ERA-NET Cofund Biotechnology (CoBioTech)

30 November 2016

On December 1st, 2016, the ERA-NET Cofund Biotechnology will launch an international joint call for multilateral research projects within the scope of Biotechnology for a sustainable bioeconomy. NWO participates in this call with a budget of M€ 1,0 for Dutch sub projects. The deadline for the submission of the pre-proposals is 2 March, 1:00 pm (CET).

NWO supports the ERA-NET-Cofund on Biotechnology (ERA CoBioTech) and encourages its Biotechnology research community to apply for funding for collaborative research in Europe. NWO’s participation in ERA CoBioTech is part of the European dimension of the national programme Building Blocks of Life.

Timeline
Results of the assessment of pre-proposals will be communicated no later than the mid of April 2017. Coordinators of successful pre-proposals are invited to submit a full proposal by the 20th July 2017, 1:00 pm (CEST). Final results of the call will be communicated by the end of October/early November 2017. Joint projects are expected to start end December 2017/early January 2018.

Consortia
Consortia consist of at least three partners from three different CoBioTech member countries who contribute funds to the call (each partner is recommended to enquire if any forms must be submitted at national or regional level in advance; see also the national annex of the call description, accessible via CoBioTech website from the 1st of December 2016). The participation of one or more industrial partner(s) in the consortium is strongly recommended. Specifically for The Netherlands: Universities of applied sciences (HBO-instellingen) and TO2 institutes (TNO, ECN, NLR, Deltares, MARIN and DLO) may also act as (co) applicant. Dutch sub projects should include the participation of a Dutch university or NWO institute. The maximum total amount applied for by a Dutch sub project is k€ 250.  

Special notice to applicants: in this co-funded call ERA CoBioTech expects proposals for collaborative research, development and innovation from transnational consortia composed of universities, higher education institutions, public research institutes, industries, large companies and small and medium-sized enterprises (SME). The participation of one or more industrial partner(s) in the consortium is strongly recommended. National and regional eligibility rules, including the potential eligibility of the private sector, e.g. SMEs, must be followed and will be published in the national annexes of the call text at CoBioTech website.

Aim and scope of the call

The aim of the co-funded call is to contribute to transforming the global economy from a dependence on fossil raw material to a sustainable bio-based economy. The submitted pre-proposals must be multidisciplinary and they will include at least one of the following scientific approaches:

  • Synthetic biology for the design and construction of new biological parts, devices, and systems or re-    design of existing, natural biological systems for useful purposes by use of e.g. (but not limited to) orthogonal bio-systems, regulatory circuits, minimal genomes and protocells.
  • Systems biology for the optimisation of biological processes, including investigation of the regulatory mechanisms in intra- and intercellular processes for bio-production, modelling, development of new computational methods and/or other new methodologies.
  • Use of bioinformatic tools (e.g. data standardisation, modelling, open repositories) for the Identification and utilisation of metabolic pathways. Datasets can have different origins, e.g. Appropriate datasets on genomics, phenomics, proteomics, metabolomics, transcriptomics, etc.. Also included are mapping and exploitation of cellular processes and metabolic capacities for bio-production and for strain/variety improvement.
  • Biotechnological approaches (possibly in combination with chemical ones) to transform bio-based building blocks into high added value molecules in a sustainable way.

In addition, applications must address one of the application areas described below:

  • Sustainable production and conversion of different types of feedstocks and bioresources(including, but not limited, to waste and residues e.g. from households, agriculture, forestry, industrial)by-products, alternative raw materials) into value-added products including new compounds e.g. for materials, chemicals, food/feed ingredients, flavours and fragrances, pharmaceuticals, biofuels, textiles or pulp/paper products.
  • New products, value-added products and supply services (e.g. bio-based materials, platform)chemicals, pharmaceuticals, biomedical products, functional food/feed ingredients etc.) originating from novel metabolic pathways or pathway improvements. This also includes bio-catalytic elements like enzymes, microorganisms and cell-free biosynthesis systems from natural or synthetic origins.
  • Sustainable industrial processes:Upstream and downstream design, scale-up of biotechnological processes also including systems approaches to bioprocesses and process development; fermentation processes; usage of microbial consortia; intensification and/or integration in existing industrial processes; and development of innovative, environmentally sound industrial processes.

The projects should fall within Technology Readiness Levels1 (TRL) 3-6, although projects are not necessarily required to cover the whole range. Industry engagement should be appropriate for the TRL range being investigated.

