in Arts, Humanities or Social Sciences (AHSS), where they have been identified and included in the proposal, serve to enhance the impact of the proposed research? With whom might you partner to increase the likelihood of potential impacts? It may be valuable to include one or more industry collaborators in your application. Letters of support must be provided if industry collaborators are included. The letters should provide full details of the intended intellectual input and, where relevant, the level of financial (cash, inkind or both) contribution to the research programme. Industry letters of support that do not originate from officially listed industry collaborators will be removed from the proposal. How will the proposed research impact on the education, training and career of Ireland s students and research team members? Will there be infrastructural benefits for further research and education (e.g., facilities and instrumentation)? Applicants should note that all Investigators Programme grants will offer training opportunities of some degree, therefore it is important to highlight the added value that will be provided from the training provided under your award; for example, highlight where past researchers / students have found employment in industry. Highlight industrial interest in past / current research (e.g., consultancy, projects funded, collaborative publications, licenses granted, companies formed, VC funding, problems solved, etc.). How will the potential impacts of your research be best realised? What benchmarks or metrics can be applied to clearly demonstrate in the future that the various impacts outlined in the Impact Statement are both realistic and achievable? How will the proposed research impact on society and the quality of life for Ireland s citizens? Are there potential beneficiaries within the private sector, public sector, third-level sector or any others (e.g., professional or practitioner groups, charities or patient groups)? 9

10 Applicants submitting proposals under the DEL, Teagasc and/or IRC partnerships, or who are aligning their proposed research to topics identified by GSI, MI or the EPA should consider the information provided in Appendix A before preparing the Impact Statement section in order to outline how the proposal will successfully meet the specific objectives or interests of the relevant funding partner(s). 3 Programme Details Investigators Programme awards represent funding of significant scale, catering for researchers with innovative and ambitious research programmes with clear potential for societal and/or economic impact. IvP 2015 consists of a one-stage submission process with a two-stage review process. Award duration is permitted to be either four or five years. The minimum direct costs requested in an Investigators Programme proposal will be 400,000; the maximum will be 2,500,000 (including any support for Northern Ireland-based co-applicants under the SFI-DEL Partnership). Participation in the SFI-DEL Partnership is optional for applicants in the Republic of Ireland (ROI). Researchers in Northern Ireland (NI) may only apply as Co-Applicants as part of an application under the SFI-DEL Partnership that is submitted by a Lead Applicant based in the ROI. Eligibility of Research Body The Research Body of the Lead Applicant is the body responsible for the overall financial and administrative co-ordination of research programmes supported by funding from SFI. Host Research Bodies may only be situated in the ROI or NI (for SFI-DEL Partnership applications). In cases where more than one ROI-based applicant shares responsibility for a grant, the grant will be administered by the host Research Body of the Lead Applicant. A list of Eligible Research Bodies is available on the SFI website. Queen s University Belfast and the University of Ulster will be considered as eligible host institutions of Co-Applicants for the purposes of IvP 2015 under the SFI-DEL Partnership. Programme Remit To be eligible for funding through the IvP 2015 call, applicants are required to align their proposal to one of the thematic areas listed below, all of which are components of the Industrial Leadership or Societal Challenges pillars of H2020: Industrial Leadership Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies o Information and Communication Technologies o Nanotechnologies, Advanced Materials, Advanced Manufacturing and Processing, and Biotechnology o Space 10