NL projects: type and amount of funding (for a complete description, see the national regulations of The Netherlands in the annex of the call document, accessible via CoBioTech website from the 1st of December 2016)

Funding can be awarded to cover all reasonable, non-infrastructural costs for the duration of the project. The grant can be used for:

  • (temporary) personnel costs
  • consumables
  • equipment related to the research proposal
  • travel expenses
  • costs for Gold Open Access publishing (see also below for additional funding for covering Open Access publishing)

For all eligible applicants the VSNU standard tariffs (July 2016) for personnel costs apply

Open Access publishing
To cover the costs of Article Processing Charges (APCs, the editing and publication costs for Open Access articles and books) principal applicants of research funded by NWO can turn to the NWO Incentive Fund Open Access. Up to 6000 euros per research project can be applied for. The direct placing of publications in the repository (Green Open Access) is usually free of charge. As NWO wants to encourage Gold Open Access, the Incentive Fund can only be used for APCs of articles in Gold Open Access journals or books that at the moment of publication are available in Open Access form.

Duration of the project
ERA CoBioTech projects have a maximum duration of 3 years, due to EU Cofund-regulations, therefore researchers at Dutch universities and selected Dutch institutes under the standard NWO rules (as described in “NWO Regeling Subsidies”) can only apply for postdocs (not PhD positions).

Maximum Budget
The total costs of the Dutch part of an awarded grant cannot exceed € 250,000 per ERA CoBioTech proposal.

Personnel costs
Applicants may apply for NWO funding and participate in a CoBioTech consortium as main applicant or as co-applicant who are employed, at least for the duration of the project, at Dutch universities, NWO and KNAW institutes, TO2 institutes and HBO institutes. Applicants can apply for a temporary postdoc position or a similar function (in terms of functions and grading) at an institute. For HBO and TO2 institutes: maximum eligible costs for junior researchers are equivalent to the PhD salary level, maximum eligible costs for senior researchers are equivalent to Postdoc salary level. Indemnification shall be in accordance with the standard costs in the NWO-VSNU agreement on the funding of scientific research.

Tariffs are indexed annually. An indication for 2016: (incl. Personal “bench fee” for postdocs): post-doc 1 yr – k€ 73, post-doc 2 yr – k€ 142, post-doc 3 yr – k€ 212, technician 1 yr – k€ 61. Read more about tariffs and details.

Documentation and information
As from 1 December 2016 call documentation can be downloaded from the CoBioTech website.

For more information on this call, please contact the ERA-IB Call Secretariaat:

Dutch PI’s can also contact NWO, Ms S. (Susan) Licumahua, E: s.licumahua@nwo.nl, T: 070 – 344 06 15.

Participating CoBioTech partners:

  • 1.Projektträger Jülich GmbH (JUELICH), Germany
  • 2.Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe e.V. (FNR), Germany
  • 3.Ministrstvo za izobrazevanje, znanost in sport (MIZS), Slovenia
  • 4.Ministerio de Economia y Competitividad (MINECO), Spain
  • 5.Sächsisches Staatsministerium für Wissenschaft und Kunst (SMWK), Germany
  • 6.Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), United Kingdom
  • 7.Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Productiva (MINCyT), Argentina
  • 8.Service Public de Wallonie (SPW-DG06), Belgium
  • 9.Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR), France
  • 10.Ministry of Health (CSO-MOH), Israel
  • 11.Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO), Netherlands
  • 12.Norges forskningsråd (RCN), Norway
  • 13.Unitatea Executiva pentru Finantarea Invatamantului Superior, a Cercetarii, Dezvoltarii si Inovarii (UEFISCDI), Romania
  • 14.Türkiye Bilimsel ve Teknolojik Araştırma Kurumu (TUBITAK), Turkey
  • 15.Valsts Izglitibas Attistibas Agentura (VIAA), Latvia
  • 16.Narodowe Centrum Badan i Rozwoju (NCBR), Poland
  • 17.Sihtasutus Eesti Teadusagentuur (ETAg), Estonia
  • 18.Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Universita e della Ricerca (MIUR), Italy
  • 19.Centro para el Desarrollo Tecnológico Industrial (CDTI), Spain
  • 20.Фонд содействия развитию малых форм предприятий в научно-технической сфере (Foundation For Assistance to Small Innovative Enterprises) (FASIE), Russia
  • 21.Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI), Switzerland

Source: NWO