11 Societal Challenges Health, Demographic Change and Wellbeing Food Security, Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry, Marine, Maritime and Inland Water Research and the Bioeconomy Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy Smart, Green and Integrated Transport Climate Action, Environment, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials Europe in a changing world - Inclusive, innovative and reflective societies Secure societies Protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens Applicants will be asked which H2020 Industrial Leadership and/or Societal Challenge theme their proposal aligns with and will be required to complete a brief statement justifying how the proposed research fits within the selected theme; see Section 4.2 for full details. All proposals to the call must also align with SFI s legal remit (see Section 1). Applicants will be asked to complete a brief statement justifying how the proposed research aligns with this remit; see Section 4.2 for full details. Details of the programme remit for applicants applying under the SFI-Teagasc Partnership are available in Appendix A. Applications under the SFI-Teagasc Partnership are differentiated from those to other ROI-based co-funding partners in that either the Lead Applicant or at least one Co- Applicant must be an employee of Teagasc, as defined in Section 3.5. In addition, the specific areas of interest for co-funding partners GSI, MI and the EPA are also outlined in Appendix A. These national co-funding agencies will work with SFI to identify proposals that are aligned with their respective research topics of interest under this call, and will potentially fund these in partnership with SFI. Applications that seek to include Co-Applicants from Northern Ireland under the SFI-DEL Partnership can, in principle, be funded, in part, through any of the national co-funding partnerships described above. 3.1 Definition of Lead Applicant, Co-Applicant and Collaborator The Lead Applicant will be responsible for the scientific and technical direction of the research programme and the submission of reports to SFI. The Lead Applicant has primary fiduciary responsibility and accountability for carrying out the research within the funding limits awarded and in accordance with the Terms and Conditions of SFI. The Lead Applicant will serve as the primary point of contact for SFI on the grant, during the review process and, if successful, during the course of the grant. The Co-Applicant has a well-defined, critical and continuing role in the proposed investigation. For the purposes of eligibility, reviewing and monitoring, a Co-Applicant applying for funding under the SFI Investigators Programme will receive equal evaluation to the Lead Applicant and will hold equal accountability for the delivery of the proposed research objectives. In this documentation, the terms and conditions for Lead Applicant and Co-Applicant are interchangeable. For the SFI-DEL Partnership, the Lead Applicant must be from an eligible Research Body in the ROI. This is required in order to permit scientific reporting and post-award management via the SESAME system. As stated above, Co-Applicants will receive equal evaluation to the Lead Applicant and will 11

12 hold equal accountability for the delivery of the proposed research objectives. The Scientific Leader of the project may be a Co-Applicant in Northern Ireland. An Academic Collaborator is an individual working in an academic institution who is committed to providing a valuable intellectual and/or technical contribution to the proposed research. The Academic Collaborator may or may not receive funding through the grant (see Section 4.9). Academic Collaborators may not be the primary supervisor/mentor of postgraduate students, postdoctoral researchers or research staff enrolled on the grant, but may be the local supervisor if these team members are based in a different institution to the Lead or Co-Applicant. CVs must be provided for Academic Collaborators. Academic Collaborators intending to act as a local supervisor to team members should be able to demonstrate a competitive track record of achievements and must have previously held a supervisory role in research programmes. For proposals including an AHSS component under the SFI-IRC Partnership, please consult Section 4.6 for specific requirements on AHSS Collaborators. Industry partners are not required, but are permitted and, where appropriate for the topic of the research, are encouraged. An industry partner should be listed within the documentation as an Industry Collaborator. CVs may be provided for Industry Collaborators; failure to provide CVs may disadvantage an application during the review process. Collaborator letters of support: Each collaborator must provide a letter of support with the grant application and this must clearly outline the role of that collaborator in the programme of research proposed. The role of the collaborator must also be referenced in the main body of the research proposal (for example: Will the collaborators be supplying samples, data, etc.? Will the collaborators be providing training in techniques or the use of equipment? Will the collaborators directly participate in specific work projects? Will collaborators be acting in a purely advisory capacity?). Please see Section 4.11 for more details on letters of support. 3.2 Eligibility Criteria of Applicant and Co-Applicant(s) The Lead Applicant completes the eligibility questionnaire on his/her own behalf as well as for all of the Co-Applicant(s), where applicable Employment Status The Lead Applicant and any Co-Applicant(s) must be members of the academic staff of an eligible Research Body (permanent or with a contract that covers the period of the grant), or A contract researcher with a contract that covers the period of the grant, who is recognised by the Research Body as an independent investigator and will have an independent office and research space at the host Research Body for which he/she will be fully responsible for at least the duration of the SFI grant, or An individual who will be recognised by the Research Body upon receipt of the SFI grant as a member of the academic staff or as a contract researcher as defined above. The applicant does not necessarily need to be employed by the Research Body at the time of proposal submission. Retired or Emeritus members of academic staff, meeting all other eligibility criteria, are eligible to apply if their institution makes the necessary commitments; further details are available here. 12

13 Research Body submission confirms that the Lead Applicant (and any Co-Applicant(s)) is either a member of the academic staff, a contract researcher, or awaiting appointment as defined above. A Co-Applicant may be located at a different eligible Research Body in Ireland (or Northern Ireland) than the Lead Applicant. In this case, the grant will be administered through the Research Body of the Lead Applicant only. All Co-Applicants must comply with the same eligibility and evaluation criteria as the Lead Applicant Other SFI Awards Applicants holding active SFI awards at the deadline for the submission of proposals to this call (26 th June 2015), or who are under review in other SFI calls, should refer to the information below regarding eligibility for the IvP 2015 call: Investigators currently funded by SFI as either a Principal Investigator (PI) or co-principal Investigator (co-pi) under certain programmes may only apply to the SFI-DEL or SFI-Teagasc Partnership components of the Investigators Programme These programmes include, but are not limited to: SFI PI/PICA, SFI Investigators Programme Awards, SFI PIYRA, SFI SIRG, SFI CDA and the SFI Research Professorship Programme. However, in order to allow continuity of funding, a holder of any of the above grants may apply under all components of the Investigators Programme at any time within the last 24 months of their existing grant. Such individuals must provide justification and rationale in their CV for how they would manage two major SFI grants under the heading Other Information as Appropriate (see Appendix B). Investigators funded by an existing award from the SFI programmes listed below may apply to all components of the Investigators Programme 2015, once all other eligibility criteria are met: * Research Frontiers Programme * Investigators Programme Projects * SFI ERC Development Programme * US-Ireland R&D Partnership * HRB-SFI Translational Research Award * SFI-HRB-Wellcome Trust Biomedical Research Partnership * Royal Society Science Foundation Ireland University Research Fellowship Investigators who hold awards as PI and/or co-pi under both the Investigators Programme 2013 and the SFI-DEL Partnership component of the Investigators Programme 2014 are not eligible to apply to any component of the IvP 2015 call. Applicants currently under review by SFI as either Lead Applicant or Co-Applicant under certain programmes are not entitled to apply to any component of the SFI Investigators Programme. These programmes include, but are not limited to: SFI PIYRA and the SFI (Targeted) Research Professorship Programme. SFI has stringent requirements for the reporting by awardees on the grants that it makes. Failure to satisfactorily participate in SFI reporting activities may result in an applicant being deemed ineligible for the Investigators Programme. PIs/co-PIs under the SFI Research Centres Programme should note that their progress on the Research Centres grant(s) will be assessed if they submit an application to the SFI Investigators Programme Individuals who are funded as either PI or co-pi under the Research Centres 13

14 Programme must provide justification and rationale in their CV for how they would manage two major SFI grants under the heading Other Information as Appropriate (see Appendix B). Applicants or Co-Applicants with submissions under review in the Investigators Programme 2015 will not be permitted to apply to several other SFI programmes. These programmes include, but are not limited to: SFI PIYRA, SFI SIRG, SFI CDA and SFI (Targeted) Research Professorship Programme PhD Duration The Lead Applicant and any Co-Applicant(s) must have held a PhD or equivalent qualification 4 for at least five years by the proposal deadline (26 th June 2015). Applicants holding an equivalent qualification may be eligible, but should nevertheless seek approval from SFI in advance of submitting a proposal. The official date of a PhD is defined as the year that the degree was conferred (i.e., the year printed on the official PhD certificate). The number of years is determined by calendar year. Therefore, only individuals with an official date of 2010 or earlier are eligible to apply to the IvP 2015 call Senior-Author Publications The Lead Applicant and any Co-Applicant(s) are all required to have demonstrated that they have been a senior author on at least 10 international peer-reviewed articles. Only original research publications, and not review articles or other secondary research literature, are acceptable. Please note that 10 senior-author publications is a minimum eligibility criterion; applicants with higher numbers of publications are likely to be more competitive. For this programme, senior authors are defined as follows: An author that is listed as first or joint first author, reflecting the fact that he/she has provided the greatest intellectual contribution, has held the primary responsibility for collecting and analysing data, and for the writing of the manuscript and associated drafts. The last author will also be considered as a senior author, since this position generally reflects his/her overall responsibility for the study and suggests that a level of mentorship has been provided. It will be noted that different publishers have differing rules on how the senior authorship is indicated (e.g., by using asterisks, underlining, placing the name first or last in the list of authors, etc.); of overriding importance however is that the applicant should be able to convince and reassure reviewers that they are the key author on these publications. Please note that senior authorship does not necessarily mean that they were responsible for the finance associated with the research that was reported. 4 Please see the SFI website for further details on equivalence. 14

15 Certain concessions on the number of publications are possible if the Lead Applicant and/or Co- Applicant meets the criteria for the Investigator Career Advancement Programme (see Section 3.5) Research Independence The Lead Applicant and any Co-Applicant(s) are required to have demonstrated research independence through securing at least one independent research grant as a Principal Investigator (PI) or as a Co-Principal Investigator (co-pi). The grant(s) in question must have been competitively awarded and internationally peer reviewed. Personal awards such as travel awards, career fellowships (which only include the salary of the PI and not research-team costs (i.e., salary for team member(s) and consumables, etc.) do not count as independent research grants. Awards of short duration (i.e., less than 12 months) are also not considered to be independent research grants. Additional information can be found in the FAQs section Supervisory Experience The Lead Applicant and any Co-Applicant(s) are required to demonstrate proven prior experience, capability and authority in the mentorship and supervision of postgraduate students and team members. 3.3 Application Eligibility Individuals may only submit, as Lead Applicant or Co-Applicant, one proposal to an open call of the SFI Investigators Programme. If a Lead Applicant or Co-Applicant submits more than one proposal to an open SFI Investigators Programme call, both applications will be returned without review. Partnership and non-partnership components are all part of the same call; individuals may not submit proposals to more than one component. Applications to the IvP 2015 call that are based primarily on unsuccessful submissions to a completed call of any SFI programme must demonstrate that the review process from the initial application has been taken into account in the preparation of the new submission. SFI will not review resubmissions that fail to pay due consideration to any previous peer-review process. 3.4 Eligibility Criteria for the SFI-DEL Partnership In addition to the applicant eligibility criteria in Section 3.2 above, there are additional conditions for the SFI-DEL Partnership. There is a minimum of two applicants and a maximum of three applicants per proposal (one Lead Applicant and either one or two Co-Applicants). The host institution of the Lead Applicant must be in the Republic of Ireland. The host institution of at least one of the Co- Applicants must be either Queen s University Belfast or the University of Ulster. Applications submitted under the SFI-DEL Partnership must also satisfy specific conditions on the requested budgets. Please see Section 4.8 for more details. 3.5 Eligibility Criteria for the SFI-Teagasc Partnership In addition to the applicant eligibility criteria in Section 3.2 above, there are additional conditions for the SFI-Teagasc Partnership. There is a minimum of two applicants and a maximum of three applicants per proposal (one Lead Applicant and either one or two Co-Applicants). At least one of the Lead or Co-Applicants must be a Teagasc employee. In addition, at least one of the Lead or Co- Applicants must not be a Teagasc employee. The term Teagasc employee does not include researchers employed by other institutions, even if their research is funded by Teagasc. Applications 15

16 submitted under the SFI-Teagasc Partnership must also satisfy specific conditions on the requested budgets. Please see Section 4.8 for more details. 3.6 Eligibility Criteria for the Investigator Career Advancement (ICA) Category Applicants to the SFI Investigators Programme (including NI-based Co-Applicants under the SFI-DEL Partnership) may choose to be evaluated under the SFI Investigator Career Advancement (ICA) criteria. The aim of the ICA category is to support researchers returning to active academic research after a prolonged absence. ICA applicants must be eligible under all of the standard Investigators Programme criteria (with the exception of the publication number requirement) as outlined below. To be eligible to apply to ICA, the applicant must fall into one of the following categories: Category 1: Any applicant who has taken consecutive documented eligible leave (minimum 12 weeks) since 1 st January 2007 and has since returned to work. This can include, but is not limited to, the examples below: Statutory adoptive leave Statutory parental leave Statutory maternity leave Statutory paternity leave Carer s leave Long-term medical illness leave Conscription Any queries in relation to eligible leave can be forwarded to Part-time employment will be treated the same as full-time employment (two years of half-time work counts as two full-time years). Category 2: Permanent or contract academic staff who have returned to an academic research position since 1 st January 2010, having worked for a minimum of two years in a science- or engineering-related industry. All applicants eligible for ICA under Categories 1 or 2 must include a short statement detailing that they are eligible and elect to be evaluated under the ICA criteria. Furthermore, they should state the Category (1 or 2) under which they are eligible, and the start and end dates of their eligible leave, if applicable. Applicants who meet the ICA requirements must have five or more international peer-reviewed articles as senior author. In all cases, applicants wishing to be considered under the ICA criteria must produce documentary evidence of their eligibility from their host institution s Human Resources (HR) Department or, where applicable, the HR Department of their employer at the time of their eligible leave period(s). ICA Category 1: Scanned copies of the relevant supporting documents from the HR Department of the applicant s host institution (or the relevant HR Department at the time of the applicant s eligible leave) demonstrating the applicant s eligible leave for the period. 16

17 ICA Category 2: Scanned copies of relevant supporting documents to verify time in industry and/or return to academic position since 1 st January PIs who have previously been funded under the SFI PICA/ICA categories are not eligible to apply for ICA status again. Successful ICA applicants will not be differentiated from the standard cohort of SFI Investigators once a grant has been made. Teaching Buyout Component of ICA In order to allow enhanced focus on research activities following eligible leave, successful ICA applicants under Category 1 will be entitled to request funding for teaching buyout of up to 50% of their teaching load for a period of up to 24 months from the start of their grant. Such a request must be made at the time of application, and should be included in the requested budget and detailed in the budget justification. Requests for teaching buyout post-application will not be considered by SFI. If applicants have incurred significant career breaks but are not eligible under the ICA criteria, they are still encouraged to detail these breaks within their CV. Any queries in relation to eligible leave can be forwarded to 3.7 Funding IvP 2015 grants may be of four or five years in duration. Requested budgets may range from 400,000 to 2,500,000 direct costs. General overheads, currently 30% of modified total direct costs, should not be included in the SFI requested budget (see Section 4.8). Larger grants may be subject to additional review mechanisms, for example site review, as determined by SFI. For the SFI-DEL Partnership, the total requested budget (that is, the funding requested from SFI and DEL combined) must not exceed 2,500,000 in direct costs, but should be considered only as a nominal figure that is used for review purposes and for checking eligibility. This should be calculated as follows: Total budget request (SFI-DEL Partnership direct costs) = ROI budget request + (NI budget request excluding the Overheads at 40% of staff costs line item divided by the nominal exchange rate of 0.75 Euros per Pound) 3.8 Deadlines Proposals must be received by SFI no later than 13:00 on 26 th June After this deadline, applications will not be accepted by SESAME. Therefore they will not be reviewed by SFI. 3.9 Proposal Review Procedure and Criteria The submission of an application to SFI shall be construed as consent by the applicant(s) to participate in the peer-review process. SFI reserves the right to return applications without review where they do not meet the eligibility criteria. 17

18 Stage 1 Review The assessment will be carried out by panels of distinguished international scientists and engineers. Certain panel members with expertise in research translation and commercialisation will have the responsibility of assessing the potential impact of the proposed research based primarily on the Impact Statement; the benefits of incorporating an AHSS-related collaborator, where relevant, will be considered as part of the Stage 1 review. Applicants will be notified about the outcome of the Stage 1 review upon completion of this process. The panel will assess the application details, fivepage extended research synopsis, the Lead Applicant (and Co-Applicant) CVs and research funding support, the Impact Statement and the H2020 planning documentation. The panel will not have access to the 15-page research description, Collaborator CVs, letters of support, or detailed budget information. The extended research synopsis should stand alone and not refer reviewers to the 15- page research description for more details. During Stage 1 review: The following review criteria will be applied: Quality, significance, and relevance of the recent research record of the proposed investigator(s), taking into account the career stage of the applicant(s), performance on recent awards, and the applicant s record of securing non-exchequer funding. Quality, significance, and relevance of the proposed research, including value for money and the potential to advance knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields. Quality, credibility and relevance of the impact statement, including the likelihood, scale and value of societal and economic effects on Ireland as a result of the proposed research. Applicants that are successful through the first stage of the IvP 2015 review process will be eligible to obtain an H2020 catalyst award of up to 25,000 (see Section 4.7). The plans for using this funding, and the associated budget justification, will be assessed by SFI in partnership, where appropriate, with H2020 NCPs and NDs. Stage 2 Review Proposals successful at Stage 1 will proceed to the Stage 2 review process, which will consist of two separate components: postal and panel review. Stage 2 Postal Review All Stage 2 proposals will be forwarded to international experts for evaluation. This stage of the review will focus primarily on scientific excellence; impact will be reviewed through the Stage 2 Panel review process (see below). SFI Programme Managers will solicit reviews of proposals from at least three peers with expertise in the substantive area of the proposed research. The applicant may specify up to three referees who should not act as reviewers for his or her application at Stage 2 due to the competitive and confidential nature of the research programme. SFI shall not refer the application to any of these selected researchers. Otherwise, the selection of reviewers shall be at the discretion of SFI. Reviews received from peers will be collated and forwarded to applicants. Applicants will then be afforded the opportunity to submit a response to the reviewers comments. Applicants will be given a defined period of time in which to respond (advanced notice of dates and guidelines relating to the response will be indicated to applicants). 18

19 The Stage 2 Postal Review applies the following review criteria: Quality, significance, and relevance of the recent research record of the proposed investigator(s), taking into account the career stage of the applicant(s), performance on recent awards, and the applicant s record of securing non-exchequer funding. Quality, significance, and relevance of the proposed research, including value for money and the potential to advance knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields. Stage 2 Panel Review All Stage 2 proposals will be assessed at the Stage 2 Panel Review. International panel members will be selected with appropriate experience and will include a broad range of research areas relevant to call themes. Certain panel members with expertise in research translation and commercialisation will have the responsibility of assessing the potential impact of the proposed research. Expertise from the AHSS disciplines will be sought and utilised as required. In addition to briefing material, panel members will receive the Stage 2 proposal, anonymous postal reviews and the applicant s response to the postal reviews. Panel members will assess the inputs of the postal reviews and the overall merit and priority of applications. Panels will be invited to rank proposals and to make recommendations on which applications should be given consideration for funding by SFI. The Stage 2 Panel Review applies the following review criteria: Quality, significance, and relevance of the recent research record of the proposed investigator(s), taking into account the career stage of the applicant(s), performance on recent awards, and the applicant s record of securing non-exchequer funding. Quality, significance, and relevance of the proposed research, including value for money and the potential to advance knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields. Quality, credibility and relevance of the impact statement, including the likelihood, scale and value of societal and economic effects on Ireland as a result of the proposed research. SFI reserves the right to carry out pre-award site visits by international peers where required. Preaward site visits, conducted by SFI staff, to examine infrastructure will also be a possibility, where appropriate. The performance of applicants on previous SFI grants, as determined through site visits and/or annual reports, will be taken into consideration in the decision-making process. The final funding decisions are at the sole and exclusive discretion of SFI. The identity of international experts who conduct either the Postal or Panel reviews shall remain confidential and will not be disclosed to the applicants. However, decisions resulting from the evaluation will be given to the applicant, including all of the postal reviews (after Stage 2 Postal Review) and further panel comments, if appropriate, following the conclusion of the SFI review process. SFI shall not be liable for the release of information concerning proposals to third parties by those international scientists involved in the merit review process. SFI reserves the right to modify the review process. Applicants will be notified of any relevant modification to the review procedure. 19

20 4 Application Procedure SFI-DEL Partnership Pre-approval Procedure Co-Applicants from Northern Ireland (NI) applying under the SFI-DEL Partnership must obtain budget pre-approval from DEL (for the NI costs only) prior to the SFI deadline. In order to complete this process, Co-Applicant(s) in NI will submit a completed DEL budget template (see Appendix C) and DEL budget justification (max. 3 pages; see Section 4.9) to the appropriate University Research Office at least four weeks in advance of the SFI deadline (i.e., by 29 th May 2015). The Research Office will then submit the completed budget tables and justifications for all of its institution s proposals to DEL no later than three weeks in advance of the SFI deadline (i.e., by 5 th June 2015) in order to allow DEL to pre-screen the individual NI budgets for eligibility of costs. DEL will revert to the University Research Offices no later than two weeks in advance of the SFI deadline. If adjustments to any of the NI budgets are necessary, the Research Office will contact the applicant(s) for amendment prior to submission to SFI. SFI-DEL Partnership applications will be subject to eligibility checking by SFI. See Section 4.8 for specific instructions on how to complete budgets for the SFI-DEL Partnership. SESAME For IvP 2015, proposals will only be accepted through SESAME, SFI's grants and awards management system. The information provided in this section is for ROI applicants only. NI Co- Applicants to the SFI-DEL Partnership should refer to the FAQs section for further information on SESAME registration. Access to SESAME is controlled by staff at the Research Office of your host Research Body. Please follow your internal organisational process to request this access. Once you have been registered by your Research Office, you will receive an containing your: 1. Username 2. Password 3. SFI PIN 4. SESAME website address Your username and password are needed to log in to SESAME. The co-applicant s PIN must be provided to the Lead Applicant, in order to be associated with the same application. This PIN is also stored in your contact profile on SESAME. SFI s grants and awards management system, SESAME, is accessed using the internet; no additional software needs to be installed. You can access SESAME online from any location. The configuration of some browsers and internet infrastructure (popup blockers, firewalls, etc.) can restrict an individual s access to the internet and as a result to the SESAME system. If you are having any such difficulties please contact your organisation s internal IT support team. The SESAME system is accessed using the following Internet address: https://grants.sfi.ie Please see the SESAME Researcher User Guide for more detailed information. Please note that submission of an application to the SFI Investigators Programme may affect eligibility to submit to other SFI programmes please refer to appropriate call documents. 20

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